I guess as a person with anxiety disorder, I’m reluctant to eat certain things, drink certain beverages, and do certain things. My family often pokes fun at the fact that I obsess over things that are idiotic. Here’s the way my brain processes: If ~something~ can potentially harm or kill you, why bother consuming it, or if it something other than the fear of a certain food; then why bother dealing with it?
Shellfish. My father used to go down to South Street Seaport in Manhatten to work. He had his own fish market where he would bring home seafood every Wednesday evening for dinner. It was apart of my life. Lobster, shrimp, clams, crabs, mussels and scallops; I used to love those Wednesday night dinners when I was younger. On Christmas Eve, our tradition is to have every kind of seafood on the table. I think most Italian families do this—it’s apart of our annual celebration.
In the late 90’s, my sister Cathy went out to eat seafood one evening. She blew up like a tick due to her allergic reaction. She had to be taken to the hospital right away. She was okay, thank God, but the thought of almost losing your life due to a piece of shrimp or ingesting a wonderful surf and turf is beyond me. I then, decided that I would never touch seafood again. Oddly enough, one evening I was eating some seafood that my mother wanted me to try to see if she made it ‘okay’---and my whole entire inside of my mouth blew up, and I had these little bumps that erupted with blood streaming down each one of them. This was the weirdest reaction I have ever encountered, or seen for that matter. I told my mother, “Maaaa!!! Ma’mouth! Ma’mouth!” I could hardly speak because it hurt to even try to speak. My mother says, “Oh Deb, it’s all in your head! You’re not allergic to my food, you’ve been eating this your whole life!” I looked to my girlfriend and my sister Dawn, I said, “Do you see this?” My sister Dawn is extremely sensitive to anything that involves blood or vomit. She dry heaved and ran towards the bathroom. Obviously something was brewing in my mouth. My girlfriend immediately called the emergency room at the hospital. They told her to give me Benadryl and see if that subsides. It did.
One day, while working at the office, one of my co-workers came back from smoking a cigarette all panicky. Her face was blown up and she was asking my manager for the first aide kit so she can get an EpiPen. “What happened?” I asked. She got stung by a bee outside which made her get an allergic reaction. Deb’s brain: Stay away from bees! That was it, I now I had deep fear of bees. Documentary shows on T.V. didn’t help at all either; it only reminded me of how dangerous these little critters can be! People can literally die over bee stings. I can’t even sit long enough to get a fifteen minute tan before I start running like a complete lunatic because a wasp flew over where I was laying down. It’s quite pathetic looking. What’s even sicker----is while it’s an 80 degree, sunny & beautiful day outside, I will go to my gym in their tanning beds in order to get a little color. Sick, right? I wait till the sun goes down a bit in order to swim in my pool. I now officially have apiphobia. What next?
Oh, how I would love peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. It was a great, healthy and easy to make meal. The best was, if you ran out of time in the morning before going to work, slap that sandwich together and off you go! Peanut butter is so healthy for you; it has so much protein in it. How can this food be bad? Since my sisters starting reproducing babies, my cute little nephew and two nieces, I have learned yet another scare in this growing list of phobias of mine. Peanut butter can be deathly to infants ~and~ to people who are allergic. Okay, well, people with asthma and breathing conditions. Now?---I won’t even touch the stuff. Why? –Simply because I have chronic bronchitis that leads into asthma during the winter time. I won’t even eat anything that has to do with nuts…I never experienced ‘being allergic to it’---but why risk it? Another ~nutty~ story is when my sister Carla was eating peanut trail mix. As she was consuming these salty treats, she noticed that she was beginning to develop a rash on her chest. The rash got so severe that it went onto her breasts---you think that’s bad? Her nipples started bleeding! Scratch trail mix off my list of ‘treats’.
One evening, I was trying to be all romantic, and I bought a bottle of champagne and fresh strawberries to my girlfriend. In each glass, I dropped a strawberry. Ah, this is perfect! As we were sipping our champagne and feeding one another strawberries, my girlfriend noticed the red, prickly rash that was developing all over my chest and neck.
“Deb! What’s wrong with your chest?” I immediately got self-conscious thinking I wore the wrong bra, but then realized in the mirror that I was having an allergic reaction to the strawberries. Another great food off my list!
Is my mother right? Can my brain actually produce a fake allergic reaction much like a false pregnancy? Is it possibly that it just may 'all be in my head’? I say, if it screw with the quality of my life, then why touch the stuff? My girlfriend said I should go to the doctor and get tested to see if I am allergic to all of these things. I feel bad because I don’t want to waste the doctor’s time with my insane phobias.