Image of Anne Steinhoff

Anne Steinhoff

Lecturer at University of Essex

About me

I got diagnosed with Coeliac Disease at the beginning of my University studies. I remember how relieved I felt knowing that my suffering had a name. But the feeling of relief changed quickly: many of my symptoms remained, the restrictive diet as a young woman at University turned into a dealbreaker in friendships and relationships, and often I felt misunderstood by my family, friends and doctors.

I decided to focus on my studies, earning a Bachelor's and Master's degree. I did not know how to work full-time with a body that showed persistent and life-affecting symptoms, and colleagues who quizzed me about it. For several years, I worked in Finance and Accounting related roles at two Russell Group Universities- always close to giving in. What kept me going? The belief that I wasn’t trying hard enough!

Finding the chronic illness community online made me realise that the problem was not me. But our workplaces. I started wondering how other employees with Coeliac Disease feel. What if it is time to build a platform to hear these stories? I enrolled for a PhD at the University of Essex to research these experiences: What is YOUR work life living with Coeliac Disease like?

Nowadays, I am a Lecturer at the University of Essex. I teach students critical perspectives on accounting practices. I found my place in this world. But I remain passionate about the need to speak up about Coeliac Disease.