Baring My Soul

Over this past month I have had four instances where people (diabetic and non-diabetic) have made comments to the tune of: "It's not that hard.", "I'd make a good diabetic, I already eat like one should.", "It's easy for me.". Although these comments weren't meant to be hurtful or degrading, or even aimed specifically at me, I took them as if they were.

For the first time in nearly a year I find myself wanting to crawl under the covers and cry myself to sleep and never come out.

Is it really easy for other diabetics? Am I just a terrible failure?

Of course I know it's not easy for most diabetics. It never has been for me, and I have spoken with countless other diabetics who struggle just as much as I do.

For me personally, I struggle because diabetes requires certain qualities that I just wasn't born with, nor have I ever been able to cultivate them within myself. Self-discipline, will power, a militaristic mentality.

I was born as what you might call a free spirit, a rebel... everything a diabetic shouldn't be.

Diabetes comes with a lot of "rules", and demands routine, ritual, sacrifice, restraint. All of these things go against my core. You give me rules, you demand things of me, and my first and most powerful instinct is to resist, to fight. You tell me no, you tell me I must stay away from something, I just become more determined to have it. You give me things I must do, and a schedule to do them on...I will die of monotony, it will drive me insane and make me feel trapped like a wild animal.

My thinking is that those diabetics that say it isn't that difficult, that they find it pretty easy to stay "controlled", they are the people born and raised with the qualities needed to succeed at diabetes care.

And those of us who struggle everyday, we are the ones born lacking those qualities.

I have spent everyday fighting. Fighting the system, fighting diabetes, and most of all, fighting myself.

I am the most self-destructive person I know.

I have tried, am still trying, to change my core, to alter my own psychology. I have tried to build self-discipline, will power. I have tried to live to the rules and schedule a diabetic should follow.

It is exhausting to live against your nature. It wears you down, it makes you feel alien.

I just feel....wrong.

I must do it, though. If I don't I will die. I'm already half-dead.

Honestly, I have spent a lot of time thinking about death. I have considered my options:

1. Change who I am and live healthy and to old age.

2. Continue being myself and die slowly, one piece at a time, and in a ton of pain.

3. End my existence...

It's not difficult to follow the "rules" of diabetes. What's difficult is the constant battle against yourself. Fighting the temptation, fighting the urges, the constant self restraint, self sacrifice, the constant feelings of failure...

I'm tired. I'm exhausted. I want to be me!

It's times like this that I realize how very much I hate myself. Why can't I do things right? Why was I born so unequipped for this disease? Why must I always choose to do what's worst for me?

Why can't I take my bullheadedness and rebellious nature and use them to be a good diabetic? Why must I always have the urge to hurt myself instead of help myself?

It's like having a weapon and either choosing to fight the enemy or kill yourself.

"Oh, oh, oh! I choose 'kill yourself!'" How dumb is that?

I'm already committing suicide. I've been doing it since my diagnosis. A very, very slow suicide.

Tamra, you’re right… managing diabetes requires self-discipline, will power, and a militaristic mentality. It also requires you to be a rebel and a free spirit. People with diabetes are a pretty diverse group. The only requirement is that you stay alive.

I’ve been there. It’s not easy. And no one gets it right without a lot of practice. And even then, not every day or every year is great. So just do what you need to do to make it work for you. I promise, you’re worth it. Hope it gets better for you very soon.

Tamra, being a fighter and a rebel are great qualities and will be useful in dealing with Diabetes over the long haul. (#3 is not an option.) Happy 2015!

You are what you say you aren't. Every day that you fight the battle of D, you prove that you do have those qualities. Each day is a fight, but the best part is that every day brings a new beginning. Hang in there.

Tamra! Dark nights come and go. We must let them go, just as we must let go of the good times and not linger too long in any moment that has passed. Each moment you are alive can be cherished. I once attempted to take mine, including a couple of days in the ICU. For some years before that I had vowed to cherish ALL life, and for some reason, in that moment, it did not include my own. Now, it does. I have found that staying curious and interested about everything is an adventure! You ARE so worth living out your life, however you show up in it :) What you are experiencing is what I call "dark seduction". We start believing everything we think...the mind does quiet work that sometimes gives us wonderful just keep letting those thoughts pass through and day a way to live happily with who you are will emerge. Big hugs from someone who has "been there, done that".

