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      Frequently Asked Questions About Celiac Disease   09/30/2015

      This Celiac.com FAQ on celiac disease will guide you to all of the basic information you will need to know about the disease, its diagnosis, testing methods, a gluten-free diet, etc.   Subscribe to FREE Celiac.com email alerts What are the major symptoms of celiac disease? Celiac Disease Symptoms What testing is available for celiac disease? - list blood tests, endo with biopsy, genetic test and enterolab (not diagnostic) Celiac Disease Screening Interpretation of Celiac Disease Blood Test Results Can I be tested even though I am eating gluten free? How long must gluten be taken for the serological tests to be meaningful? The Gluten-Free Diet 101 - A Beginner's Guide to Going Gluten-Free Is celiac inherited? Should my children be tested? Ten Facts About Celiac Disease Genetic Testing Is there a link between celiac and other autoimmune diseases? Celiac Disease Research: Associated Diseases and Disorders Is there a list of gluten foods to avoid? Unsafe Gluten-Free Food List (Unsafe Ingredients) Is there a list of gluten free foods? Safe Gluten-Free Food List (Safe Ingredients) Gluten-Free Alcoholic Beverages Distilled Spirits (Grain Alcohols) and Vinegar: Are they Gluten-Free? Where does gluten hide? Additional Things to Beware of to Maintain a 100% Gluten-Free Diet Free recipes: Gluten-Free Recipes Where can I buy gluten-free stuff? Support this site by shopping at The Celiac.com Store.

Severe Depression
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12 posts in this topic

I have been gluten-free for about 8 months now and I go in and out of severe depression. I really don't know which direction to turn anymore. I know people say that we should be thankful that this was caught early (I am 27) and that it isn't anything fatal but sometimes I can't seem to rationalize things that way. Noone else in my family has this and they really try to accomodate me but it is just so hard. I can't go out to eat with my friends, I can't order in dinner with my family, I can't participate when people at work throw parties, and I can't eat dinner at other people's houses without worrying about how things are cooked. Lately I have been feeling like it isn't worth living like this. That I would rather have not been diagnosed at all. I am more depressed now than I ever was. I do go out to Outback and sushi but that gets old. Before being diagnosed my favorite thing to do was go out to eat. Food made me happy. Now I can't do/eat any of the things I used too. I am really having a tough time dealing with this and I feel like I should be over this phase by now. Is anyone else dealing with this type of depression? I have even isolated myself from my friends at work since I can't go out to lunch with them so I miss out on everything. I go home to eat while they go out and it sucks. Any help/suggestions would be greatly appreciated. :(

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As for lunch at work, I either take my own stuff and tag along, or I settle for a big salad. I don't go out with the gang as much as I used to, but I do go. Do they have favorite places? If so, are they places you could go and talk to the manager ahead of time? If not, can you steer the co-workers to a friendly place?

I agree that big dinner parties at somebody else's house are almost impossible, but we have a couple of very close and trusted friends who are very understanding. I do eat at their houses. Both couples call me ahead to ask about ingredients and brands. The other option is for you to become host and fix a completely gluten-free dinner for friends. Don't try to foist gluten-free replacement food on them, just make dishes that are naturally gluten-free.

If the depression continues, get help from a professional.

richard

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I felt the same way up intil about a year and a half after my diagnosis. Yes, it sucks-in today's society food is more than a means of nourishment-it's socialable and comforting. I have forced myself to realize that "it's only food" and that there are other things in life that bring me pleasure now....It's been tough---but once you physically start feeling better, it's easier to convince yourself of it.

I've heard excercise is one of the best things a celiac can do as well-I mountain bike almost every day and I swear it's the only thing that has kept me sane for the past two years. In the beginning, it was the only thing that could take my mind off of how crappy I was feeling or how much of a freak I felt like I was-and now that I'm feeling better and better every day, it's something that I know I'm good at, still relaxes me, helps me make new friends, and keeps me on my diet (you can't ride when you feel like crap!).

I honestly know how you feel-it took a serious butt-kicking from my boyfriend to get me out of my depression-and you have a supportive family as well (be thankful! Mine think I'm crazy still!). Find things you enjoy doing. There's more to life than food, or Celiac Disease.

Good luck!

Nadia

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I agree that you might consider talking to a psych to help cope with this. Sometimes, there are situations that, for whatever reason, our current coping skills just aren't enough for, and that's when you talk to a professional about more appropriate coping skills. (You might handle a slightly leaky bathroom faucet on your own, but when the water starts spraying from the pipes, you call a plumber! :-) Same thing. And I say this as someone who is seeing a psychologist.)

