Tag Archives: Diabetes and your mind

Wednesday 2015 Diabetes Blog Week What I Need to Clean Out

Click for the Clean it Out – Wednesday 5/13 Link List.
Yesterday we kept stuff in, so today let’s clear stuff out.  What is in your diabetic closet that needs to be cleaned out?  This can be an actual physical belonging, or it can be something you’re mentally or emotionally hanging on to.  Why are you keeping it and why do you need to get rid of it?  (Thank you Rick of RA Diabetes for this topic suggestion.)

 

I am a sentimental fool.  Let me tell you about the lancet device I use.  Well, first let me explain that last year I was using a multi clix device and I really loved it (ooh and I know I want to try the fast clix!)  But then my dog chewed it up and I went back to my original 1994 (don’t know what brand, it has long rubbed off) lancet device.  It’s the one I’ve mostly used throughout the years.  I’ve tried new ones, agreed the new ones are better, and then my weirdo self went back to the original.

Why?  I think using this clunky, loud, and more painful device makes me feel like I haven’t had diabetes for 20 years.  There is a sense that 20 years hasn’t actually gone by.  It makes me feel younger because I was 11 when I started using it.  It makes me feel like there is some consistency to my diabetes even though I’ve been on a roller coaster in terms of how I manage my diabetes and even though my body has certainly been affected by diabetes.  People who are now long gone have laid eyes on this device, probably somewhat associating it with me.  The sound is familiar-it makes a horribly loud and clunky (not clicky) noise.  I’m appreciative of how this device hasn’t broken in 20 years despite all the times I’ve dropped it.  See?  I’ve got my silly reasons.

I’m hoping to tear away again and use a highly superior lancet device.  In the meantime I will stick with this one out of some strange sense of comfort and practicality  (because I rarely change the needle, I still have plenty of them for this device).  I just need to let go.  Accept some final things.  Like, that I’ve had diabetes a hella long time.  And that’s ok.  Because I’m ok.

Monday 2015 Diabetes Blog Week Post I CAN

Click for the I Can – Monday 5/11 Link List.
In the UK, there was a diabetes blog theme of “I can…”  that participants found wonderfully empowering.  So lets kick things off this year by looking at the positive side of our lives with diabetes.  What have you or your loved one accomplished, despite having diabetes, that you weren’t sure you could?  Or what have you done that you’ve been particularly proud of?  Or what good thing has diabetes brought into your life?  (Thank you to the anonymous person who submitted this topic suggestion.)

 

Happy to be back after two years…

 

When I was 10 years old, I felt a very strong sensation bubbling up inside of me that I can now identify as drive and motivation.  For what?  I wasn’t sure.  I just felt a seriously strong longing to do something important, something that would help people.  This intensified when my sister was diagnosed with type 1 that year.  The most memorable dream of my entire life was right after her diagnosis.  I wrote it down.  Basically I was in the Amazon rain forest, just south of where I was born, looking for a cure for cancer (interesting that cancer be the disease I was curing in my dream-I think this had to do with all the talk of curing cancer from some unknown plant in the jungle at that time).  Anyway, my memory of this dream is freakishly long and detailed.  When I woke up I thought it was a sign I was going to at least work in some way or other to help others.

Then I was diagnosed with type 1 (the same year).  I felt ok for the first 6 months.  I was driven to succeed.  Then reality set it.  Diabetes was a bitch.  And I was stuck with it until someone lived my dream (in my child’s mind) and cured it?  Oh no no no this was not ok.  I got negative about it pretty quickly.  I felt my personality changing.  With every passing year I was further and further from myself.  I couldn’t help anyone-I couldn’t help me.

In my early 20’s, after depressing times due to friends dying and other losses and major fear over my physical and mental health, I began to turn around.  I tried to come back to myself.  That really was the way I thought of it.  I would remember how I was a positive kid, with a ton of spirit and wonder, and with a yearning to act on the compassion I felt for others.

So to wrap this up what I’m saying is that I can be ME despite my diabetes and because my journey has been as I described, that feels rather victorious.  I know diabetes can pull us away from all the good parts of ourselves with constant stress and suffering.  This is something I will constantly continue to struggle with.  But, I feel very much myself these days and for that I’m quite grateful.

