Health anxiety about allergies is controlling my life

I understand if this is beyond everyone’s “pay grade”, but I just kind of wanted to vent a little. I’ve always struggled with anxiety, but can manage it on my own without using medication. Lately I’ve found myself having an illogical, life-consuming fear of having a severe allergic reaction and dying. I guess you could probably say it’s a phobia at this point. I KNOW it’s dumb and doesn’t make sense, but I can’t stop obsessing over it. I know I actually do have some allergies, like I’m mildly allergic to cats and some dogs, moderately allergic to most molds, and get seasonal allergies every season change, but I have NEVER had a bad reaction to food or anything like that that I am aware of.

But, this all started last year. I got some new suckers that were passionfruit flavored and started eating one, but my mouth started feeling tingly and weird. I was at my parents’ house so I just took a benadryl and the tingling seemed to go away within 20-30 minutes. I still don’t know if it was an allergic reaction or just due to the citric acid in the sucker, and not knowing is kind of what has driven me crazy, but I refused to eat another one just to be safe and gave the rest of them away.

Fast forward to October or November of last year, I went on a new diet (Paleo), and got some peppered almond flour crackers that had tapioca and cassava root in them (which is the root that tapioca starch is derived from), and just to be on the safe side since I’ve never had cassava before, I ate one cracker, waited for 20 minutes to see if anything bad would happen, and nothing did, so I ate a few more over the course of the day. Nothing bad happened, but they made my mouth feel a little dry. Later that night, I sat down with the box when I was playing some video games and was just absent-mindedly eating them. I noticed that mouth and lips started burning pretty severely, and it went on for a loooong time. I didn’t immediately get up to take an allergy pill or anything just in case it was just due to the pepper in the crackers and I didn’t want to overreact, but it literally felt like I had just eaten a bunch of jalapenos. After 45 minutes or so of consistent mouth burning even after I stopped eating the crackers, I got up and took another Benadryl and within 20-30 minutes again the burning stopped, but I also stopped eating the crackers so I still don’t know if it was just the pepper in the crackers or an actual allergy.

In my mind, it just doesn’t make sense, and I hate not having an answer. I LOVE black pepper, and I load every food I eat up with it if I can. One of my favorite snacks is the Spitz cracked pepper sunflower seeds, and they kind of burn my mouth a little, but it doesn’t linger for 45 minutes to an hour, which is what kind of makes me think it might be an allergy. But then the other thing is, tapioca is in a LOT of foods, and if I was actually allergic to it, you’d think I’d have some sort of reaction every time I eat it, but I don’t. Some of my favorite snacks/candies have tapioca in them!

But this whole thing has made it near impossible to eat when I am alone. Logically, I know that even if I were to be allergic to something, it would likely be a mild reaction, and then I would hopefully know to avoid the food, but my brain is just like “WHAT IF, THOUGH.” When my husband is home its easier because I know if something were to go wrong, I wouldn’t be by myself. But this situation is just making me mad and extremely frustrated. I tend to over-analyze things and it drives me crazy when I just don’t have an answer for something, so not knowing if I’m actually allergic to something is making things really difficult. I went in to an allergist to see if they could help me find out if my anxiety is justified or all in my head and got a blood test done and am waiting on the results, but they couldn’t test for tapioca. Also allergy blood tests and skin-prick tests can show false positives 50-60% of the time, and so it’s important to look at the results in the context of your history. If something shows up as positive for an allergy, but has never bothered you before, there is no need to avoid it or eliminate it, but I’m also concerned that my dumb brain is going to be like “Tomatoes came back positive! You’re allergic!” even though I eat tomatoes every single week. My mom and brother both have pretty severe environmental allergies, and my mom has a food allergy to certain nuts and they both have epi-pens. I live right next door to them, so even if I DID have anaphylaxis or something, help wouldn’t be too far away. But still, I don’t know how I went through life never being worried that I was allergic to something, and I’m almost afraid that I will never be able to get back to that point where allergies just aren’t something I worry about every day.

I’m considering going to a therapist about it, but I’m just not sure what they could tell me that would help. I’m hoping it just kind of goes away or I get over it eventually. I guess I just want to know if others have gone through something similar.


You are not alone, this is so relateable!
I actually have similar thought patterns about food and I can appreciate the anxiety you arefeeling right now. It’s always worth talking to a therapist if that is possible. Besides your anxiety I guess you have a real reason to worry about allergies.
Does it help if I point out that there are medicines to help control that? So if you did actually have a reaction it would be ok. Just annoying to deal with. :purple_heart:
You wanted to know if other people have similar thoughts and I can tell you that I have avoided whole food groups before from fear of allergies… and I have no allergy worries in my family. The wonderful thing about anxiety is, whatever you tell it, it listens to. So tell your body your going to have an allergic reaction and your anxiety will fire into action like a threat is really there which then feeds the circle of anxiety. It’s so tough! Enough to drive anyone crazy. I’m happy to chat with you , listen to your health anxieties whenever you need. I hope your feeling a little less anxious.

1 Like

I have had to challenge my anxious thoughts by eating the food I feel anxious about regardless of how I feel…
Avoiding the food just feeds the anxiety…
Eating the food makes me anxious but in the long run, the next time I eat that thing I won’t be so anxious, I’m just telling you this in the hope it helps you. :purple_heart:

1 Like

Hey, Enowva, thank you for taking the time to respond. It does help knowing that you’ve gone through something similar and were able to get through it. I think I just need to work on not being so hyper-aware of what my body is doing at all times, because I think that really is what is driving this problem.

I try not to flat-out avoid foods since I know that’s only enabling the pattern of anxiety, and eating the food and realizing “hey, I’m fine!” slowly over time is helping, I think.

I appreciate your support, though, it means a lot to me!

1 Like

You have amazing insight into your anxiety and that’s the key to challenging it. :purple_heart: If you ever want to rant about it I’m all ears! .

1 Like

This topic was automatically closed after 365 days. New replies are no longer allowed.