This entry really doesn’t have a focal point. I need a place to lay out some things for everyone in my life but don’t really have a means to express it in a way that they’d understand. This entry is more of an outlet and tantalization of thoughts on Addictions, Mental Health, and the allergy triggers correlation with mood swings. I don’t really have anyone in my personal life that gets it, just people in the Corn Allergy Support groups. I feel the need to publicize the struggle, because I’m not the only one living this nightmare. My life is literally falling apart as I type this out. My marriage is starting to crumble and my career already took a dive and I’m not making any headway anymore in that industry. My mental health is not as strong as it needs to be in my personal opinion. Therapists tell me I’m strong and doing well, but I don’t believe them.
While my marriage has some possibilities for recovery as that has more to do than just allergy related restrictions and dynamics – it’s a matter of communication really and compromise alongside some patience and understanding. Maybe my husband isn’t going to adapt to living this lifestyle required of this allergy with me, and that’s a huge pain to the heart and soul, but it’s not the end of the world. I’ve had worse in my face, I think. I’m not sure what I’d do without him as he is my entire world, he just doesn’t seem to realize it sometimes and takes what happens with my allergy reactions – personal. That’ll smooth over or the ship will sail. I’m letting the chips fall where they will as I am not trying to hold anyone hostage to this lifestyle. I didn’t even know what he was signing on for with me with this allergy as I didn’t forecast it causing me not to be able to work for 3 months straight and then taking me out of being able to do what I was just doing last year. It’s insane.
What doesn’t have a possibility of recovery is getting back to where I was before this allergy took over my life. It has literally destroyed my social connections, my foodie habits, my drinking habits, (some of this is good), it has destroyed my ability to be able to attend family dinners, company events, be part of teams who coordinate food and team events due to airborne and otherwise triggers that lead to hives, stomach, neurological responses amongst a litany of other issues. It is not as simple as a lactose intolerance, it is not so simple as a nut allergy. I can’t just “Avoid Corn” and be all good.
The typical person doesn’t understand what is used in their food, medications, clothing materials, bedding and mattress materials, cleaning chemicals, perfumes, laundry detergents, cigarettes, alcohol, sanitizers, and so much more. We live in a world where everyone is dependent upon these multi million dollar industries to provide us with food, clothing, cleaning supplies, health care, and so much more. We no longer live in a day and age where it is necessary to raise a family of 20 to hold down a farm and pass down a family business. Matter of fact, most people are spending their time jumping job to job to try and get their income up or they’re struggling check to check. There is no question on what is being done to our food and otherwise supplied materials that we spend our hard earned money on.
I was about 22 when I started developing debilitating symptoms and reactions that didn’t even remotely look like anything of a typical allergy. I already had my baggage from a hard knocks life and traumas I was learning how to overcome before this allergy seized me – and my life dreams. Doctors don’t even have a well substantiated education or understanding of the immune system or allergies because medical science is still seriously developing in this area. Which is why it is so freaking expensive and difficult to get any kind of productive medical guidance on this situation we #cornallergy folks are dealing with.
I want to touch base on a few things in this post, mental health is always something I touch on as it is something I struggle with personally. My worth has been equated to just how much money I make and well – I don’t make much anymore. I’m pretty much worthless in the eyes of those who are money driven. I’ve had to learn to separate myself from the way that makes me feel because it is so very detrimental to my mental health and if I spend too much time looking through that lens, I’d break. You have to choose a different one to look through, consciously, or you are going to be absolutely miserable. It is easier said than done. I’m pretty miserable right now to be honest. I don’t see any hope.
Addiction is something I really want to touch on, and I’ll probably do some digging and researching to add another whole post eventually in regards to it with references but something I do know from my research and learning on this Corn Allergy Life struggle is that what is in our food isn’t what you think it is. On top of the corn derivatives used, ‘they’ put flavonoids and all kinds of addictive additives meant to wire your brain to a flavor or substance in the foods. Something I’ve discovered on my journey as I eliminate more and more corn and corn derivatives from my diet is that these flavonoids are something your body really freaking misses when you drop them out all together. As with any addiction, there are withdrawals.
‘Corn Rage’ is a term you’ll find in the corn allergy support groups and it is in reference to the neurological inflammation that occurs when an allergy trigger affects the neurological system on top of everything else it also affects. At least that’s my understanding. I think it is possible, especially remembering when I first started eliminating and the mood swings I had, that it’s not just an allergy or immune system response. It’s a combination of withdrawal symptoms and allergy responses. There are a litany of things going on in our bodies that we do not know about.