Whatever You Think About You Attract

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I’ve written along this subject line before but wanted to do it again because it’s so powerful.  So again, “whatever you think about you attract”.  Does that make sense?  Math is a weakness of mine and so I can fully respect that for some people abstract thinking is not a strong point.  To understand that statement, one needs to think a little deeply for a moment.  This has nothing to do with intelligence because we all have preferences in the way we think about things.

I just wanted to make sure I didn’t poke or sting anyone’s feelings.

Now, let’s get into the meaning of this statement, for those who are interested.  Basically, our thoughts are powerful.  They influence our feelings.  We act very heavily upon our feelings and so our thoughts influence our actions.

Let’s say someone is having some cash flow issues and they hear that “whatever you think about you attract” bit.  They might spend much of the day thinking about how they don’t want to be broke or how they don’t want to have a money problem anymore.  Interestingly though, because these thoughts imply the mind is focusing on being broke and that there IS a money problem, one’s feelings can’t help but be affected negatively because the focus is still ON the problem.  And our feelings are so majorly influential that we will struggle to withhold our negative feelings from leading to negative actions.  For example, how many of us have quit a workout or diet goal because something in our life made us upset and we justified quitting because of said upsetting thing?  It happens all the time.

Feelings are important.  That’s why it’s recommended that people learn to manage stress.  Being emotionally upset messes up the equilibrium in the body.  It shoves you right out of your groove.

So what should a broke person do?  First of all, logic is not thrown out the window.  A person should absolutely make good decisions about how they are spending their money if their money is tight.  Now that’s out of the way, this person could keep positive thoughts in his head and think about what he does have.  Focusing on being grateful for the things he does have will give his body some positive feelings which will combat any negative ones and help support this person to have the strength required for the right decisions.  Relentlessly making the right decisions carries a person to their goal much faster than if they are so weighed down by being upset and depressed that half of their decisions do not lead to their ultimate goal.  Something is always going well in our lives, so that needs to be drawn out and made a top thought priority.

If you struggle thinking of something that’s going well, pick a body part of yours that works and be thankful it’s there and serving you.  Imagine what you’d do without it.  Yikes, right?

So there.  “Whatever you think about you attract” isn’t magic, it’s real.  It’s much like karma, which is also not magic.  People all over the world find their own way to describe things that don’t have a name and so the “law of attraction” and “karma” are just that.

I encourage you to try this in your life in some way or other.  Try it with your self esteem, your diabetes, your financial situation, your relationships, etc.  Just try it.

It’s completely changed my life for the better.  I mean it.  And I want awesome things for all of you.  You deserve it.  If you want some support with this and other health issues consider checking out my website, sysymorales.com.

Do share your thoughts in the comments!  I really appreciate the feedback.

One For Every Year

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My most memorable thoughts about diabetes for each year with diabetes, starting with the first year as an 11 year old:

1994  “I can do this.  No, I won’t go to diabetes camp, I’m just like everyone else, I’ll go to regular camp.”  “Ok, regular camp was fun but I thought I was going to die”.

1995  “Alright, I don’t like this at all.  I’m not sure I can do this.”

1996  “I can’t do this!  But I don’t want anyone to know…”  “I just want to be normal”.

1997  “Recovering from a gum grafting surgery.  So this is what happens when I try to be normal.  Not fair.”

1998  “I wonder what boys think about my diabetes?”

1999  “I hate diabetes.”

2000  “Feeling out of control.  Help!”

2001  “The way things are going, I might as well give up.”

2002  “I can’t do college while panicking like this.  I can’t even pick up a pencil.”

2003  “Can I turn my life around?  Is it possible?  I can’t live like this anymore.”

2004  “Ooooh…alcohol…what a nice way to forget my problems!”

2005  “Alcohol is useless.  Trying to do better.  Trying to do better.  Trying to do better.”

2006  “Eat this not that.  Do this not that.  Change is hard.  Super hard.”

2007  “Wow, I’m doing better…Just keep going.”

2008  “A1c is down.  Weight is down.  I can run a 5k every day.  Getting married this year.  Happiness is totally up.  I can’t believe this is my life now.”

2009  “TWINS!  Must. Have. Sleep.”

2010 “We’re not poor, we’re just struggling. (Can I borrow a $5 for groceries?)”

2011 “Hello DOC!”

2012  “I can do this!  Wait a minute…I am doing this.”

