Tag Archives: chronic condition

Intellectualizing Diabetes

Realization: I cope with type 1 diabetes by intellectualizing it. I still cannot look at diabetes as a mere disease. It has to be something “more”…

Examples:

I often reflect upon diabetes in a philosophical manner.

I often explore the psychological impact that diabetes has had on me.

I imagine that diabetes is an opponent, and try to out-strategize it.

At other times, I see it as being pertinent to my vocation.

Having realized this, I delved into my past.

Having delved into my past, I came to noticed this: when I interpret diabetes as something mundane, my focus tends to shift elsewhere.

I have discerned a pattern.

I only decide to dissipate mental energy thinking about diabetes when I recognize that it has a  “greater significance.”

All signs point in one direction. Thankfully, I am content with the destination.

Focusing predominantly upon the everyday realities of type 1 diabetes does me harm. Having realized this, I can now adapt in a more mindful manner.

————

To exist is to change; to live is to adapt.

At diagnosis, we were thrown into a new reality. More or less skillfully, we all adapt – each in our own way.

How does this apply to you?

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Not all things are created equal

Got meters?
Got meters?

A month ago I was testing 2-3 time a day. On most days, my numbers remained above 200 all day, and I’d often see at least 1 number over 300. Numbers in the 400s – which had formerly been rare – happened almost every week.

Fast forward to this month. I’ve been testing 6-10 times a day. On most days, my numbers remain above 200 for most of the days, but I’m starting to see due some decent numbers. Numbers in the 400s – which been all too common a month ago – are now non-existent. Improvements have been made.

Being a pessimist, I’m adept at seeing the negative aspects of any situation. In my present situation, I could easily choose to focus on the fact that my blood sugars still remain, on average, higher than what I’d like to see.

Although I could choose to see my present situation through tinted glasses, I have decided not to. To interpret my situation in a negative manner would do me no good.

It’s essential that I keep things in perspective. Although my blood glucose readings are important, they’re not what’s most important to me. Of far greater significance to me is  the fact that I’m testing my blood sugar frequently.

My current blood glucose readings are irrelevant to me, so long as I’m in the habit of frequently testing my blood sugar. Although, by itself, it won’t have a major impact on the extent to which I have my diabetes under control, it will form a firm foundation for me as I continue to recover from diabetes burnout.

Discernment is essential.

Rebuilding after the storm

My kit: a necessary tool in my efforts to rebuild
My kit: a necessary tool in my efforts to rebuild

Diabetes burnout struck me like a tornado. Where skillful diabetes habits had once stood, there remained nothing. A once-magnificent city had been replaced by a vast field of rubble.

In the immediate aftermath of the storm, I was left in a state of shock. After gaining an appreciation of what had transpired, my shock turned to self-pity and despair. Being stuck in the position I was in felt like an injustice, and the magnitude of the task at hand inspired nothing but despair.

These days are now behind me. Having freed myself from self-pity and despair, I was able to focus on the process of rebuilding.

This  process started in December of 2013, and has continued into the new year. Although a noticeable amount of rubble has been removed thus far, a significant amount remains.

I’m starting the process slowly by continuing to test my blood sugar more frequently. When I’m ready to move on to another task, I will focus on being more physically active again. For now, however, I still need to focus most of my attention on the first task.

Despite the large quantity of work that has yet to be done, the outlook is optimistic. Things will be restored to their former glory.

Thou shalt pace thyself

As I continue reestablishing skillful diabetes management habits, I need to pace myself.

I’d experienced diabetes burnout from September until the middle of December, during which I formed numerous unskillful habits. For instance, I was only testing twice a day, I didn’t change my pump site as often as I should, etc. Given the plethora of bad habits I had formed, I’m basically starting from square one.

Given the magnitude of the task at hand, it’s essential that I focus on one or two habits at a time; otherwise, I risk overwhelming myself. I risk burning myself out all over again.

Although the road to adequate diabetes management is long, I’m certain that, so long as I pace myself, I’ll reach my destination.

The wisdom of properly pacing oneself extends to other areas of life as well. I’m currently trying to pace myself in these other areas as well. This blog is one example of where I can implement it.

Therefore, I’m going to lower my posting frequency. For the rest of January I plan on posting twice a week – on Monday and on either Thursday or Friday.

Diabetes Burnout: The Psychological Challenges of Recovery

I want to write about diabetes burnout – in particular, my most recent bout with it. I want to find a way to incorporate the posts I made on tumblr a month ago, when my burnout was at its peak. As I attempt to achieve these goals, I’m continually falling short. I’ve hit a brick wall – and keep hitting it over and over again. Writers block has reared it’s ugly head.

After writing and re-writing this post repeatedly, I’ve decided to give writers block the finger, and write about writers block. I ain’t gonna let writers block slow me down…

If you can’t tell already, this post is essentially going to be a free write until I’m able to magically transition to the topic I had initially planned on writing about.

As a writer, beginnings are my archnemesis. I need to find my groove; after I’ve done so, it’s takeoff! If I don’t, my writing’s a train wreck.

Perhaps it’s because I try too hard. Rather than putting my trust in my own abilities, I try to force myself to write rather than allowing myself to write. Perhaps having a preplanned subject matter adds extra pressure. Perhaps, like a guitar player, I simply have to relax my mind and body, and then just write.

The part of this post that is actually about diabetes begins after this sentence.

Now my groove is coming back to me and, of course, now I’m starting to feel low…

I’m actually 123 (a nice number for more than one reason).

That unpleasant interruption brings us to today’s topic: the psychological challenges of overcoming diabetes burnout.

When your blood sugar is high all of the time, you adapt to it. Chronic hyperglycemia is miserable to live with, but I get accustomed to living miserably. It also tends to make me feel depressed after awhile, which means I…lack of motivation.

In other words, chronic hyperglycemia eliminates possible motivations to improve my blood sugars, while also making it more difficult to feel motivated in general.

To complicate matters further, I know that, as I improve my blood sugars, I will both experience more lows and start to feel low when I’m not. Psychologically, there is little difference between the two. Both of them make me feel the same, and this feeling isn’t one I desire.

Do you remember how I mentioned wanting to incorporate something I wrote on tumblr into this post? Well…I’m about to do just that.

Here’s something I wrote while I was experiencing burnout:

Didn't I exude positivity?
Didn’t I exude positivity?

The first sentence is the part of that post that’s relevant to this one.

Pulling yourself out of diabetes burnout involves making a decision between two shitty options. It’s not as black and white as it may seem.

If you’re stuck in a negative mindset, this taints your judgement. Both of them can appear to be equally bad if this is your mindset.

All of these things make diabetes burnout an incredibly difficult hole to climb out of.

What I have been describing is, of course, an extreme example. What I’m describing is a case where diabetes burnout and chronic hyperglycemia fed into each other.

It probably would have made more sense for me to organize the last three paragraphs into bullet points but what has been done has been done.

In conclusion, I don’t like writing conclusions, therefore this post will abruptly end here