I’m not usually the type of person that asks for much help with things, at least from an emotional standpoint. I often times bottle things up too much, which inevitably leads to an explosion at some point. It’s not healthy, and I’ve learned more than ever over the last year that it is necessary to ask for help, or have someone to share your emotions with. Being a food allergy mom leads to an abundance of emotions, on a daily basis. So, a few months after being thrust into the food allergy world, I stumbled upon a food allergy support group that was local to Indianapolis. It was never ever something I considered. But, I was so intrigued. The next meeting happened to be a few days away, and I got the courage to attend, and that meeting changed SO many things for me. So, I want to share a few reasons why a support group (of any kind!) is so important and many times crucial to someone’s overall health.
- You realize you are not the only one – when dealing with something so difficult, and life changing, it is easy to feel completely alone. Your friends and family don’t understand. Your coworkers don’t get it, and essentially your whole social network doesn’t have a clue what you’re dealing with on a daily basis. Whether it’s cancer, or alcoholism, or in our case food allergies, it is easy to feel completely and utterly alone. The first support group meeting I attended gave me a HUGE reality check that I am NOT alone. There were several other moms (much more experienced food allergy moms) there, sharing their stories. As they spoke, I cried. They got it. They understood. And I left feeling so much lighter and rejuvenated in our food allergy journey!
- You might just learn something new– It is so easy to be overwhelmed with information in this day and age. Social media, news stories, etc. someone always has an opinion, often times coming from people with no true experience. A support group surrounds you with like minded people, who get it, have experienced it, etc. Many of the other moms in my particular group have been handling allergies for 5 years or more, and have much more experience on how to handle situations. Not only that, but our amazing pediatric allergist attends all the meetings and is a wealth of knowledge. He allows people to ask questions, he will share new research coming out, or share stories. It’s SO helpful and enlightening. It’s a safe place to ask questions and grow your know knowledge.
- It’s a great way to get involved – before Noah’s food allergies, I never really had anything I was super passionate about. I never had a message or platform I cared about. Now, food allergies are my passion. Now I have something I care about so so deeply about and love sharing with others, because it’s so important to our family and others like ours. Getting involved with our local support group Food Allergy Support Indy (FASI), has allowed me to help out with different events in our city, reach out to other moms, and just engage with the food allergy community more.
- It’s fun! – Getting involved with FASI has allowed me to make new friends, who I completely adore. I now have moms in my life who understand me fully. They understand the emotions I deal with daily, never judge me and truly support me on my journey of food allergies. It’s refreshing and I’m so thankful for the new friendships FASI has brought into my life!
I would strongly recommend anyone, newbies or experienced allergy families, to consider finding and joining a local support group! You’ll be so pleasantly surprised to find how it can help and support you both socially and emotionally! Visit FARE’s website to help get started in searching for a local support group!