Ginger Vieira has lived with Type 1 diabetes and Celiac disease for 12 years. She is a cognitive health coach, writer, and personal trainer and advocate in the diabetes online community. The original source of this post is from www.Living-in-Progress.com.
About three years ago, I decided that I deserve to be healthy. I deserve to eat well. I deserve to exercise daily. I deserve to check my blood sugar often, count my carbohydrates, and control my blood sugar as well as I can. Not because someone told me I should, but because I decided that I deserve to be healthy.
I also deserve to have weaknesses. Emotions! Hey, I even deserve to have "bad days" and get upset or hurt or sad. Angry, frustrated, and overwhelmed. Instead of allowing myself to feel those things and be those things, though, I could deny them. Hide them. Suffocate them, and ignore them. But would they go away? My emotions don't just disappear into the clouds, they come back to express themselves in a variety of ways, and one of the most common ways is that we literally take those emotions out on ourselves.
It's a funny idea that we might actually hold ourselves back from being healthy on purpose. Or that we might actually hurt ourselves on purpose...but it happens. We all have self-destructive habits. Sometimes it's a well developed and obvious like an addiction to alcohol, cigarettes or drugs. But there are other self-destructive habits that hide in closed doors, that are much harder to see, and much easier to ignore.
Living with diabetes comes with so many heavy burdens and responsibilities, and so many heavy emotions. Finding a healthy way to acknowledge and express the daily variety of emotions that comes with living with diabetes isn't easy.
Let's just be blunt about it.
Are you pissed off? Are you furious? Are you angry?
Why? At who? What for?
Every answer you have counts. It matters. Everything you're angry about is justified. It's okay to be furious, depressed, sad, hurt, completely and totally heartbroken.
But what are you going to do about it?
I could spend the rest of my life hating diabetes. Absolutely. That's my choice. But I know, for me, that hating diabetes will weigh me down. It will be exhausting. It will take the fun out of everything else I love doing in life. It will limit my ability to succeed in powerlifting, to teach yoga, to be a role model for my clients in living healthfully. To have fun with my friends and my family.
I can hate diabetes all I want. I can show how much I hate diabetes by skipping insulin. By eating piles of junk food every day. I can stuff my face with candy and doughnuts until I'm nauseous and who cares if my blood sugar is 500 mg/dL later that night! I have diabetes, that's life.
To show the world just how pissed off I am, I make it all worse. I let the disease take over my whole body. My whole life.
"See! You can't force me to manage this stupid disease! You can't make me do anything! I do what I want! And this isn't fair!"
If I want to, I can hate diabetes. I can feel sorry for myself. Neglect it. Deny it. Ignore it. And feel pretty damn sick on a regular basis. So sick that I don't even notice I'm sick anymore. This is how I always feel. This is normal.
"Living with this ridiculous disease and having to manage it day in and day out without a single day off isn't fair! Not one! Not a single day off! And no one is paying me for this full-time job. No way. I work my butt off 24/7 and there is no paycheck."
But I found another way to show this disease how ridiculous it is. I beat it. I show up. I take care of it. I tell myself, "This is what you have to do." And I don't do it for the doctors.
I do it for me.
I manage my diabetes because I decided that I deserve to be healthy.
I deserve good things.
Yes, it's challenging. Yes, it never takes a day off. But I can do it. I'd rather follow the rules and do what I have to so I can pursue the rest of my life, instead of fighting and fighting and fighting in a battle I will never win.
In my opinion, this way, I "win" at diabetes every day. I check my blood sugar. I take my insulin. I count my carbohydrates. And I do the best damn job I can do. This ridiculous disease has never held me back. And it never will.
For more Video Blogs on living with diabetes, visit www.YouTube.com/user/GingerVieira