Tag Archives: diabetes and self esteem

Upcoming Diabetes News

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I’ve been so busy lately training for peer mentoring and public speaking, nutrition studies, and listening to my kids finally talk (yayyy!!!)  But there are some awesome diabetes and health related things going on that I really want to report.

Thankfully, my friend Stacey wrote a post encompassing all this news so please, please, go here and check out all the great initiatives going on!

And since today is Fabulous Friday and we focus on self-love, I just want to leave you with this quote:

“Wouldn’t it be powerful if you fell in love with yourself so deeply that you would do just about anything if you knew it would make you happy? This is precisely how much life loves you and wants you to nurture yourself. The deeper you love yourself, the more the universe will affirm your worth. Then you can enjoy a lifelong love affair that brings you the richest fulfillment from inside out.”

~Alan Cohen

Tripping

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You know how you can have a spring in your step because you like your hair and outfit and then suddenly, you figuratively trip on your blood sugars and your awesomeness is sucked out of you?

Man, I hate when that happens.

But try to go with the flow.  Once your blood sugar is back up or down, whatever the case may be, forget it was ever out of range to begin with.

There is no need to feel like diabetes is a shameful or embarrassing thing to carry around.  Sure, we can seem drunk during a low and highs make us appear like walking to the kitchen is a marathon, but there is a lot more dignity in self respect than in self loathing.  Get your sugars back up or down and carry on.

Hold your head up high, it’s ok, I promise.

Self Esteem Tips

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It’s “Fabulous Friday” again and I’m working hard to focus these days on self love and respect.  Cheesy?  Maybe…but it’s an effective way to get a grip on the emotional problems we have.  And since those of us with health issues like diabetes have plenty of emotional stressors to deal with, working towards self love is very worthwhile.

A crucial element of self love is a strong self esteem.  None of us love ourselves all of the time but some of us rarely love ourselves.  Either way most of us could use some reminders on how to strengthen our self esteem:

– Live with integrity

Work towards being honest, just, respectful, understanding, patient, and compassionate.

-Don’t be a pushover

Always stand up for yourself when you need to.  You are not below anyone and your needs are important.

-Try to think positive more than negative

This will become more of a habit with time and practice and will greatly support your mental and emotional health.

-Set your bar high

Don’t expect too little from yourself, you are fantastic and capable and amazing!

-Be responsible for your thoughts, feelings, and actions

By owning what comes out of you, you will become empowered with awareness and this will help you live a life within your standards and values.

-Build your life around your personal values

Try to work where you feel you’re not compromising your values.  Be in relationships that don’t pressure you to compromise your values.

-Belong to a community that is supportive of your goals for yourself

Like the DOC!

-Keep in touch with what you need and try to get it

Do you need to lose weight?  Start with a plan and steps you will take to get there and take it slow.  Do you need more emotional support from your spouse?  Sit down with them and calmly explain what you would like from them.  Do you feel like your diabetes is out of control?  Ask for help.  It’s ok to feel this way only you don’t want to feel this way for very long.  Fight to get what you deserve, like good health.

-Surround yourself with family that supports you whether they are blood related or not

Let’s face it, sometimes the family we were born into is not the family that we would have chosen.  While it’s important to give of yourself and help others, it’s also important to spend time with people with whom you feel safe and accepted.

-Lastly, forgive yourself.

You are human and will make many, many mistakes before your time on earth has ended.  When you forgive yourself you’re not letting yourself off the hook, you’re just acknowledging that you are worthy of love and compassion.  When we forgive ourselves we find it much easier to start the next day with a clean slate.

 

XOXO

Have a great weekend!

How Diabetes Affects the Way I Look

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I think I’m an appropriate person to write this post because I’ve always been a little too vain.  I blame that on the fact that as a child when people asked me where I was born and I said “Venezuela” they’d be like, “Oh so you’re supposed to be pretty, right?  Because that’s where all the Miss Universe winners are from.”  And thus began my preoccupation with getting my hair right and freaking out over a few extra pounds so as not to disappoint the general public.  It didn’t help that when I gained five pounds as a teenager, non immediate family from Venezuela was like, “wow, you’re fat!”  Our curvy is their fat, go figure.  Don’t forget, they do call the Brazilian Victoria’s Secret models “curvy”.  Curvy my…

Anyway here goes my list of things that I think can at least be partly attributed to my having type 1 diabetes and having struggled with it.  If I’m being honest and I am:

I’ve got very dry skin.  So dry in fact, that I need lots and lots of lotion and my skin just sort of soaks it up like a lizard.  I soak up Eucerin and Aquaphor for crying out loud.  Oh and high quality lotion is not cheap, mind you.

