Is it normal to worry so much about your nut allergy?

Posted on: Tue, 10/21/2014 - 3:29pm
B.M.18's picture
Joined: 10/10/2013 - 17:37

I am 19 years old and have had a life threatening allergy to peanuts/tree nuts for as long as I can remember. When I was younger I had a very clear of what I couldn't eat and why, so I haven't had many reactions and none of them have been extremely severe. however I am now a freshman in college and I went to a school that is far from my home, around a 9 drive, because it had a really good program for my major and I loved the school, but now that I find myself here by at college I have been having some really bad panic attacks over my allergy. I will walk into a class and instantly start panicking, my heart races, it feels like the throat is tightening and I have to do everything I can not to run out of the class. its hard to focus on what is being taught because I have to tell myself to calm down. my roommate is really good with my allergies but II also feel like she doesn't fully understand how serious it is, and she doesn't understand why I have this fear. is it normal to have worries like this? I have even had nightmares of having a reaction, and I know that I shouldn't put myself in situations that I'm not comfortable with, but here at college I feel like this is my only chance to get where I want to go in life, and I don't want to leave the school but I don't want to panic every time I walk in a class.

Posted on: Wed, 10/22/2014 - 1:03am
versican's picture
Joined: 10/22/2014 - 07:48

I'm so sorry for your anxiety. You've got a lot going on -- school, away from home, serious allergy. It's wonderful that you recognize this and are reaching out for help. You really need to speak with a physician, though, to get the right help. Your anxiety has been affecting your life significantly, so this is a sign that it's not something -- as you say -- "normal." Chemical imbalances in your brain, something that is not necessarily under your control, may contribute to anxiety. There are ways to deal with this chemical imbalance, even some medicines that have very little side effects. (I'm thinking Buspar, but there are others, and any side effects usually go away after a couple weeks or so.) So please see a physician or mental health provider. You have lots of potential -- fight that darned anxiety with the right tools.

Posted on: Thu, 10/23/2014 - 10:02am
faw's picture
Joined: 10/23/2014 - 16:57

I grew up with my younger brother being severely allergic (we're 7 years apart). When I was 25 I was told I have a small allergy to peanuts but to stay away from them all. I had an allergic reaction a year later and that put me into very horrible anxiety attacks.
After speaking with my physician we decided it was best for me to go on an anxiety medication to help me. Essentially the goal is for me to recognize the difference from an anxiety attack and an allergic reaction. I have been on lexapro at a low dosage for 4 months now and I am glad I did. I tried to fight going on a medication and realized I couldn't handle the anxiety on my own. I do not notice any other differences in my behavior, nor do the people around me.
It helped me to not have panic attacks about eating out in public. Prior I would just not eat if I went out with people (which is awkward). I'm extremely careful, but now I can eat out without going into an attack.
I recommend you see a Dr to help you with this because if you were able to handle it on your own, you would've already. College is an excellent opportunity and you shouldn't have to give up the normal things in life or settle for less than you deserve because of this. Don't let it control you, you need to control it. :]

Posted on: Fri, 10/24/2014 - 4:19am's picture
Joined: 06/21/2013 - 11:03

Question of the Week: Answered!
Every week, answers one of the questions posted in our community.
Our Answer:
Thank you for writing in. It can be very scary having a peanut allergy. Knowing that you are out of complete control can be difficult.
Just in case you aren’t sure, here is a list of peanut-free foods. You probably know most of them, but it can’t hurt to be safe. Also, here are some ways to find allergy-friendly restaurants for when you go out.
Your anxiety is not uncommon. Here is a community post that addresses fear and anxiety because of a peanut allergy. However, there are things you can do to alleviate it. Here is an article on how to deal with people who don’t understand your allergy. By educating others around you, you may be able to feel safer.
Another thing you can do is try online support groups. There are tons of people just like you who are nervous about their allergies. By communicating with other people in the community, you may be able to learn some tips on coping with the allergies. Here is the article.
Have you considered talking to a school counselor or therapist? A certain amount of caution is understandable when you have an allergy, although paralyzing anxiety is not healthy. If you feel comfortable, try utilizing your school’s health center so you can get help if you need it.
Remember, you are not your peanut allergy. It doesn’t define who you are. We understand how scary it can be navigating the world when you have a life-threatening food allergy. However, by staying calm and keeping yourself away from allergens, you can be sure that you will be safe. We wish you the best of luck going forth with your allergy!
We asked our Facebook fans to share their thoughts on your question. You can read their helpful feedback here.