For a time, before 2020s’ COVID shut downs, I actually had my food resources down and my diet pretty much stable. I was pretty much stable, happy, organized, and useful to my husband and friends. I was still able to buy produce at the stores without consequences. I still purchase store bought produce today, but not without reactions, especially with apples, bananas and berries now. I’m financially and morally restricted by my situation not to cost my husband more money in what I need to resource in order to avoid neurological reactions and otherwise. Afterall, I’m only banking in about $120 a week and costing myself half that in benadryl every few weeks that I work retail. I’m struggling to figure out how to work from home, I’ve always been a task oriented employee. My entire identity is having to shift around this lifestyle change.
Mentally, I’m exhausted from all the research I’ve done for the last 4-5 years. Every twist and turn I’ve found yet another isolating restriction that derails me further from participating in society. In the main and big corn allergy support group, I’ve been slammed for trying to provide free awareness graphics, and shut down and threatened to get booted from the group. People wanted stickers, I wanted to collaborate ideas and start looking for ways to spread awareness.
This lady running the group wasn’t going to have it and shut my post down from collaborative commenting, changed her group rules about PMing because I had stated to PM me if interested in getting the stickers or some custom graphics. All in one fatal swoop over me posting a graphic I made, mentioning I worked at a print shop and had free printing that I could do every year and I wanted to offer it up for the benefit of us struggling with this allergy to help spread awareness. That is self promotion in her eyes. I have never once asked for money for graphics I create and provide openly online. I would never either because we aren’t like others – we’re seriously isolated completely from the rest of the world, not just our country or state that we reside in individually. It’s a different story if someone reaches out to me for custom made logos and printing – I can’t just whip that up for free. But awareness graphics? If I have the time, I’m definitely jumping on helping someone out.
My Printing costs now aren’t free because I’m no longer in that industry and no longer run the printers nor do I get that free printing I used to get every year. Part of my dive out of the career was the emotional damages done between that incident online in the group and a litany of incidents that had a lot to do with the lack of empathy in my workplace. People think it’s a fucking joke for someone to have a corn intolerance/allergy. Especially if you’re not needing an Epi-pen and stuck in your house unable to come out. Even then I see people with some pretty screwed rhetoric about the allergy being all in someones head and that people are killing themselves by choosing not to eat food laced with allergy triggers. It baffles me. Like, what is wrong with people? So heartless!
I took a poll in the groups recently to see if anyone else other than me got these kinds of comments, and to see how people handled the situations:
People commonly say things like this to a person with an allergy or intolerance, completely ignorant to the facts that this is psychologically damaging to the person they’re making these comments to.
“C’mon, A little won’t hurt, just eat some!” Offers a corn laden snack – this is all too often the same thing as bullying and peer pressure to do drugs in school. It is a high school level response. A careless one at that. Yes a little can hurt a lot for someone with these allergies and especially something as complex and misunderstood as a corn and corn derivative allergy. Neurological inflammation is something I discovered I’m dealing with more often than not and the mood swings are seriously hard to handle some days making me look absolutely insane -emotional – and unable to function.
“Oh my god, what do you eat? How do you survive? I’d kill myself” – the first 2 questions are okay, but the last comment is all too often out of place and very suggestive to the person with the allergy that their life is too hard to live. Respect the person living a harder life than you, don’t judge them and don’t put them down. Lift them up!
“You should just get yourself an island or bubble” – if it were that easy, don’t you think we would have already?
“Why don’t you just shoot yourself? That’s too much to deal with.” – Again this is just disheartening commentary that people mindlessly let fall out of their mouth. Verbal diarrhea we have to glaze over and try not to let the words stick in our minds as an option out of this god forsaken lifestyle we’re forced to live.
There’s a litany more of commentary that gets said to us who struggle with these allergies. I feel for those with multiple allergies to dodge. I really have a handful that I have to dodge and it’s hard just with the corn alone. Corn is like the ultimate “Fuck you and your life” allergy in my opinion.
For me though, the hardest thing is trying to explain the cause and effect to those I’m closest to and hoping they see it for what it is instead of what they wish it were. I wish it were something simpler. It’s just not.. I don’t know how to explain the headaches and brain fog and the disconnect to reality when it hits. The moodswings that set in because of it are also a reality. Who doesn’t get frustrated when they can’t focus or connect dots?
I can’t seem to win for nothing with this allergy or it’s trigger effects. From stomach issues to headaches, nosebleeds, lymph node swellings and other issues I won’t color in the details here on – I just can’t seem to get a break! None of us can when I start looking around the groups. Where is #cornfree at? #cornallergylabeling – it’s needed!