As for the food issue... Food is a very important part in my life too, but I haven't had the same experience as you. I still go out, on occasion, with coworkers (I'm usually too busy or have lunch meetings, though!), I still eat at friends houses, and I still socialize with people around food. Often, I'll bring my own food, it's easier that way. I take a very self-confident approach to the "this isn't weird, it's just what I need to do, and if someone gives me a funny look, it's not because there's something wrong with me, it's because they don't understand, and that's their loss, not mine" attitude. It's not an in-your-face sort of thing, just a quiet "yep, that's what I do" sort of thing. Alternatively, I host. I enjoy cooking anyway, so I'll have people over and do the cooking. Sometimes friends bring things to help the process, but a bag of vegetables isn't going to be a contamination problem! ;-) Of course, everything I cook is gluten-free, but this really isn't a problem as gluten-free food is still perfectly normal food. (Oh, let me tell you... the chicken cacciatore I made earlier this week was _wonderful_!)

Don't be afraid to bring some lunch to work with you, and fill up on something while at work, then go out with your coworkers and just order a bowl of fruit, or steamed rice, or something VERY simple that you are confident of. (Don't forget about getting things like steamed shrimp and vegetables at a chinese restaurant - no sauce!)

I think part of it is practice. It IS very scary, at first, to get out there and continue socializing around food with this. You're trying to be so careful about everything and the situations are ones you can't control and it feels so overwhelming. But now that you've got the understanding of the diet down, you can - slowly - go out and use that and make educated decisions and get practice at eating in company. :-)

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I think how your feeling is perfectly normal phase to go through.

I was so sick for a while I didn't care about the social impact on my life,I just wanted to get better. But now that I'm venturing out of the house again I'm running into the same issue.

I do feel seperate from others in social contexts where food is present but this is still pretty new to me and this is gonna take some time to get use to.

I'm going to a support group next week for the first time so I think that may help.

I think meeting people that know what your going through could be a very positive thing.

Is there a support group in your area?

And like the other said seek prof help if you continue to feel down.

Good Luck

Steve

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Thank you all so much for your replies. I definitely have my ups and downs, but knowing that I am not alone helps a lot. I live in the Philadelphia area and I do belong to the Celiac group around here but they only meet twice/year and it isn't something where everyone talks freely. I think a support group would help to be able to talk to people but I don't know of one like that around here. I do have a very loving and supporting group of friends and family so that is always good. Just sometimes I still feel very lonely. I will definitely seek professional help if this continues. Thanks again for your responses. Hopefully things can only get better. :)

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Jaime--

I am going through the same thing. Everyone tells me that I can't be reclusive, eating in my apartment all the time, but I can't stand putting my health in other people's hands. You're right, it does suck.

Since you're a little older than I am (I'm 21), I think you're preparing your own food more often than me (I go to my college's cafeteria). My only advice is too keep looking around grocery stores--do you have a Wegman's in your area? I live in eastern PA, so I drive to Erie to get my gluten-free foods. Wegman's has a gluten-free aisle (with 'Gluten Free' in HUGE letters on the sign). I've just been trying to buy different foods so I don't get tired of the same thing, which has also been happening to me, too. I've never been a vegetable fan, so I'm getting tired of salads.

Have faith--there are plenty of people on this message board who are here to help.

I'm glad you've joined a support group--I don't have a car to reach the one nearest to me.

Take care,

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I am going through the same thing. Everyone tells me that I can't be reclusive, eating in my apartment all the time, but I can't stand putting my health in other people's hands. You're right, it does suck.

Jill, the people that are telling you that are probably the ones who are healthy and don't have to deal with celiac disease or anything like it. I feel very -- different and isolated and self-conscious in any situation with peers in which food is involved -- not so much at school where I have a gluten-free lunch of fish or chicken that's made for me and somewhat similar to the regular lunch, but I do feel really different and strange if I have to bring special food that is different and people wonder why..........this is rather longwinded, but I kinda understand the feeling of isolation.

At one point, I saw a psychologist, as well, and I guess it did a little for me, but not as much as I had hoped. I think that the continued symptoms are what cause my emotional sensitivity regarding celiac disease, etc....my apologies if i went off on a tangent....

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celiac3270--

You're right. My boyfriend was the first person to tell me this, and I became very angry with him. He's very understanding, but the only concept he's not grasping is that cross-contamination IS serious--I can't just "let it go". He says it's impossible to prevent it from happening or to persuade EVERY restaurant owner to cook my food separately. I really don't know how to respond to that--if the restaurant can't cook the food correctly, I will choose a gluten-free restaurant.

The Food Services staff has improved their Celiac knowledge--one of them even checked out this site when she had the chance!!! If only everyone could be this open-minded. :D I now have my Food For Life gluten-free rice breads, Tinkyada pasta, Glutano pasta, and BBQ rice chips!!!! They've finally begun to understand--I'm just not that patient of a person, and health issues make it even more difficult.

