What not to say to someone with coeliac disease
Heard the one about the coeliac?
Yeah, it wasn't funny.
And yet there are people who think it's okay to make jokes about your illness.
Clue: it's not.
But there's other stuff, too, and it involves "weaponised gratitude" - a term that basically means being shamed if you're not grateful.
Examples make it easier to understand.
"You're lucky it's not anything worse."
"At least you know what it is now."
"I'm sure you'll find things a lot easier as time passes."
These statements may all be true. But they make the other person (i.e. you, the coeliac) feel guilty that they have negative feelings, and this isn't okay.
When you have coeliac disease, particularly when you're first diagnosed, there's so much to get your head around. It's only natural to have feelings of loss or upset. And you should indulge these feelings. Ignoring them or pretending everything's okay and that you'll get by means you're just setting yourself up for mental anguish.
Admittedly, there comes a point where you just have to get on with things and accept you'll no longer be eating gluten. But you need to do this at a time that suits you, not everyone else. And it'll be much quicker for you to get to this place if people respond in a kinder and more supportive way to your diagnosis.
So if you're experiencing problems with friends or family, send them this blog post. Make sure they understand where you're coming from. And be there for them, too, because when they're going through something difficult, they'll be grateful for some comforting words.