Tuesday, April 24, 2012

"The F Word: Forgiveness" from One Human Journey

I know I haven't written much lately, I have been so busy, all with good stuff, but little time to post. I stumbled across a post called "The F Word: Forgiveness" from One Human Journey and I just had to pass this on...it's too lovely not to.

To understand why this topic is so important to me, a little of my background info (this isn't the most comfortable thing to talk about, kinda difficult, but this is why this post touched me so): My brother, now 42, has autism. He's very bright and yet he never reached his potential because my parents were never told he could have a potential. They were told the worst thing you could tell someone with a special needs child..."there's nothing you can do". So there they were with this kid, a rare condition, there's nothing they can do, no one in the same boat to even swap stories with, and they had to cope somehow. Like most parents of special needs kids there is no where to put the anger and negative feelings you may have to deal with. Their other child, me, was full of questions, giggles, and into everything, clueless to my parents need to grieve (or whatever it is they needed).  I think they tended to overreact to my annoying ways as a way to put those feelings somewhere. I always thought there was a bit of a black cloud over our family. I know if the doctors had told my parents to keep working with him to help him reach his potential, they would have done more and felt better.

When autism struck our family again, it was a big blow to my parents. Our son regressed into autism at age 2. But their heartbreak was soon relieved by our son's diet response and my Celiac diagnoses. They had finally gotten some answers  (gluten and gut issues) as to what was plaguing our family. The best news was there was something that could be done. That dark cloud seemed to disintegrate. My own dark cloud disappeared as well when I could understand what my parents had been through.

The other side of the family had a much different reaction, aimed right at me and our son's diet. Although we were working with a nutritionist, an allergist, and a gi doctor, they decided I was lying about the gluten and other allergy issues, and made comments about the potential for CPS to be called on me. No effort was made to learn anything about the diet or our sons health issues. This went on for a couple of months (this was 2008). My husband finally had to step in. There was absolutely nothing he could say on my behalf, so he had to explain they were insinuating him as well. I suspect some of them did what they did out of sheer meanness. But others, faced with the horrible news of autism, found it easier to demonize me than to deal with the autism (deja-vu for me).  One of those members didn't want to be stuck in the middle, while trying to avoid autism, and found it easier to jump on that bandwagon. Luckily things have calmed down and my mother-in-law makes the most delicious SCD baked goods for my son. I think she has really started to understand more. The others have varying degrees of acceptance.

It took a few years of struggling with shell shock to understand something very important: the power of forgiveness (especially when you can make no sense of someones behavior). I could be bitter or I could let it go, and living with the bitterness was just awful. The whole reason I am writing this is not to get any sympathy, or to get back at my in-laws (they are only human), those are the last thing I want. I just want to mention this because I think we all struggle with something similar, and those of us with compromised immune systems do not need this additional burden. I think resentment and negative feelings can undermine all of the work we put into trying to regain health. We also have to realize with autism, adhd, autoimmunity, cancer, etc...more and more people are forced to deal things that were never this common. Attacking someone else may be a coping mechanism.

I feel so blessed to stumble upon "The F Word: Forgiveness". Feeding our mind with healing messages can have same the powerful impact as feeding our bodies with healing foods, and maybe more.


  1. Beautifully written and so well said. Thanks for the food for thought today.

  2. Thank you. It's hard to blog about something bitter or negative that I've had to deal with. I decided I would not write about it until I really could put it behind me, and even then I still had hesitation. But finding a healthy way to deal can make life so much better, I thought it would be an important health topic. Negative situations are going to arise, even with friends and loved ones, life is full of lessons.

  3. Dear Mrs Ed,
    I am an MD and I specialize in psychotherapy and researching celiac/gluten sensitivity. My family has been devastated by celiac/Gluten sensitivity (GS).
    This article is precious as it describes well what happens in my family and in most families with, what I call "celiac brain". And all people with gluten sensitivity (GS) have some variety of "celiac brain" even if they have a non-neurological presentation.

    Have you seen a site called www.stopcallingitautism.com, which emphasizes it is a medical problem.

    Lovely Blog.Keep up the good work.

  4. Mrs. Ed,
    May I post a copy of your full blog entry on my blog and a link to yours?
    I think this would help so many people have an understanding that there are a lot of emotions, especially guilt, when there is a diagnosis that is related to celiac, gluten sensitivity, ADD, ADHD, depression, bi-polar, schizo-affective and so many more. And forgiveness is part of the healing.

  5. Barbara,

    Thank you for the lovely comments. I have not seen the autism site you mention, but I will check it out. I would love if you put a link for my blog. I will need to check, but I think I have your link already on my link page, as I really enjoy your blog.