I write this blog for several reasons. One, I love sharing my knowledge and helping others. Two, I want you to know that managing diabetes involves emotional resilience not just meds and counting carbs. Three, it keeps my mind checking in on how I regard and manage my diabetes.
Truth be told, my diabetes-life began poorly. My early years were spent in denial and ignorance. Then after developing a few minor complications, I found my way to the top of the learning curve and shifted my vision — from seeing diabetes as a burden to creating a healthy life. And how I deal with my diabetes has given me that. Over the years I’ve maintained a thirty-pound weight loss, I eat sweets only as a treat, I’ve wiped refined carbohydrates out of my diet, I use smaller plates and so eat smaller portions, I’m always taking food home from restaurants (usually it’s mine), I power-walk almost daily and watch my head for incoming negative thoughts. Today diabetes is just part of my routine, and I’m healthier for it. I believe we’re all capable of finding a gift in our diabetes, and for some, it will be better health. Frankly, though, you have to be ready to look for it.
Here’s a Zen sort of exercise that may help you do better: notice your thoughts about diabetes. How do you feel about it? What do you do to manage it? What don’t you do? Do you resent it? Is it friend or foe? How do you manage it: peacefully or combatively? Do you keep diabetes a secret? Why? Checking in with yourself on these issues may help create some new thinking for yourself, and prompt new actions. How you hold diabetes in your life impacts your entire life.
I’m always curious why we think what we do, do what we do, expect what we do. I’m intrigued by how when individuals face the same issues, we each exhibit different behaviors. And now I’m fascinated by how diabetes shapes our lives: why can some of us deal while so many are so stuck?
Noticing your thoughts can help you see the life you’re constructing every day — your whole life and the role diabetes plays in it. Often I hear my thoughts best when I’m out of the house, walking around the park. My mind seems more free to travel under the open sky. If you let yourself rummage about up there in your head and then capture your thoughts on paper, it’s a great way to glean some new insights and work out frustrations. Both are powerful means for coping with diabetes.
If you’ve read a few entries here you may think I’m schizophrenic. I report about feeling pride and celebration living with diabetes in one entry and then exhaustion and disgust in another. But, you see, I believe living with diabetes is all these things: the good, the bad, the ugly and the proud. And, our emotions are a significant part of what we need to manage along with our blood sugars.
I hope you find these entries fulfilling in some way. Maybe they validate your own feelings, provide connection with others, expand your learning or peak or satisfy your curiosity. Mostly, I hope they spur you to think about your diabetes-life, and try something new if you need to. I know it helps me to write them. Here’s where all those thoughts walking around the park go.
You can take a stab at writing your thoughts here too to see them more clearly. You may find you notice something valuable in the process. If so, let me know. Sometimes it’s good for me to test my own theories.