Getting diagnosed with Diabetes can be an isolating thing. It is pretty big no matter what type you are dealt. The moment that D-word gets dropped, ugly visions of life and future versions of your body come to mind. I spent a week in the hospital learning how to give myself injections, looking at menus with number of “carb choices,” and asking myself what I did wrong. Clearly, the guilt from diabetes started at day 1. I was never told in the hospital that this diagnosis is not my fault. It was not a result of eating too many cookies or too much rice, since I am Filipino. I was not told in the hospital that with a few tweaks to my lifestyle, I would be ok.
I came home after a week, and my life began, without my nurses around me to tell me what to do. It’s a scary thing. It was bad enough that I had to poke my finger to get a reading, but I found myself looking away when the meter was blinking, analyzing my little blood drop to tell me that I failed. And the guilt that came over me with each reading was heart wrenching. Every number that came up on that screen was either high or it was low and I had to drink juice-about 15 grams of Carbs worth. This is not the right condition for a perfectionist. Or is it?
The problem with being a perfectionist is that I tend to set things aside for later or procrastinate for the sake of “doing it right.” I’m here to tell you first hand that being a perfectionist is not, I repeat not compatible with having diabetes. I can do everything right and that number will still fall out of range and it drove me nuts. Living life this way was not be fun at all and I really could not afford to procrastinate in diabetes management.
Besides the physical implications to staying high and low, I’ve gotten cranky at the people around me when that number is low or high. As someone’s mom/wife/daughter/friend, I can’t to that to my friends and family. And so over time, from meeting others like me (online or in person) I’ve learned that the number on that meter is just a number of reference. From there, I have to react accordingly, immediately. That mindset has since turned into a habit. I still have my bad days where that number on the meter just stays high for hours or I’ve eaten the whole kitchen and that number lingers at 65. Those days I try to grin and bear it and when I’ve reached my limit, I text someone who just gets it-btw, thank you to those I’ve texted to keep me sane.
As for positive phrases or mantras, the name of my blog was coined by extremely creative friends who know me well. ‘Cut the BS’ became my go to phrase when readings were high or those times that I made excuses for my lack of diabetes management. It encouraged me to be better than the situation I found myself in. The phrase is short, simple, and it helps hold me accountable to myself, my family, my friends, and the diabetes online community.
Cut the BS…I mean Blood Sugar!
We think a lot about the physical component of diabetes, but the mental component is just as significant. How does diabetes affect you or your loved one mentally or emotionally? How have you learned to deal with the mental aspect of the condition? Any tips, positive phrases, mantras, or ideas to share on getting out of a diabetes funk? (If you are a caregiver to a person with diabetes, write about yourself or your loved one or both!)