I was addicted to bread when I found out I was gluten intolerant. Gluten free bread is not the same  “high” you get from eating gluten bread. When I ate the bread, I was glassy eyed, dark circles under my eyes. I squinted because I couldn’t open my eyes all the way, because it was probably a high blood sugar as well.

In fact, people were always accusing me of looking tired, or even drunk. One should not look drunk in high school. In fact I was asked so often I said yes sometimes. Because I was asked four or five times a day, every single day. “Are you tired, are you drunk?”

My eyes physically hurt. If I didn’t eat the bread, I had nothing else to eat. It was the 1980s. There was no gluten free anything. The only thing I could do, was self medicate. I did that by eating the inside of the sandwich and not eating the bread.  Frequently, I would still be hungry so I would eat half the bread. The rest of my lunch was still gluten, like  pretzels or cake or something. If I was hungry I ate that as well. If there was anything out of my lunch to skip, it was the bread, but sometimes, I was still hungry.

the day after eating the bread, felt like I was punched in the stomach when it hit certain areas of my stomach. In order to self medicate for that, I would eat again. I would eat a little bit of gluten. I ate a cracker, or a bite of pretzels, until the pain came back in twenty minutes and I would eat another one. I was grazing and munching a tiny bit all day.

Nobody ever wondered why I had a stomach ache because in my family, a gallon of ice cream was a single serving. My family engorged on chocolate. It was a food group. They were all sick from eating big plates of cookies. I had one and felt awful.

I suppose these are the circumstances to have twenty or thirty years of undiganosed celiac disease, when everyone else feels just like you, all the time. If you asked me then, how I was feeling, I would say I felt fine. That was not fine.

It makes you question what people mean, when they say they feel fine. If everyone is sick. How can you tell what it’s like to be well?