Tag Archives: Philosophy

What is this blog?

This blog centers on an individuals life.

It is an artists’ gallery, with a multitude of paintings adorning
its walls. In interpreting them you are active.

This individual is wandering in a forest, between two extremes. In this we are united.

With words the artist makes strokes upon the canvass:
a creature of his creativity is created.

Throughout his wanderings, experiences are had – in infinite variety.

What results is placed upon the wall for all to see.
Come in and observe them!

In trying to re-present this variety he repeatedly falls short. Words fail to support him.

“What will they think?” the artist wonders.
In interpretation they are free.

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Outline: What will be my message?

The following is a rough outline of the message I intend to send. It is only a starting point. My message is apt to change. Some of this will be discarded. Other parts will be explicated.

My message has congealed. My message is congealing.

Gritty realism and hope. Positives and negatives. Individuality and community. Freedom and fate. Ignore none of these.

Acknowledge the shit life happens to throw at you; however, do not let it weigh you down.

Aim for self-development, aim for growth. Connect goals with this ideal.

The connection between diabetes and life as a whole. What does diabetes have to teach us about life?

Mindfulness, diabetes, and life. Mindfulness of ones BG patterns, the impact of various foods and activities = essential part of diabetes management. Emphasize its value in life as a whole.

Focus on focus. Emphasize it.

Acknowledge limitations. Focus on freedom.

Acknowledge X, focus on Y.

Focus on the power we already posses. Focusing just on empowerment = one sided.

Focus on what you can control. Avoid focusing on things that depend on other factors.

Focus on behavior.

Focus on habits.

Focus on perspective.

Obsessing over circumstance is not the most beneficial option.

Above all else, make it about eudaimonia.

#DBlogWeek – A novel approach to discussing mental health

Diabetes and mental health – more specifically the connection between the two – fascinates me. I am excited. I am also concerned. Will I be able to have a narrow focus? Will I ramble on? Heck…will this post even make sense?!

The gods had condemned Sisyphus to ceaselessly rolling a rock to the top of a mountain, whence the stone would fall back of its own weight. They had thought with some reason that there is no more dreadful punishment than futile and hopeless labor.
~ Albert Camus

We all have rocks to roll. Blood glucose levels are one of mine.

By unfamiliar forces condemned, I roll this rock up the hill of perfection, only to fail…repeatedly.

Now I stand face to face with my own humanity.

Smacked by the futility of the task, consciousness of my predicament arises. Responsibility drops on my shoulders. The moment of decision has arrived.

A book of options is presented. I am free to look it over, free to choose.

Human agency makes its entrance.

My reaction is not predestined.

Inclined towards my habits, the familiar option is chosen. All others are ignored.

For one reason among many, with a spirit of adventure I’m filled, and I decide to forsake my habits. I choose a novel option.

Both of these paths I have traversed.

Which course will I follow?

————

Implicit herein lies most of the mental health difficulties I have faced whilst living with diabetes for the last 12 years.

I hope that some beams of light shine through as well.

————

In the past, I have described in greater specificity some of the psychological challenges that I have faced. In the future I will likely divulge more.

A broad approach for a broad topic. That is the approach I have taken here.

————

Update: I experienced diabetes-related anxiety after publishing this post, which you can read about here:
https://t1dme.wordpress.com/2014/05/14/speaking-of-diabetes-and-mental-health/

Should you trust your gut?

As I reached forward, I suddenly felt myself being tugged away.

I could not do it. I was unable to press the button.

Eventually I broke free, and yesterday’s post was published.

I did not trust my gut.

—–

“I am responsible for everything … except for my very responsibility, for I am not the foundation of my being. Therefore everything takes place as if I were compelled to be responsible. I am abandoned in the world … in the sense that I find myself suddenly alone and without help, engaged in a world for which I bear the whole responsibility without being able, whatever I do, to tear myself away from this responsibility for an instant.”
~ Jean-Paul Sartre

—–

To be a blogger takes self-assurance. A great deal of it.

In part, it takes trusting your instincts.

You must believe in the ideas you have. Faith in your abilities as a writer is essential.

When I write, I trust my gut.

—–

“All human activities are equivalent … and … all are on principle doomed to failure.”
~ Jean-Paul Sartre

—–

Fear can be overcome. People with type 1 diabetes – those who previously feared needles – know this all too well.

Do not let fear be your master!

Do not allow fear to hold you back!

Similar yet different

I am a singular individual. Labels do not assimilate me. On the contrary, it’s to me that labels assimilate.

Labels conceal my uniqueness. They hide my individuality.

At the same time…

Each individual is a circle; a label = where circles overlap.

Labels hint at unity. They disclose my similarities with other individuals.

That is potentially beneficial.

Still…Labels  do not disclose me.

I have type 1 diabetes; type 1 diabetes does not swallow me up.

I am young;  being young does not swallow me up.

I am a New Englander; being a New Englander does not swallow me up.

I am an American; being an American does not swallow me up.

I am a man; being a man does not swallow me up.

I am a human; being a human does not swallow me up.

