Diabetes: The Buck Stops Here (Or Does it?)

Amylia Grace Yeaman Health Guide
  • "The worst guilt is to accept an unearned guilt." --Ayn Rand

    There are three things that make this so-called D-life impossibly hard at times:

        1.) There's no break from diabetes (nor time off for good behavior)
        2.) There's no sharing
        3.) It's no exact science (and I'm no pancreas).

    Diabetes is a lifelong challenge with very real consequences for miscalculations. Very real consequences for not being impeccable. For not being faultless. For failing to anticipate everything perfectly in advance. For not knowing what is unknowable. Diabetes is fickle and relentless--and a lifelong study oxymorons like "perfecting imperfection" and "controlling diabetes." Even more insidious is the guilt and blame.

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    Thing is, if I'm having a tough diabetes day, the buck stops here. I'm the one who decides when to eat and what food to eat. I'm the one who decides what exercise or other activities I'm partaking in for the day. I'm deciding when to test--and how often, and I'm the one who decides how much insulin to take, and when.  

    * * *

    I'm typing this as my numb tongue rests against the roof of my mouth. I feel vulnerable and shaky. Aside from spending a few hours cleaning the house and laundry after work, today is not so very different from yesterday. Still, I rail against myself for not knowing better. Cleaning is exercise. Running two flights of stairs throughout the afternoon with heaping loads of laundry counts. Cleaning can't just be cleaning (kinda like how I often go low during a long shop at the grocery store). It's an activity and basal rates must be adjusted. If not, you get this.

    What stinks most about diabetes from an emotional standpoint is all the second-guessing and responsibility that goes along with it. I can handle taking responsibility for things. I can even handle a healthy does of guilt if it's "earned." I'll take responsibility if the "blame" is deserved, but I'm no pancreas. A lot of the guilt and blame I feel are not entirely mine to take ownership of. I know this. And just because I feel guilty does not me I have actually earned that guilt. So why am I so quick to pick up the kissing cousins of guilt and blame?

    Here's what I've finally realized after 24 years with this disease:  I take on the guilt and blame in part because it allows me the allusion of control. If I'm not to blame for my lows today, who or what is?

    From a survival and peace-of-mind standpoint, there are times I'd rather retain some modicum of control than think any of it is out of my hands because that, my friends, is far scarier. I know mastering diabetes is a misnomer. And I don't like how I feel when blaming myself for an unexplained high or low bloodsugar, but I don't relish the thought that unknown influences are screwing with my very life, either.


    What do you tell yourself to help deal with the highs and lows of diabetes? And how do you reconcile the notions of controlling diabetes and diabetes not being fully controllable? Please leave a comment and let me know!

Published On: May 23, 2012