Back to the original topic...I saw a pyschologist at the end of the school year last year. It was before I was diagnosed, so I was malnourished, vomiting, and had a chemical imbalance that made me depressed. It was a waste of time--not because he was a bad psychologist, I liked him, but I had no clue what to tell him---I kept pulling things out of the sky, so to speak--to this day he has no idea I have celiac disease.

Thanks for responding!!! Good luck w/the Endo!!!!

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Hmm... so will I be a bad guy by saying - as one on the gluten-free (and CF!) diet myself, "you can't be a recluse"? Because I probably believe that as much as everyone of the non-gluten-free people who told you guys that.

Really, though, I think it comes back to that discussion we had on personalities a few months ago. There are some people who just - for whatever reasons - feel very very uncomfortable if they think they are different or standing out from a crowd. I get that way when I'm in a crowd that makes me feel insecure, or am having a bad day on self-confidence. (And I'm not trying to say "you don't have any self-confidence" - there are a lot of varying levels of self-confidence, and we can be very self-confident in lots of areas, and just lack self-confidence in one or two other areas.) There are some people who aren't able or willing to put up with skepticism (of any of a number of varying levels) from people when they tell them what they're eating. There are some people who just don't like to rock the boat. All sorts of things can play into it - and I think personality is a big factor.

I think familiarity plays a role too. Until you get a lot of practice at a lot of social situations that may involve food under your belt, it's just plain nerve-wracking not knowing what to expect. But then you've got to go through all that crap to get that experience. Double edge sword there. One thing that might help is being social in ways that don't emphasize food, even if they include it. For instance, going to a amusement park - you'll probably have lunch at some time, but you can bring your own food and eat it at the picnic tables with your friends (and won't have to wait in line - bonus!). But the majority of the day will be focused on things other than food. Same thing with pool parties, for example, where you can have chips and salsa (much of which is gluten-free and easy to tell a host a particular brand). Or hiking, where you bring your own food and usually eat on the trail anyway!

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Tiffany--

You're not the bad guy. :D I understand what you are saying.

I have a question--can you convince a manager/cook to prepare your meal separately at a restaurant without gluten-free foods? How generous can they be? I know it's hard to answer definitively, but what has worked for you in the past?

Thanks,

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Honestly, since leaving home for college, I really haven't eaten out much. My dad and I used to eat out - I kid you not - seven days a week. (Sometimes breakfast and dinner. It's how I ended up being a 150lb 5'2" 15 year old.) I may have just gotten burned out on it. Since I wasn't gluten-free at the time, that was never a concern.

These days, for restaurants... I find it varies so much, depending on the type of food served, the kitchen setup, the manager's personality, the waitperson's personality, the chef's personality, the time of day, even just how the day is going. I live in California - seemingly the home of wacky diets and a fairly common awareness of food sensitivities (even if they don't know the particulars) - so my experience may be skewed. You've just got to try to optomize your hand of cards - go when they aren't busy or have called ahead. Be patient with the staff to encourage them to be patient with you. Be accepting that they may have no friggin' idea what the heck you're talking about, and that you'll have to educate them. And don't be afraid to go over their heads - in a friendly fashion, of course. (That whole "you catch more flies with honey than vinegar" thing...)

I haven't tried too many restaurants, myself; like I said, I'm burnt out on them and prefer cooking at home - particularly quick meals. (Dinner last night: pan-fried porkchops (the leasing office at our apartment complex said 'no more barbequing', or they'd have been grilled), steamed broccoli, and grapes for dessert - took about 10 minutes to cook.) But I've tried a few places:

PF Changs - obviously nice and easy

Outback - obviously nice and easy, if you remind your waiter about the restrictions!

Buca Di Beppo - not too bad. I emailed them separately, and got a response about what could be made gluten-free for me (I had included contamination issues), and make intelligent decisions on the rest of it. italian antipasta (appetizers) are often very simple - they've got a roasted pepper, tomatoes, and mozerrella dish with garlic, olive oil, and pepper that's good, as well as a cucumber and tomato with red peppers salad that's tasty. restaurants like these, ones with this style of relatively simple cooking, often have simple, from scratch ingredients that you can work with, but talking to them when they're not busy, and you're not in a rush either, helps.

Great Wok - a little chinese place across the street from us. my husband loves it, so we were regulars before I was diagnosed. there's a bit of a language barrier there - at least I percieve one - so I found a chinese language food card, and used that to start a conversation one day when we went over there just as they were opening. it was tough, and there were a couple errors, and all I feel confident eating right now is the steamed shrimp with vegetables (not the chicken, I don't know if they use frozen chicken with broth glaze!), but it's the sort of thing that gets cooked in a steamer, separately from other items, and I feel fairly confident about it, and have had no reactions.

Barring a communication problem, it really comes down to the people you're dealing with. Are they nice, generous people? If so, they can probably find a way to accomodate you. But some people aren't nice and generous. And some people you have to approach with the right attitude to keep them nice and generous. ;-)

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