Labels may accurately describe one of my facets. Perhaps they might even explain an aspect or aspects of myself.

A useful negation they might be. Even so, but a fraction of my self is all you see.

Words to live by:

Cherish unity, but do not let love of unity lead to forced uniformity.

Cherish your individuality. Do not let labels obfuscate your uniqueness.

Be mindful.

These jottings are the result of a process of thought set into motion by a comment that Heather Gabel made.  She blogs over at Unexpected Blues. Check it out if you have not done so already!

John Dewey quote on society

“Society is one word, but many things. Men associate together in all kinds of ways and for all kinds of purposes. One man is concerned in a multitude of diverse groups, in which his associates may be quite different. It often seems as if they had nothing in common except that they are modes of associated life.”

John Dewey, American philosopher, psychologist, educational reformer, humanist.

The Purpose of Writing

Expression. To express is the ultimate end of all writing. That’s it. The purpose of writing is that simple.

Distinguish yourself from the crowd! Don’t insist on complicating the uncomplicated!

Expression is the aim. Everything else is secondary. Conventions. Grammar. Choice of words. These are means to an end. Never lose sight of that.

When you write, you are free. Why do you choose to abbrogate your responsibility? Why do you allow Master Form to entice you with his promises of ease?

just write and remember…

Writing is a selfish endeavor. Art is a selfish pursuit. Despite this, they have the power to inspire…uplift…motivate…change.

Writing is a sea of gray, into which selfishness and selflessness melt away.

These are beliefs I hold dear.

Sometimes diabetes is TOO easy

Stasis is the antithesis of life. Like a river in springtime, life flows constantly.

This philosophy – this process metaphysics – has been my personal philosophy for the past 5 years. It’s a worldview that I was first exposed to through two great traditions of the East: Taoism and Buddhism.  Although I’m neither a Taoist nor a Buddhist, they’ve certainly influenced my own philosophy.

Initially, this change-centric conception of the world merely intrigued me. The novelty of it seduced me. In time, I began to reflect  upon my life and knowledge of history. I discovered that, in the main, change is the law of life – both of people and of nations.

Life is the Great Teacher. Over the past 5 years, I’ve learned countless lessons. My awareness has expanded. The implications of change is now clearer to me.

What was once a philosophy learned mostly from books ( such as the Tao Te Ching) has become deeply personal. Life is the ground out of which our philosophies grow and receive their nourishment.

My recent experiences with type 1 diabetes has nourished my understanding.

What I have come to the realization of can be sumarized thusly: With new circumstances come new challenges.

Let me show you what I mean.

Back in December – prior to starting this diabetes blog – I was burnt out. On a brisk December night – in the first week of the month – I experienced a stubborn high. Everything I did was for naught.

I drank water like a fish. I did a correction with a syringe. I did everything that I’ve been taught to do over at the Joslin Center. My actions helped, but only a little. My blood glucose levels remained above 350 for 12 hours.

Did I mention that I was panicked?

This event made me realize that I was experiencing diabetes burnout, and I realized that I’d have to climb out of the deep, dark hole that I’d stumbled into. I procrastinated.

Just to be clear, at this point I did desire to liberate myself from my situation. The psychological barriers to me doing so were still too high. It would take another unpleasant event to spur me into taking serious action to rectify my situation.

It took another stubborn high to motivate me to take decisive action. I knew that I had to rise above the frustration and fear that I was experiencing. I coped with it (mainly) through writing. This d-blog played an essential part in that process of recovery.

Back then, managing my type 1 diabetes adequately was too difficult. Therein lied my problem. It’s the reverse today. Now that managing diabetes is no longer a psychological burden, T1D has become too easy to manage.

The ease with which I’m managing my diabetes isn’t bad, per se. The problem lies in how it impacts my attitude and actions.

There’s a very real possibility that, given my psychological makeup, I’ll become lax, and allow unskillful diabetes to creep back in.

I have reached the publishing deadline that I have set for myself. This post will come to an abrupt con…….

Purpose of Life – Søren Kierkegaard quote

What I really lack is to be clear in my mind what I am to do, not what I am to know, except in so far as a certain knowledge must precede every action. The thing is to understand myself… the thing is to find a truth which is true for me, to find the idea for which I can live and die. … I certainly do not deny that I still recognize an imperative of knowledge and that through it one can work upon men, but it must be taken up into my life, and that is what I now recognize as the most important thing.

– Soren Kierkegaard, Danish theologian, Christian Existentialist

This is Life – A Reflection on a High Blood Sugar

Question markYesterday I was 324. I know what you are probably thinking: “So? What’s the point?” Please, read on… fight the urge to give up, and the point will be clear to us eventually.

As you read the proceeding words, keep this in mind: I mention something that’s seemingly so insignificant for a reason. A very good reason…

Here’s a hint: it is here. That hint isn’t helpful, I know. It is too ambiguous. Ambiguity leaves us feeling… uncomfortable, and we often have the urge to flee. For those who say no to this urge, however, there may be a reward.

Back to my number… that mere number… that not-so-uncommon-especially-as-of-late blood glucose reading.

