Overcoming My Guilt After an Allergic Reaction

Concept of accusation guilty shy person girl. Sad embarrassed upset woman in glasses looking down many fingers pointing at her isolated grey wall background. Human face expression emotion feeling

I think it is common to feel guilt during or after an allergic reaction. I have had allergic reactions that have interrupted special occasions, family BBQ’s, and holidays. My worst anaphylactic reaction to date actually occurred on Christmas morning! I felt a little bad about ‘ruining’ a special moment, but of course if it was up to me, I definitely would have opted out of an allergic reaction altogether.

Additionally, I’ve felt guilty just about having a reaction. My mind automatically enters the ‘should’ve, could’ve’, would’ve mode. It’s important to reflect on each situation individually to see if there are any areas where you could change your management strategy to be more successful. Living life often involves making mistakes, which is important because it is how we learn. Even if a mistake is made (e.g. assuming ingredients were safe) hopefully you won’t repeat that behavior in the future. Of course, keep in mind that allergic reactions can also just happen on a fluke—even if you are very vigilant. Remember that allergic reactions do happen, and that always being prepared is what is most important. I like to think of this quote when I begin to feel guilty about having had a reaction:

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.”
-Reinhold Niebuhr

Nicole K.

3 thoughts on “Overcoming My Guilt After an Allergic Reaction”

  1. Guilt is an emotion I feel often. Like you, I feel guilty when I have a reaction, like if I’d taken certain steps or just listened to my instincts and not taken a chance, I wouldn’t have reacted. I also feel guilty about things my mom makes. She made me a delicious batch of heart-shaped cookies for Valentine’s Day. I remember feeling fine after the first one I had, so I had no trouble accepting the batch she sent home with me. Over the next few days, I began noticing symptoms, and I realized they were from the cookies. I felt terrible when I gave away the rest to a friend of mine. To this day I still have not told my mom. I figured when appropriate I could let her know what she needed to do to prevent what I believed was the cause of that exposure. Also, while on vacation, she wanted to make a dish that I could eat. We picked out safe ingredients for the recipe at the store. However, I was busy dealing with a situation while she was preparing the dish, and I wasn’t able to check on what she was doing. She was doing things like not washing her hands before removing food from an opened package. I will get symptoms from residue on store packages if it somehow makes it onto my food and I ingest it. I ended up not eating the meal and just throwing something together for myself. I felt bad for my mom because I know how hard she tries. I hate having to be so out-of-this-world sensitive that it makes it really hard for her to fix things that are safe for me to eat.

  2. But it is life or death and people need to understand this. They should feel bad they weren’t careful enough. Never worth the risk.

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