Food allergy OCD

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Please note: Articles on lived experiences can be a trigger for those with tics, OCD and anxiety disorders. Articles are intended to show we aren’t alone, and that help can improve quality of life.

A food allergy disrupts day-to-day life. 

But I don’t have a food allergy.

This doesn’t stop me avoiding certain foods like seafood and peanuts, particularly during travel or in remote areas.

Food allergy-anxiety manifests as the fear of an allergic reaction after consuming certain foods, sometimes due to OCD. This fear can increase in an environment further from potential treatment, such as on a hike or a flight.

My obsession with allergies started on a plane

I was sitting through the pre-flight instructions, you know the ‘in case of emergency‘ stuff. This part always brings out a little anxiety.

I brought a packet of peanuts on board to snack on, not sure why I bought them beforehand, probably because of in-flight prices. 

I debated opening them before takeoff, or mid-flight. And I remember at the time thinking that if I was to have a sudden allergic reaction, at least I was on the ground.

And that was it. From that moment on I had some kind of food allergy OCD. 

I could not stop thinking about my throat closing up on the flight, and if they were able to treat such an emergency.

It’s frightening how OCD can take something like eating peanuts from intrusive thought-to-imminent threat in moments.

I’ve suffered this with health worries for years, despite having no issues. I can watch a documentary on an illness I didn’t know about, and end up convinced I have it.

OCD unlocks the door to a new fear, throws you in and slams the door behind you.

A tiny sensation can trigger a panic attack

Sometimes, OCD gives me a break. 

On occasions I have been able to break free from its grasp and eat the food I want. I love sushi, and order it when I can.

Saying that, I’ll only eat this in a town or city. The closer to a hospital the more comfortable I am.

But, it only takes one thought to start panicking and feeling symptoms.

Why am I becoming sweaty?

Why is my skin becoming itchy?

My face is tingling.

It’s getting harder to breathe…

I examine every bodily process that takes place the moment food enters my mouth.

I try to reassure myself that the symptoms are probably from anxiety, and not from the food. The panic just fools me and it’s the same experience every time.

If you have a food allergy obsession

Remember that you aren’t alone.

Food allergy OCD is just one of many kinds of OCD I suffer with. I cannot fix anyone else with OCD, but it’s good to know there are more of us out there.

But those fears you have, the worries and the sacrifices you make to keep those worries at bay. You aren’t going through this alone.

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DISCLAIMER: Articles contain lived experiences, but cannot be used to diagnose. Medical advice can only come from trained professionals. 

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Dealing with Disorder was created by a sufferer, struggling to find information to help manage the conditions.