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 & 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!!!
LOCAL TO ME (& Hopefully Many of You!):
Last month we had our first meeting of the NEW SEVERE ALLERGY & ANAPHYLAXIS SUPPORT GROUP in Halton Region at the beautiful Clarity Centre in Oakville. 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. See more information below under Virtual Support.
I just want to take the opportunity again to thank Sweets from the Earth for their generous donation of cookies for our first meeting!
Door Prizes: Michelle Nel Chow, Allergy Mama & author of To be a Nut or Not and Leslie Berlin, Allergy Mom & Author of OK 4 Me 2 Eat were both kind enough to offer copies of their books as door prizes for our meeting! I have not yet drawn the names for the books and will do so at the July 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
- Other Canadian Support Groups can be found on Anaphylaxis Canada's website here
- Counseling & Therapy 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 therapy for dealing with the psychological stress. For more information visit: www.prashamanatherapy.com. 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.
Virtual Support:Here are some links for support on the internet or via skype. Even if you are not local, there is support for you! I know that this list is only touching the surface of what's out there but here are a few of my favourite online support sites. Please add your faves to the comments section of the blog to share! Thank you!
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!
That's enough for now! Please let me know if you can (and I hope you will!) join me for the upcoming meeting in Oakville, Ontario on July 29th! Thank you!