Anxiety Prior to Dining Out/ Social Situations

Well, today is my day off and I am counting my blessings and remember how lucky I am that I own my own Gluten Free and Allergen Free Cafe, Deli and Bakery. I can eat a safe meal anytime at work and bring a safe meal home with me.  However, I have plans to meet an elementary school teacher and old classmates out for a happy hour/appetizers in Annapolis tonight. The problem is that I have been stressed out and anxious for a week worrying about how I am going to handle this situation.

The place that was chosen is supposed to be very good at doing gluten free, but I know that I got “glutened” there a few years ago.  I don’t have to worry about Milk in this place, so that is not a problem.  I want to go where everyone wants to go. What I am stressing over is this: “how will they react if I choose not to eat anything?”

I play the scenarios out in my mind:

1) Order something; stressing again that I have Celiac Disease and hope the restaurant gets it right this time?

Mmmm. Well, if they get it wrong again I will be sick for about 10 days and will miss a lot of work. I have already missed eight days in the past month or so due to kidney stones and kidney infections.  Dave has covered for me and worked so many extra hours while I have been sick. It would be selfish of me to take a chance and then force Dave and my staff to have to cover for me. Valentine’s Day is coming up and I can’t be out of work this weekend.  As it is, I am on my second round of antibiotics to get rid of this latest kidney infection.

2) Order nothing and have to go into a big explanation of Celiac Disease and have my former classmates and teachers feel sorry for me or just feel uncomfortable eating in front of me.

Mmmm. Well this option is truly the safest option for me. But I don’t want to make everyone uncomfortable or awkward.  I just don’t have to deal with this situation much because I am always at my restaurant. I am truly out of practice! My family gets it and my close friends get it.  How should I handle this with old friends who don’t necessarily know what my situation is? 

-Is my need to make them feel comfortable more important than my health?

-Is my need to feel included more important than my health?

-Is my want of being able to eat  “Thai Food”,  that I did not have to make myself, worth taking another chance and eating at this restaurant knowing I could miss work on one of our busiest weekends?

What struggles do you all face? Please share your experiences. I will let you know how it goes next week!

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2 thoughts on “Anxiety Prior to Dining Out/ Social Situations

  1. I recently went on vacation for a week in California with friends. I warned them before hand that if they want to eat with me I have to take certain precautions. California is tricky because there are a lot of gluten free options, but they are not always celiac gluten free options. I am very clear that I am okay not eating at a place or going somewhere else to grab a bite. It really does not bother me if you eat donuts and I can’t have any. I often will just order a drink so I have something in front of me to make them feel less awkward. But I find that some people are almost offended, and then almost act as if I am being too picky. The last night, they all wanted to go out. I told them to go ahead and go and I will have a night in (I was already start in to feel ill, but I never share that because it makes some people feel bad and we are tying to have fun). One person insisted I come, so I brought out my list of researched restaurants. She kept saying no to everything but would offer no alternative suggestions. After I spent a lot of effort to try to find something she would like that I could go too, the bottom line was that she wanted pizza but did not want to suggest it. She just kept saying she did not want to go anywhere else and gave me the runaround. Once I figured this out we went to a pizza place and I just then left to eat dinner on my own. One hour of drama that did not need to happen. Keep in mind, this stuff does not happen with my close friends who have seen me so sick I couldn’t move with hair falling out and a rash all over. It is more of a problem with the ones that never saw me sick…then I have to explain, which gets tiring particularly when you can tell they don’t believe me or believe I am being too paranoid. But the other option is never going out and socializing.

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  2. Eating out is always tricky, except at your place! No one does it like you!
    My good friends know that I carry an epi-pen and are very thoughtful for me. With casual friends, it is often easier to just get something to drink unless I find something on the menu that I’m pretty certain is ok. My husband and I frequent the same local restaurants and they get to know what I can or can’t eat. Still, never sure about the cross contamination. I hope you fared well.

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