I have reached out to offer support to families in many different ways over the years. This post was originally published in July of 2013. I continue to share it on the blog in the hopes that it will offer inspiration for other allergy advocates to do the same in their communities. It is so helpful to be part of a caring group of people who share the same lifestyle, struggles and concerns.
You are not Alone!
This is the message that most of us need to hear most. I get frequent emails from allergy moms and dads who find my website and read my story and exclaim,
“I’m so happy to know that I am not alone!”.
Having severe allergies and anaphylaxis in the family can make individuals and their caregivers feel isolated. This is not easy. There is definitely an emotional toll and REAL PSYCHOLOGICAL STRESS that comes along with this diagnosis? I just wanted to take this opportunity to share the support that is available to you -locally and virtually! This is merely a starting point. I would be THRILLED if all of you can comment below this article and share your favourite resources -LOCAL TO YOU and Online! Thank you!
Last month we had our first meeting of the NEW SEVERE ALLERGY & ANAPHYLAXIS SUPPORT GROUP in Halton Region. I hope to see everyone back again at the next meeting and some new faces too! Please join us for an evening of support, discussion and sharing. The focus for this next meeting will be on Group Counseling for Anaphylaxis: To help with the Psychological Stress, which may include:
- Trauma of having experienced a reaction
- Anxiety about the risk of a future reaction
- Feelings of Depression or Isolation
- Stress and Emotional Distress
Highlights from the June Meeting:
Our first meeting was a success! The feedback I received from those in attendance was positive. Here are some comments from those in attendance:
“Thank you so much for bringing our allergy group together. I really enjoyed the meeting and I appreciate your efforts in bringing us together to support one another. I realised as the meeting progressed that this is exactly what I need. I’ve prided myself in holding it all together, gathering information, and putting together a plan of action. But all along, I think the emotional support, from others in the same situation, is the part that has been missing for me. It’s very hard for many people to truly identify with the unique challenges we face in raising our children with life-threatening food allergies. Like you, I left a job that had once been so meaningful but meeting the needs of my son was not possible for me if I continued to work. My son has other health issues; however the food allergies are, by far, the most concerning. Dealing with a potentially life-threatening condition is quite daunting, and having this acknowledged this evening, really helped me. I felt like my feelings were validated. As a family, we really try to live our lives focusing on the positives, and being thankful for all that we have, but the day-to-day task (and stress/fear) can really take a toll. I hope the group will continue. Thank you so much!”
“I would just like to say Thank you for organizing the meeting last night. I think personally it was a good turn out for a first meeting! I would love to see more of those meetings in my future.”
“…thank you again for the support group, we are so glad that we attended! I was wondering if it was possible to get the links to the websites that you posted during the slide show? Also, I was wondering if anyone wanted to share contact info? I would love to get together with some of the ladies and their kids for playdates :)”
**To answer the question there about connecting, I am encouraging everyone to use The Allergy Mom Facebook page for this purpose. It is a great way to ask questions, share information and have virtual conversations with other families going through the same things as you are.
I just want to take the opportunity again to thank Sweets from the Earth for their generous donation of cookies for our first meeting!
Michelle Nel Chow, Allergy Mama and author of “To be a Nut or Not” and Leslie Berlin, Allergy Mom and author of “OK 4 Me 2 Eat” were both kind enough to offer copies of their books as door prizes for our meeting! The names from those in attendance at our June meeting have been collected and we will draw for this prize at the beginning of our July meeting! Good luck!! What a sweet prize!!
Other Local Canadian Support Groups:
- Mississauga Anaphylaxis Support Group: Mississauga, Ontario
Contact Penny Anderson: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Toronto Anaphylaxis Education Grop: Toronto, Ontario
Contact Sarah at email@example.com
- Other Canadian Support Groups can be found on Food Allergy Canada’s website here
***If we have missed yours, please add your support group information to the comments section below the blog post to let us know! U.S. and International support groups too please!
- Counseling & Support Services: I offer counseling and support services in my local area for individuals and families. These services include home visits to help you make your home safer, support for newly diagnosed, counseling on how to advocate and educate for “reasonable risk reduction” and “educating for empathy”. I also offer counsel for dealing with the psychological stress. For more information visit: www.prashamanayoga.com. Not in my local area? I work with clients locally and via skype. If you are suffering from stress, anxiety, trauma, depression or other related psychological distress, please contact me for more information.
I encourage you to use the facebook page for connecting with each other. There were many requests at the support group to create a page for the members but if it works for everyone, I would love to see the existing Facebook page for THE ALLERGY MOM used for this purpose. This is a great way to connect with each other, share stories, VENT!, share news articles, offer services or tell about good ones, etc… If you are cool sharing on that page I think that would be best as it will benefit all of those who like the page to see this information also! Thank you!
This is a great new website recently launched by Anaphylaxis Canada to provide support for those newly diagnosed.
I love this course -it is informative, educational and comprehensive and free! This is a wonderful way to educate grandparents and babysitters on how to keep your allergic child safe while they are watching them.
I would also like to offer the Canadian Anaphylaxis Initiative (CAI) Website as a contact for Debbie Bruce -Debbie is the winner of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee award for her work advocating and educating others on Allergies & Anaphylaxis. The CAI is working hard to implement their action plan for making Canada safer for those with severe allergies and anaphylaxis. Check out their site and find out how you can help them!
If you are in need of support please don’t hesitate to contact me. I’m here for you.
Original Post Date: July 13, 2013. Last Update: May 10, 2017.