Life ebbs and flows.  When you’re on the up, enjoy it and take steps to safeguard your future.  When you’re down, know that you will be back up again.  Just don’t give up hope.  Giving up hope prolongs the process between going from down to up and we don’t want that.  Don’t give up hope.

What You Have No One Can Take Away

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What you have, no one can take away.  What you have is ownership over all of your decisions.

You choose what to eat.  Are you on a tight budget?  You can still eat healthy.  This will probably take sacrifice and creativity on your part.  But it’s still your decision.

You choose how to take care of your diabetes.  You struggle with it?  Everyone who has diabetes struggles with it.  It’s the name of the game.  But you can struggle against or with the wind.  I suggest riding every breeze or gust that comes your way.  An opportunity to take a walk?  Take it.  A choice between a healthy meal and a pastry?  You know what to do.

You choose your attitude.  Your family sucks?  According to psychologists, most families are dysfunctional.  You hate your job?  Find a way out even if it takes years.  Know that you have more power than you think.  Choose positivity, potential, and carefully plan your way to where you want to go.  In 5 years, if you’ve done nothing but complain, you’ll wish you had just set sail on that long term plan you had because now you’ll find that you’re stuck, miserable, full of regret, and…older.

You choose if you exercise each day or not.  You’re busy and can’t afford a gym membership?  Then watch your must see TV while doing squats and push ups.  Get a yoga DVD, figure something out.

You aren’t motivated?  Get to the bottom of that.  It’s normal not to feel motivated but it’s a major setback.  Talk to a friend, seek help, write in a journal-just figure out a path to motivation.  Even if that path is 100 miles long, it’s better than never starting the journey.

Decide today that you have infinite possibility and potential and power within you.  Decide that no one can take any of that away.  They can challenge you, throw hurdles, cause you major reroutes but ultimately they cannot stop you (they’re too busy on their own sorry path).  Two steps forward and one step back is still progress.

And it’s your choice all the way.  Just make it and don’t look back.

Tough love for all of us…including myself.

XOXO

Say it Loud

Larger Than Life by Ana Morales

“Who you are speaks so loudly I can’t hear what you’re saying”

~Ralph Waldo Emerson

I have been reflecting on the above quote for sometime.

It’s quite a powerful message in a very short sentence.  I think that in one way or another, most of us do something that is different from what we say-obviously because we’re human.  For example, I have a friend who says she lacks confidence.  I don’t think it matters because every time I see her she is standing up straight, looking people in the eye, speaking her mind, and living in a way I’d describe as “confidently”.  In this case, I don’t hear what she says because I see her actions and they override her words.  I believe she feels a lack of confidence-I don’t mean to say she is lying.  I just think that she does a great job of putting her feelings of doubt to the side and tries to live as a confident person, even though she sometimes doesn’t feel that way.  So her actions win.

Whereas someone who says they have confidence and then don’t make eye contact, seem to hide when people are around, and don’t stand up for themselves are also speaking most loudly with their actions.

Anyway, this quote has been making me think about all that I say.  Let’s face it, because I write a post on here, 5 days a week, I’m saying a lot!  But am I doing it?  Am I living it?  I’ve been checking myself lately to ensure that there is a consistent line between what I say and do.  It’s not easy because we all have great intentions-that’s for sure.  But how well are we carrying those out?

I think it’s great to take time out of each day and reflect, just for a minute or two on the message in this quote.  It’s a wonderful way to maintain a realistic perspective on our progress with our goals.  When I catch myself not making a straight line between what I say and do, I am forced to refocus and try again.

We’re not perfect, we’re a work in progress and as long as we are, we can always say we are.

Wednesday Revisit: The Biggest Threat to your Diabetes Control

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This post outlines the toughest thing I’ve ever dealt with aside from the diabetes itself.  I know I’m not alone and I am happy to report I’ve discovered that it’s possible to treat this and feel better.  I’m talking about depression and I’m sure I’m not alone in my experience…

Originally posted on October 12, 2009

The Biggest Threat to your Diabetes Control

Are We Choosing to Be Insulted?

Don’t be a squashed tomato, courtesy of Boaz Yiftach

 

When someone assumes something inaccurate about our diabetes, why are we often insulted? Does their ignorance lash out on us or is there something else causing most of the pain?