Numbers in the 300s have become a common occurrence. This number in the 300s, however, was unique…. the singularity of this particular number is something that language fails to adequately grasp.

Words often fail us, and that which we’ve been struggling to express is left unsaid.

When I experience blood sugars like this I typically, out of habit, correct it.  If other people are around and they do anything annoying I’ll express my displeasure through my not-so-subtle tone of voice. Anyway… That’s beside the point.

Now, if you’ve managed to read your way through these meandering words you deserve a cookie for your patience. Patience is often a virtue. If you have given up, I’m sending you a sugar free cookie because sugar free food sucks and you’re a big meanie. :p

Back to our main point… whatever that may be.

Something stood out about this number in the 300s… this number in the 300s was different from the countless other similar one’s. This difference was there, but wasn’t fully present to me at first. All I could see were broad outlines.

By now, if you’re not exasperated and/or trying to figure out why I keep blathering on about a stupid number, you might be wonder “what made this number different?” The answer is: absolutely nothing made this number different. Yet, there was a difference.

Welcome to the land of apparently trite distinctions.

The difference was this: this number, although ordinary, had an extra-ordinary impact on me.  I experienced it as something inspiring, and not as something merely mundane.

Now “back” to a main point: the Main Point is a lie. There are many points, but no Point. The point’s are what you appropriate from my blog postYou are free.

This blog post is life.

Life is strange. As our life takes its twists and turns, we are faced with many unexpected occurrences. There are moments of bewildernment, moments of exuberance,  moments of inspiration, moments of dullness, etc. There are seemingly infinite possibilities.

What you choose to focus on, and how you choose to approach events both give your life a certain tinge and help influence the lessons we gain therefrom.

In life, what might be mundane for one person might me a source of great inspiration for another. Who are we do say for sure what is ordinary and what is extraordinary?

In our lives, the opinions of other people often act to circumscribe our interpretation of events – often times without us even noticing. In fact, the previous 3 paragraph (perhaps more), did just that.

Perhaps, in the end, that which was hidden from you in the very beginning will be unveiled.

The Law of Life

imageChange is the only constant. – Heraclitus 

Today is winter solstice. As autumn flows into winter, so does each moment flow into the next. Nothing remains the same. Change is the law of life.

Life is a flux. This is both a blessing and a curse… as are most things.

For those of us who have struggled in the past, or who are struggling now, change is a blessing. We are not enslaved to the past, or bound to the present. We are constantly marching on towards the future.

For those of us who’re thriving in the present and are unwilling to accept that things will change, this is a curse. However, for those with open minds and receptive hearts, it’s a cause for overflowing joy. The joys of the present moment fill their hearts.

One of the greatest fallacies we can make is to mistake the present for the future. Where we are now isn’t where we’ll be tomorrow.

All of these realizations have grown in me over the years. Every event in my life… every person… every book… every interest – all things I’ve encountered have left their mark.

I have changed; I am changing; I will continue to change.

My life has been a crash course in philosophy.

Since March of 1993: I have been near death, and I have been full of life; I have been frail, and I have been strong; I have been fit, and I have been out of shape; I have had beta cells, and I have lacked beta cells. The only constancy has been change.

I have come to accept uncertainty. I have come to accept the fate of all things. I am no longer afraid. In these realizations, there’s freedom… In them, there’s peace.

I am free: the present doesn’t bind me. The past’s influence isn’t set in stone – I am free.

As all things must come to an end eventually, this is where I’ll end this post.

Sculpting with a Sledgehammer

I’Ve had type 1 diabetes since 2001; however, I didn’t begin to talking about it openly until 2013. Why? Was it due to timmidity? Fear of judgement? Embarasment? No. The reasons were less obvious.

In part, it was due to a desire to pay as little attention to diabetes as possible. Talking about it felt like an unnecessary nuciance. I preferred to compartmentalize the condition – “unfortunately” for me, diabetes isn’t compartmentalizable. I was compartmentalizing the incompartmentalizable.

An even greater reason for not talking about my type 1 diabetes was this: it ain’t easy. Although I’m a talented writer and can be abnormally well spoken for somebody my age, I still struggled (and struggle) to explain.

Describing what type 1 diabetes is like to a non-diabetic can feel like trying to create a detailed sculpture with a sledgehammer. Words fail to adequately describe what it’s like for me to live with this condition. The nuances are “lost in translation.” At times, it feels like all I’ve succeeded at doing was sculpting a primitive sculpture.

I don’t blame other people for this, nor do I blame myself. Explaining the existentials of living with type 1 diabetes is inherently complicated.

There are innumerable nuances… Countless difficulties.

If I go into detail explaining it, one can easily lose sight of the big picture. Giving an explanation with too much detail seems to give a one sided impression of diabetes. Ironically, being vague often seems to give the clearest picture.

Type 1 diabetes is a mixed bag.

At the best of times, managing it is simply a matter of habit. True, some of the things you have to do aren’t pleasant. With that said, they become a normal part of your life.

On the other hand, it can often be pure hell. The highs. The lows. The fear. The pain. The burnout.