Birthday Parties: Fun for Some, Hard for others

By: Celia Chapman

I was diagnosed just after my third birthday.  I’ve had Celiac for as long as I can remember.  Taking care of myself in this area is sort of my specialty.  I do struggle with my feelings, sadness, and the feeling of being left out a lot when it comes to birthday parties.

I have good friends, not many, but I do know quite a few girls and boys in my class.  They invite me to some of their birthday parties.  They almost always have cupcakes or cake, and before, they just play, something, I can participate in.  But when it comes to the dessert time, I must bring my own cupcake, so I have something.  But they often ask questions about why I brought those things.  Me and my parents tell them, it’s because I can’t have any gluten, something almost all cupcakes you can find at a bakery, or one of those little cupcake shops, always contain.

My parents tell me that I’m a strong girl, and that I know how to get through it, which I do, but my feeling of being left out stills remains.  Sometimes, it’s nothing, and I just master my feelings, but other times it’s harder, watching all those girls and boys at the birthday parties being able to eat whatever they want, and me, not able to eat everything, and having to bring my own treat to a party.  It’s a lonely feeling, what I feel at those parties. 

I also have a nut allergy, which makes things even harder and scarier.  I find it much scarier and affecting to myself.  I have lots of anxiety, usually when a new school year starts, because it’s a new change.  I want to check the ingrediants on everything, even meals in my own house! It’s quite scary, having an allergy. It affects you daily life.

What I Do to Conquer My Fears and Get Through Birthday Parties:

When it comes to conquering my fear about my allergy and auto-immune disease, I just tell myself that, I’ve checked, and it’s all right.  I tell myself, that I don’t even need to check, because I know that my parents have it under control, that they won’t serve me anything that could hurt me.  That’s how I get through my anxiety about my allergy and auto-immune disease.

As for birthday parties, well, for me, that’s a little more difficult. I am a girl who doesn’t really care what people think of me, and I usually tell myself, that I am unique, that I am a different girl, which I like, for I don’t want everybody to be the same.  I tell myself to ignore their faces, to block out their cheerful voices droning on about the delicious cupcakes, and how they’re going to eat the sugar animals, and if they’re going to eat the head of the sugar skunk on the frosting first.  You just have to ignore them during dessert time, that’s what I try and do, and you can try too.  It really does work.

Birthday parties, fun for some, hard for others.

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