Using the Diabetes Community for Support and Advice
Do you ever compare your diabetes with someone else's? Do you ever wish control were better and more like [insert d-person's name here]? Sometimes we can lose ourselves in wondering how we compare or measure up to certain standards set by doctors, the media, or our own preconceived notions of who or how we should be. Let today be the day you knock it off.
Here's the deal: Comparison is the mind killer. There is an antidote, though. The antidote is gratitude. Not gratitude for diabetes, per say, but gratitude for the life you're living. This is easier said than done.
Because gratitude requires a shift from feeling victimized to a place of empowerment. Authentic gratitude also requires that you validate your own life and your own choices. No one's perfect-and diabetes will cure you of your perfectionism rather quickly. It's an imperfect disease in an imperfect world.
But that doesn't mean we stop trying. Gratitude encourages you to accept and acknowledge the wonderful role you play in this world. To accept the gifts you offer. The gift of simply being Y-O-U. Here. Now.
There are always gifts in any present moment. Even though diabetes is a tough ride, the choices you've made and the changes you've gone through -- they have brought you here. Even if here is a place that needs a little adjustment, that's okay.
Diabetes demands a vigilance and focus on the body that isn't always healthy for our mental state. The constant focus on bloodsugar levels, food and carbohydrate intake, what's "wrong" or could go wrong-this is tricky terrain.
Diabetes seems to instruct you hone in on what's "wrong" instead of all the places you're doing things right. This can create a sense of failure or despair. You may have a great day but be plagued by persistent lows. Or you may be in range 95% of the time, but those moments where you're out of balance get all the attention from doctors, nurses, even yourself. So what to do?
Here's the thing. How you translate any situation is the situation. What you choose to see is the truth (for you at least). Paying attention to your translation of things doesn't mean you become a phony or live with blinders on. It doesn't mean you need to go around praising the D-life.
Diabetes involves a loss of control and a sense of imbalance at times. But we still have choices. This is simply reminding you that your translation of any situation in your life is your choice.
No doubt you've heard stories of patients who have ignored others' translations of their prognoses, their potential, their health, their lives. These people chose their own translations and succeeded in spite (or perhaps because of) the nay-sayers. Diabetes is a challenge, but it can't prevent you from staking a claim to your own sovereignty.
There are dragons you must slay to claim your life. Condescending doctors, media-perpetuated myths, the well-intentioned but uninformed court of public opinion. They will never go away until you say, "I don't believe you and you can't stop me from living the life I want-and claim-for myself." You always have a choice when it comes to how you look at things. Why not choose to choose gratitude?
November was a rough month for me, diabetes wise. But I'm grateful that November gave us a chance to raise the public's awareness of diabetes. It's not the whole answer, but it's a place to start.
It always starts, I believe, with awareness. Awareness of our own thoughts, assumptions and blind-spots. Awareness of our gifts and areas for growth. Awareness around what we know and all we have left to learn. And while I've made my share of gaffes and false assumptions as a diabetic and wellness blogger over the years, I've never felt shunned or turned away by this community. I'm so very grateful for that.
We need each other. More than we realize. Together we can do so much. Alone we may accomplish great things, but the power of a group whose intentions are aligned is unstoppable. Think of the bird flying solo versus the one flying with the flock, powered by the slipstream.
That's what I love about this community. No one is any more an expert than anyone else. I'm so grateful we have each other to lean on, and a place to come for understanding, and unconditional support. A blog or article or forum to go to when I'm in need of extra support or goodwill. When I can't seem to go it alone.
This diabetes stuff is hard. This mindset stuff, too. And I know it isn't always easy to love and care about someone living with a chronic illness like diabetes-even if you have the disease yourself. Does our community have its share of issues? Of course. Do we always agree? Of course not. But there is great love and respect here, too. That's what I see above all. That is what keeps me coming back. That is why I'm honored to be a part of all this.
Today, I just want to take a moment to honor that-and you. You may not always agree with me, and I'm the first to admit how far from the perfect model patient I am. But I'm blessed to have you rooting for me and to have each of you to root for, too.
I am blessed to have you here, reading my words. I hope you know I'm here for you, too. Don't be shy about leaving a comment or sending me an email. It's always an honor.