I believe we choose to be insulted. I’ve done it a thousand times and have eventually recognized the pain always comes from a place of insecurity, shame, guilt, or anger inside of me. I’ve always struggled at not taking things too personally and being too sensitive. I can’t control being sensitive but I’m slowly learning that I can control how I react to things. While I’ve been plenty insulted over all sorts of things, I haven’t really been insulted much about my diabetes. For example, when people have come up to me and said, ‘Maybe if you quit sugar, you’ll be cured?’ I am for some reason not the least bit insulted. I assume their level of ignorance on diabetes by this type of comment and depending on my given state at the time, I may be frustrated with their ignorance. I am never insulted though. I mean, we’re all ignorant when it comes to something. When we wrong someone else without meaning to, do we want them to be insulted? I prefer to be kindly corrected and avoid the attitude or anger that a person might lash out at my mistake.

Anytime someone insults us, we should recognize that we don’t have to feel insulted if we choose not to. It’s hard, obviously, but it’s the empowered thing to do. And we’re empowered people, aren’t we? When someone insults us, we are reacting to what they did or said or think of us. Our reaction is what causes our being insulted. So if we have enough confidence in ourselves and in what we’re doing and thinking, we can just react with indifference or with care and concern for a negative or ignorant person. If we don’t have confidence in what we do or think, maybe we should spend time reflecting on whether what we do and think is right in the first place.

The DOC is fabulous but would be even more so if we could all find our place of confidence and stand strongly with that. We may have diabetes but, we’re not victims.

The “You Can Do This” Project

 

Sometimes all we need to get through another day with diabetes is the knowledge that it’s possible to do so and that we’re not alone in our struggle.  Kim at Texting My Pancreas started a wonderful initiative called The “You Can Do This” Project.  Here are the details in case you’d like to participate.  If you don’t have a blog, feel free to have The Girl’s Guide to Diabetes put up your written post or video if you just want to get it out there.  The more participants, the more hope and empowerment we send out to others :)

Here is my video blog for this project:

The Importance of the Right Road Map

Photo courtesy of Luigi Diamanti

Photo courtesy of Luigi Diamanti

 

Someone asked me what the difference was between my “achieving” an A1c around 5% versus my past A1c’s much higher than that.  They wanted to know the secret to going from a high A1c to a lower A1c.

Well, interestingly enough, I want to first say that there is no more sacrifice involved.  I work just as hard as before.  I also feel a lot of frustration and anxiety just as I did when my diabetes management was less than ideal.

So how did I change the number?  Well, you can read a lot about it all over this site but essentially what happened was I got a new road map. 

I informed myself about the glycemic index and the dangers of processed foods.  So then instead of cereal with milk for breakfast, I started the day with an egg and a slice of whole grain bread. 

I learned about the power of positive thinking (as dorky as that line sounds) and instead of thinking that I was a failure, I began saying to myself that I was a making great progress. 

I realized that people all over the world walk miles to and from school and work and so instead of thinking that a one mile walk was a great workout, I started believing that 3 miles was great and doable. 

I learned what a healthy BMI was and that my bone structure or frame is considered to be very petite.  When at 165 pounds my doctor told me I didn’t need to lose weight, I decided he was wrong and did all of the above. 

Some nice things happened along the way.  My insulin resistance lowered dramatically.  This made blood sugar management much easier because I needed less insulin.  My meals became easier to bolus for.  My body responded nicely to the 3 mile a day walks which turned into runs.  My confidence grew slowly but surely.  After a short while I was keeping an A1c in the 6% range, which I was really happy with.  I lost weight and got my body fat under 25% where it needed to be.  These mini successes made it really hard to go back to old ways.

So yes, there are concrete things I did to change a lot of outcomes but as you can see my road map, or set of beliefs were what really made the difference.  Back when I had a 10% A1c, I tried super hard.  I did the best I could to give the right amount of insulin for my pasta and chocolate milk.  I tried really hard to exercise through a 300 blood sugar average.  I relentlessly scolded myself about doing better. 

See, that’s just it.  Effort can be misplaced.  What good is it to try hard, commit, allot time, and persevere if you believe that you’re a terrible diabetic, that doing groceries is a major workout, and that you can settle at 35% body fat and be really healthy?

Having the right road map isn’t going to magically solve your problems.  It will however, make it possible for you to reach your destination.  And what we all deserve is that opportunity.  We are strong, smart, and capable enough to do the rest.

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