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Coping With Being The Odd One Out

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I'm away from home for a few weeks for a training. I'm unable to eat the cafeteria food with everyone else, so I've gotten some Amy's frozen dinners and some veggies and am managing just fine, however...

 

... my illness makes me stand out. It is requiring special accommodations (like not being able to eat the cafeteria food), and I am (and everyone else is) reminded of the fact that I'm different every time we gather to eat.  I don't talk about it all the time or anything, but because I'm eating differently than everyone else, it comes up. Also, I'm still pretty new to all this and trying to sort it all out, so it probably does come up from time to time in the course of conversation (although I work hard not to bring it up a lot, even though it is on my mind almost continually right now).

 

The people I'm with understand the situation, and are generally kind about it. I do, however, wonder whether they think I'm a hypochondriac behind my back. I hate being the odd person out! I wish I didn't wonder whether people were judging me because I'm trying to manage a serious illness that they can't see. 

 

I think that's the crux of it -- people can't see how sick I was. They look at the outside and think everything is fine, when it most definitely is not.

 

Sigh...just needed to talk to some folks who understand. Any words of advice are appreciated.

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Wow, I know that's not fun. Is there any way you can maybe eat while they are in the cafeteria line, then still sit with them and enjoy a coke or something? This way you're not eating alone and being isolated during lunch? Other than that, I really don't know of anything cuz I eat when and where I want when I'm at work. :-/

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I am a person who really does not enjoy the spotlight being on them.  It has taken me quite a while to get comfortable with the extra attention needed when I am in a food situation.  Just make sure you don't give into other's silly demands and eventually they will take you seriously and not make as much as a big deal about it, and with time it will also become more natural.

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While the food issues stick out for you because it is new, keep in mind, everyone has something that makes them different. Bringing a bag lunch to work isn't unusual and while it would be handy not to have to, many people do.

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While the food issues stick out for you because it is new, keep in mind, everyone has something that makes them different. Bringing a bag lunch to work isn't unusual and while it would be handy not to have to, many people do.

True, but in this case, we're all from out of state, and everyone is eating in the cafeteria and living in a dorm together for almost three weeks. It requires a tremendous amount of preparation and thought to do gluten free in this situation -- especially because I only have access to a fridge and microwave, and have to wash any produce in the very small bathroom sink. It does tend to make me stick out! :-)

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Wow, I know that's not fun. Is there any way you can maybe eat while they are in the cafeteria line, then still sit with them and enjoy a coke or something? This way you're not eating alone and being isolated during lunch? Other than that, I really don't know of anything cuz I eat when and where I want when I'm at work. :-/

Thanks! Basically, I'm packing a lunch at the dorm and bringing it with me to the cafeteria to eat with everyone else.

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I am a person who really does not enjoy the spotlight being on them.  It has taken me quite a while to get comfortable with the extra attention needed when I am in a food situation.  Just make sure you don't give into other's silly demands and eventually they will take you seriously and not make as much as a big deal about it, and with time it will also become more natural.

Thanks, Laura! Yes, I'm finding it is becoming more natural for me, even in this situation. I do stick out, though. Today we all went to church together, and I had to have a chat with the pastor to determine whether their gluten-free wafers were really gluten free, or likely to be cc'd. So here we all were as a group walking back to the pastor's study together so I can have this chat! It kind of made me self-conscious, but I'm getting more used to it all the time. (Since the gluten-free and non gluten-free wafers were all kept pretty much together, I decided to forgo the bread. They let me commune with just the wine, thankfully.)

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If you don't want to talk about food, you can change the subject as quickly as possible. 

 

The other person: "Oh is that gluten free bread good?"

 

You: "Yes, this brand of gluten-free bread is excellent. Hasn't the weather been excellent lately?"

Good strategy...thank, BlessedMommy!

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