Meet Emily, an Alike user from Arkansas, which she cherishes deeply because of how close knit the community she has been able to make is. Emily has ADHD, IBS, Celiac Disease, Major Depressive Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, OCD and Trichotillomania. Emily answered a few questions about how she manages her conditions and wanted to share her answers with all of you. We were definitely inspired by her story and hope you will be, too.
Q: How has your condition impacted your daily life?
A: My life went haywire with the first few things I was diagnosed with, which were Celiac Disease, the inability to eat gluten and dairy, Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Celiac disease and IBS caused me to lose weight instantly. And after being placed on several medications for my ADHD, I fell into a depressive state which was poorly treated by the first therapist I went to. Eventually, they redirected me to another , which I would recommend to anyone, where I was able to work with an amazing therapist and nurse who helped me come back to being myself. Along the way, I was diagnosed with panic disorder and transitioned to another therapist and nurse, whom I still work with today to overcome traumas, and have consequently gotten better.
Q: What are some of the most significant challenges you've faced in managing your health condition? How do you currently cope with those challenges?
A: Celiac disease prevented me from going to many restaurants, making really common daily activities really difficult. IBS resulted in significant struggle with doing things with people. But, so many people helped me along the way, and I found solace in the hidden people around the world, as well as in my close friends and family.
Nowadays, schools and business have improved, and daily activities have become a lot easier. One thing I found with my school was that most of the teachers could relate to what I was going through, so they used things like fidgets, snack drawers, and music to help me cope.
Q: If you could describe Alike in one sentence, what would it be?
A: Alike is a place where people get to be human.
How has Alike helped you on your health journey? Are there any specific features or experiences?
Alike has helped me find people who I can confide in and who have let me be alone. Being able to compare my conditions to other people's conditions has been amazing. I can easily pinpoint who could help me and understand what I'm going through.
Q: What's your ultimate comfort food or dessert that you could never resist?
A: This is hard… I love food. As a person who indulged herself with food before I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease, bread is something I always long for… especially a nice soft roll with butter! But if I had to have something that wouldn't put me in the bathroom for hours, I would say strawberries with ranch. It's good! Seriously, try it.
Q: Are there any misconceptions or misunderstandings about your health condition that you wish people understood better?
A: A lot of people don’t know I can’t have gluten. So when they want to eat something made with wheat and I would say no, they would be so confused. A lot of people don't want to ask others about their conditions but I love it when people ask about them. Being informed is never a bad thing!