Owning Your Emotions: 4 Ways to Deal with People Who Don’t Care About Your Medical Conditions

Owning Your Emotions: 4 Ways to Deal with People Who Don’t Care About Your Medical Conditions


Mara Alexander


People can be so mean and spiteful.  Hateful really.  All of us inside have the ability to be really inconsiderate human beings.  But it is what we do with the way we feel that makes all the difference in the world.  Our emotions can be tools of power, both for the detriment and the encouragement of others. When medical conditions enter our lives, then our already strained emotions can be compounded with fear, hate, anxiety, nervousness and a litany of other challenging feelings.  And this can be further hammered with the negative reactions that other people may have towards you and your diagnosis. It can be completely isolating. I’ve experienced a wide gamut of reactions from people about my Celiac disease and issues with multiple food sensitivities, and also seen firsthand how people treat my husband Kevin due to his rare disease called PKU. So how do you get control and own your emotions?  How do you deal with inconsiderate people who don’t understand or care about your medical problems?

Kevin and Mara Alexander must face their medical conditions together.

Kevin and Mara Alexander must face their medical conditions together.

1. Know that there will be people in your life that may not understand the trials surrounding your medical difficulties.  Realize that some people have never (and will never) experience the physical and emotional pain of serious medical problems.  Facing this realization in the beginning is really important.  If I had a TARDIS, a Delorean or some other type of time machine, I’d tell the Mara from 2007 to be prepared for some major hypocrisy coming from people who I thought were close to me.  Believe me, medical conditions have a way of revealing who the true kindred spirits in your life really are.

2. Lower or eliminate your expectations of people’s reaction to your condition.  I guarantee if you put someone on a pedestal, then they will fall very hard from it. This sounds harsh, but some people will absolutely disappoint and hurt you. And unfortunately many times after a diagnosis, there could be both family and friends that won’t be there for you.  Sometimes it is because they are scared of seeing you in pain and they push you away.  Sometimes it is really that they don’t understand what it is like and they expect you to pretend like nothing is wrong.

3.  Educate those closest to you about your diagnosis.  It took many years of me educating certain people in my life in order to get them to understand my Celiac.  The first few years, it didn’t matter how many brochures, books, pamphlets or videos that I showed them, they absolutely thought that I was making it all up.  They thought that my gluten-free lifestyle was just a fad and that I would eventually move on to something else.  But after being tenacious in my diet and sharing my story everywhere I go, I believe that I’m finally being heard and understood.  And being heard and understood is especially important to anyone.

4. Be a hero to someone else.  If you have already experienced the hurt of people making fun or simply not caring about your medical condition, that is the absolute best time to be a hero by telling your story, writing a blog, writing a book, or publicly speaking about it.   The quicker that you can begin doing this, the quicker the emotional healing will come.  This is because when you feel a sense of commonality with someone else (especially due to a shared medical experience), it has a way of mending the soul. You may be that person that feels a deep sense of isolation and desperately needs to feel accepted. And I need to tell you:  there is someone out there that wants very badly for someone to reach out to them…so why not be that person that is willing to do the reaching? And by doing this, you will bring about your own emotional healing.

Mara Alexander is the Founder of GlutenFreeWorld TV©, a Certified Health Coach through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, a Certified Health Consultant and a Professional of the Academy of Healthcare Management.  She can be emailed at mara@glutenfreeworld.tv

7 Responses to “Owning Your Emotions: 4 Ways to Deal with People Who Don’t Care About Your Medical Conditions”

  1. Kim T says:

    This is a great article, but I’d like to turn the tables and ask as a mom of a teen who was diagnosed celiac in 2008 … my girl will not adhere to a GF diet, she eats foods that are pure poison to her body on a daily basis, we eat/cook GF at home, but once she’s out, I have no control and really, I do not believe I can be her “food police” … she’s 15 and suffers from anemia, leg cramps, headaches, etc., but will not acknowledge/admit it stems from celiac. I’m so worried and frankly, frightened and hoping you might have some thoughts, suggestions. Thanks for your time and your blog … love it!

    • Beth says:

      Kim, I am so sorry that you are going through this with your daughter! As a Mom of a 12 yr old Celiac tween, I cannot even imagine what this is like for you. Our daughter felt so much better after going gfree that she swears she’ll never go back…that and watching me almost die from CD has her scared ;)

      I wish I knew what to say to help the situation, but I am at a loss for words. At 15, she thinks she’s invincible, so our words are just noise. Have you had a CD specialist talk to her? Have you tried to get her friends her own age who also have CD? Maybe that would help, if she saw someone else her own age handling the lifestyle like they should. Maybe take her to local support group meetings? I’m sure people would love to help her learn to love the gfree life! Our daughter LOVES to go to meetings and gfree expo shows so she can chat with people who know what her life is like, people she has this in common with.

      I’ll be praying that she decides to start listening to her body, and be praying for you while you have to watch her self destruct <3

      • Kim T says:

        Dear Beth … thank you SO much for this!! You are exactly right, I need to get her around others with CD and I never thought about support groups, but I just Googled and found our Whole Foods mkt has a chef who is committed to expanding their GF offerings. Going to set something up with her and hopefully get my girl to go. Thank you for your prayers, I feel the hope!!

  2. Jaime says:

    I understand completely where you are coming from. This is why my website is called, “I Told You I Was Sick”. Before I got a diagnosis, nobody believed me and I too, have gotten those sympathy looks.

    I even had someone say to me they’d kill themselves if they couldn’t eat gluten. I was floored. You adapt or you die. It’s that simple.

    Great post!


  3. Ian says:

    I live in Australia and find your article very relevant to an experience that I endured at University. Despite my best efforts to adhere to the diet, the kitchen staff were letting me down big time. They fed me gluten-containing meals that were mislabeled as GF and I became so sick that at one stage I was vomiting anything I ate within minutes. More details are available on my site (including the college’s response).

  4. Christine Byrnes says:

    Great article and so true! People will hurt you and be outright totally uncompassionate. I don’t have CD but do suffer with numerous sensitivities to glute, dairy, lactose, also highly allergic to seafood. People have thought it is a riot to tease me, make fun of etc… it can be so isolating. As a mother of a child with a brain disorder known as mental illness, I have really experienced that stigma. I have recently been diagnosed with mild bi-polar myself. I also suffer with Fibromyalgia which no one believes that one. So my heart goes out to all that have to endure the tough lifestyle just trying to remain or get healthy. As Mara as used her CD to help and educate, I admire her so much, and I know her personally as well, I have done the same with regards to mentally illness. It is a healing experience to help others. Keep up the amazing work you do Mara.

  5. […] his PKU, we asked friends and family to help us and support us.  Some people were there for us.  Others were not.  But the reality is, sometimes you just have to ask for […]

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  7. […] All I know is that conversation proved to me that even adults can be BUTTHOLE BULLIES,especially when it comes to medical conditions.  They think it’s ok to make fun of someone else because of a disability. […]

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