Posted on: Sun, 10/26/2014 - 2:00am
JMcA's picture
Joined: 10/26/2014 - 08:45

Going away to school, especially so far away, is such a new chapter in your life. I just wanted to add that there might be actions you can take to put you more at ease/take back your power. For example, tell your professors or T.A.s about your allergy and where they can find your EPI pen if needed. You are on your own now and need to be your own healthcare advocate. Bring wipes and get to class early to wipe down your seat, if that would make you feel better. Start a peanut allergy club meeting on campus or see if there is one on FB or through the student union! Get to know other students like yourself and ideas from them.
Find out where the nearest hospital is or what facilities are available on campus if you do have a reaction. Some of these ideas may seem dumb, but some of them might inspire you to think of ones that would work for you and set you at ease. There is most likely a campus cafeteria policy set in place for food contamination. Find out what that is.
Good luck to you! College can be such an amazing experience. Don't let the peanut allergy keep you from learning or experiencing to the fullest!

More Community Posts

Peanut Free and Nut Free Community

create a new community post
Latest Post by absfabs Tue, 11/19/2019 - 11:06am
Comments: 171
Latest Post by absfabs Tue, 11/19/2019 - 11:01am
Comments: 478
Latest Post by absfabs Tue, 11/19/2019 - 10:51am
Comments: 3
Latest Post by william robenstein Mon, 11/18/2019 - 10:35am
Comments: 1
Latest Post by sunshinestate Sun, 11/17/2019 - 1:16pm
Comments: 3
Latest Post by absfabs Fri, 11/15/2019 - 5:32pm
Comments: 2
Latest Post by Italia38 Tue, 11/12/2019 - 2:43pm
Comments: 2
Latest Post by absfabs Mon, 11/11/2019 - 1:23pm
Comments: 3
Latest Post by Italia38 Fri, 11/08/2019 - 12:10pm
Comments: 4
Latest Post by Italia38 Fri, 11/08/2019 - 11:47am
Comments: 6
Latest Post by sunshinestate Thu, 11/07/2019 - 3:43pm
Comments: 4
Latest Post by sunshinestate Thu, 11/07/2019 - 2:48pm
Comments: 7
Latest Post by penelope Tue, 11/05/2019 - 3:44pm
Comments: 12
Latest Post by penelope Tue, 11/05/2019 - 3:35pm
Comments: 13

More Articles

It’s the time of year when holiday parties, and family gatherings can make allergen avoidance more problematic. Whether you celebrate Christmas,...

When love is in the air we can get caught up in the moment and throw caution to the wind. However, if you have a...

Food allergies and sensitivities are on the rise. Almost everyone knows someone who has problems with at least one food. The most common food...

Peanuts and Nuts Can Trigger An Asthma Attack

According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (AAAI), more than 3...

The relationship between anxiety and food or other allergy is a complicated and puzzling one. Research has shown that stress can exacerbate...

More Articles

More Articles

According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, over 50 million people in the U.S. have allergies. Today's allergy tests...

The Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act of 2004 (FALCPA) addresses the labeling of packaged food products regulated by the FDA....

For people who suffer from anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction that can result from an allergy to...

Anaphylactic shock (A-nuh-fih-LAK-tik shok): A severe and sometimes life-threatening immune system reaction to an antigen that a person has been...

In 1963 the American Medical Association designed a special symbol that would alert emergency medical personnel of special medical conditions when...

Finding allergy-free foods for an office potluck may seem impossible, but more options are available than you might think. Eating foods prepared...

One of the most difficult things for a parent to do is determine whether his or her toddler has a cold or a...

You no doubt have your own way of teaching people about your child’s food allergy, a way that suits your temperament, and style of communication....

Reliable peanut allergy statistics are not that easy to come by. There is a lot of available research on food allergies in general but not too...

Most people know that to enjoy whatever food safety accommodations an airline offers they need to inform the airline of their allergy prior to...

A 504 plan* documents food allergy accommodations agreed to by parents and their child’s school. Plans are typically created during a 504 meeting...

If there is a child at your children's school allergic to peanuts, the school probably discourages or may not allow peanut products to be brought...

If you are on a budget, but you need to wear some sort of notification that you have a peanut...

Unless we consciously carve out time for self-care, constant food allergy management can slowly erode our sense of well-being. Signs of allergy-...

Peanuts cause more severe food allergic reactions than other foods, followed by shellfish, fish, tree nuts and eggs. Although there is only a...