I have a few extra pounds thanks to insulin which is rather difficult to manage perfectly and thus I use more than a person who doesn’t have to use this type of therapy and it causes a little extra weight gain.  This means I have to be very meticulous in carb counting and I have to exercise a little more than someone else.  It’s a bummer, a real bummer.

I have scars that probably would be invisible had there never been any diabetes.  Of course, it’s true that diabetes that is well controlled doesn’t cause anything, but most of us, at some point, go through a challenging time of not-so-well-managed diabetes and it does cause some things.  I have been fairly active during my life with diabetes and as a result have a good number of ugly scars.  I do like one of them though because it reminds me of a glorious moment during a soccer match.  But there are others like his one on my knee that happened in front of teammates when I ran into a chain I didn’t see in the dark which swung me to the ground causing me to scrape my knee-and confidence on a sharp rock.

My hair is thinner and maybe this has nothing to do with diabetes but I lost a lot during the years of high A1c’s and now that my A1c’s are no longer high, I don’t lose more than the normal amount.  So either it’s a coincidence or it was the diabetes and the not so well managed time I had with it.  I remain suspicious.

I have a lot of broken capillaries but I don’t know if this is diabetes related or not.  However, I’m well aware that diabetes affects the micro vascular and therefore…doesn’t this implicate the capillaries?  This one really bothers me.  My type 1 sister Ana has nothing of the sort and the most beautiful skin and we’ve had type 1 the same number of years so I’ll blame those bad years I had with diabetes and my genes on this one.

Diabetes doesn’t have to affect the way a person looks but, I’ve found that it usually does to some extent.  Dry mouth, chapped lips, fatigue induced slump, the possibilities are endless and can challenge our dignity as fabulous people.  Sometimes when nothing else motivates me to take care of my blood sugars I find I can rely on a persistent nagging vanity.  Hey, I’m only human.

It seems a bit like pouring salt on a wound to talk about this out loud but you know what?  It’s kind of liberating!  And you know that I do this with humor and jest, no?  I find that poking fun at myself makes me relax and not take myself so darn seriously.  Anyway now that I got that out of the way I can think about all the great things I’ve been blessed with.  Like strong legs and freckles and golden brown eyes.

Ultimately, this is my point of all this.  You make sure to do the same next time you’re seeing all the negative.  I know.  It happens.  And it’s ok.  Just move on to the good stuff.

Have a fabulous weekend!

Life Gets in the Way

This would stop me but maybe not you.   Photo courtesy of Tom Curtis.

This would stop me but maybe not you. Photo courtesy of Tom Curtis.

 

Something I’ve always struggled to understand is how some people manage to be so productive.  Life gets in everyone’s way so how do some people charge through that better than others? 

I made really good grades in school up until my last two years of High School when I struggled more with my diabetes or perhaps with myself.  Then I barely made it!  I graduated because my kind Advanced Government teacher gave me a test with one question on the last day of school that went like this, “How does one be a good citizen?”  I answered it on a blank sheet of paper laid up against the wall of the school office and I scribbled my long answer with a dying pen while standing, propping one foot up on a stool.  She looked at me with genuine concern and said, “You’re a smart girl, you just need a break and some time to figure out what you want.”  Wow she was psychic!  Anyway, she knew I wouldn’t have a hard time answering the question on my “test” which I “aced” and she pretty much swooped me up and carried me to my graduation with her charity.  I felt that I could have made straight A’s if I wasn’t so depressed about my diabetes.  I love learning, dang it!  I wondered for a long time.  What went wrong?  I did other things despite diabetes, why couldn’t I just do my homework?  Well, I guess life just got in the way.

About 8 years later my type 1 diabetic sister, Ana, graduated High School a valedictorian leaving me absolutely dumbfounded.  How did she do it?  I mean, I felt it was impossible at the time and I thought it had to do with my diabetes, so how did she do it and make it look so easy?  Part of me was worried people would compare she and I and then look at me as if to say, “So the diabetes ISN’T an excuse, eh?”

Years later I began to realize that life gets in everyone’s way only this manifests itself differently for everyone.  Some people struggle with their weight, others struggle with grades, some can’t keep their house clean, others are crabby people, some abuse alcohol, etc, etc. 

What I’ve come to learn about my own diabetes is that it doesn’t prevent me from doing things.  It simply aggravates any task I want to accomplish.  Depending on how motivated I am to complete that task, I either push through despite my diabetes or I don’t. 

When I look back and try to imagine my life without diabetes, I feel like I would have had many of the same struggles.  Because fundamentally I’m the same person.  I would have still been messy, complicated, sensitive, and into learning about health.  When my sister was diagnosed with diabetes before me, I read for hours in the library about diabetes and found it was easy.  And at that time you couldn’t get me to read a book about math or history if you paid me to do it.

It helps me psychologically speaking, to remember that the hardship I endure is largely life getting in the way, or something rather natural.  Because if some diabetics are doing marathons, flying planes, bravely studying their passion of studio art in college, and getting doctorates, this means diabetes doesn’t stop us from anything.  I think diabetes helps blur the line for us.  The line between what we don’t really want to do and what we think diabetes isn’t allowing us to do.  In other words, diabetes may just be the greatest excuse of our lives.

This was hard for me to deal with at first but now it’s liberating.  I didn’t want to just take responsibility for my own downfalls.  Now I can think, “Oh thank goodness, so I was depressed and completely unmotivated for school during the last two years of High School.  It wasn’t my diabetes.”  Well…not 100% anyway.  Now I just think “life gets in the way” because we’re all meant to fine tune our interests and desires until we get where we’re supposed to be.  The path of uncertainty surely doesn’t make this easy and yes, diabetes adds a major dramatic flair and struggle to one’s story. 

But, isn’t it comforting to know that having diabetes doesn’t dictate whether we’re straight A students or not?

Diabetes Body Issues

 

It’s clear that diabetes easily harbors an environment of self-destruction.  So many of us deal with food issues, weight issues, discipline issues, can’t-remember-to-test-no-matter-what-I-do issues and serious depression issues.

My biggest problem, the one causing the most woe anyway, has been my constant negative body image.  Before being a diabetic I was thin and healthy, active and smart.  I remember getting compliments all the time.  So what?  Despite this I felt sick to my stomach when I looked in the mirror.  So when I did get diabetes my already budding self image problem just snowballed.  For the record, I think this tendency stems from my perfectionistic nature which is good for some things and often terrible for other things-like general happiness and satisfaction.

As a teenager, I was very aware that I gained weight because the R and NPH insulin mix I was prescribed forced me to eat 3 meals and 3 snacks a day.  It was too much food.  In fact, I rarely snacked before becoming diabetic.  Those years of frustration turned into a decade of what I might look back on as the time I heavily struggled with an eating disorder.  I didn’t skip meals or insulin, nor did I ever throw up.  But, I thought about food all day and how much I absolutely hated it and when I ate, I didn’t enjoy a single bite.  I would wish we didn’t have to eat to live.  For a diabetic, having to eat really complicates things.  

So when I lost a lot of weight, many years later, I felt I could try loving myself again.  I don’t know why it’s such a big deal for me.  I would say it’s definitely a problem I have.  Because I would never say to anyone else that this thinking or behavior is healthy and normal you know?  (Although it seems relatively common)  Frankly, I don’t think it’s helped me that I’m from Venezuela, the land of Miss Universe winners.  “You’re from Venezuela?!  Wow, all the women in your family must be really attractive!”  And of course, they are.  So sure, no pressure… 

I’m still adamant about losing weight.  The last time I lost a significant amount of weight (35 pounds) my feet and knees felt relieved and I could use some more alleviation.  I also want to fit into the clothes I have instead of buy new clothes.  I put up a goal for myself to lose 20 pounds starting this past August.  Since then I’ve gained 5 pounds.  Yes, those pounds have been muscle-which is great, but now I really can’t fit into my clothes! 

So I’m still going for 20 pounds lost.  For my feet, my knees, to lower my insulin resistance, and doggone it-to fit into my stashes of smaller sized clothes.  I know I’ll do it soon.  I just hope I can feel satisfied with my efforts and myself in general, no matter what I weigh.  I don’t want to hit 115 pounds and still feel lousy.

Sighh…am I the only one?  Any tips?

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