Tamra, your comments are immensely helpful to me in understanding my own struggles. I have little self-discipline to do what is best for myself, though I want to, in theory! It is actually discouraging to me to read so many posts from adults who seem to survive happily on child portions of very healthy food and who exercise daily. And who consider 5u a large bolus! I do think we are born with certain built-in aversions and I am not sure how to change them.
I can't do low carb/hi protein/fat because I don't like that much meat. Yuck! And to do a higher protein vegetarian, for example, I would have to cook!! Which I just have never done. I don't know how people drink Almond milk (I just tried the Almond/Coconut and threw out half of it.) I don't know how people eat tofu and all the other protein substitutes. Yuk again! and these are just a few of my aversions to what seems to be healthy lifestyles of the 'normalized' diabetics.

I am not cut out to be a diabetic!!
I am not asking for help as I am beyond it! Just saying that I understand exactly what you are saying Tamra, but it does seem as if you are doing fairly well with your db road.

signed A1c 6.8 but with huge bg swings (range 20-600). Lack of discipline is me!
Good luck to your continuing efforts.

I have a similar rebellious streak. I was lucky that diabetes waited until I was 30, to overtake me. I would have been a teenage mess with diabetes.

I have developed a mind game that motivates me. I think that our medical system is diabetes dumb! I know there are great medical practitioners out there, but I've come across few. Whenever I run into medical professional diabetes ignorance, it's rampant, it bolsters the fact that I am light years ahead of their treatment game. I take pride in excelling at blood glucose control.

Please don't misunderstand me. My blood sugar lines are nowhere nearly as impressive as a non-diabetic but they are tremendous when compare to my former control. Being good at something, anything, usually means a reinforcing virtuous cycle. Being good makes you better.

My BG lines are not perfect; they never will be. But I keep trying since I know I can usually make them better.

As for you not being the person necessary to succeed at diabetes, I disagree. I believe that each of us talks to ourselves all day, every day. That internal dialogue, I believe, can be controlled and chosen. This is the talk that will either build you up or tear you down. Mind that dialogue and treat yourself as least as respectful that you'd treat a friend. Compliment yourself. Praise yourself. Cut yourself some slack when times are rough. You can change the conversation you have with yourself. It is a willful choice. Adopting this self-awareness will not bring any overnight success but given time it is a powerful agent of change.

Now I don't believe that anyone can will themselves into any future self. But there is a certain elasticity to our personalities. Nudge yourself in healthy directions and you may just surprise yourself!

I am not a person of relgious faith but I do maintain a devotion to hope. Chicago author, Studs Terkel, once wrote a book with a title that encapsulates my philosophy: Hope Dies Last.

Good luck. I know it's not easy!

Thank you. :)

I've only had Type 1 since June of 2009. The things I've learned about living with it:
1) It varies. Sometimes every day.
2) I will not always keep my blood glucose in range and it won't be because I'm not trying hard enough. (see #1)
3) No matter how I do on a given day, I have to do what I have found works for me, which often means doing the same things I did yesterday--even if they didn't work perfectly.
4) Diabetes has been the perfect vehicle to show me that I need to forget what happened yesterday and focus on now. So I mentally give diabetes the bird if yesterday sucked and forget about it. That also means I don't let my momentary feeling of defeat stay with me. Because it's just a feeling. It is not reality and it will pass.
5) Any diabetic who can't admit they're sometimes making it up as they go along takes themselves WAAAY too seriously AND are full of it!
6) Laughter is NOT the best medicine for diabetes. Insulin is-- but laughter is not contraindicated. Find friends who laugh a lot and make you laugh. (Someone told me once that I laugh like a Muppet--just open my mouth and throw my head back. They were right. And then I laughed about it).
7) Sometimes it's nice to be around people who are going through the same thing. The diabetes group that I attend quarterly always has a moment where someone is talking about their experience and the other people in the room have that "yeah, I know just what you mean" look on their face. Your friends and family love you, but they can never really know what we go through. Find some people who can empathize.
8) When you're trying to change how you treat your diabetes, don't try to change everything at once. That makes it too hard. Try changing one thing at a time (eating better, exercising more, etc.).
9) When you see your doctor (or before) seek help for your depression. There is no shame in seeking help. Don't expect that you can just "get over it." From my personal experience, using more than one modality of treatment is the best way to make progress toward feeling better. (Meds and counseling). We are ALL more prone to depression than non-diabetics.

Don’t be so hard on yourself. None of us are perfect, myself included. When I have a day with BG that are out of line for no particular reason, I say to myself “tomorrow will be better .” Don’t get hung up on every BG test. You sound like you try really hard to stay in the normal range. Sometimes numbers are just off. I have an A1c of 6.6 which is satisfactory for me. My doc thinks it is amazing to have that A1c with Type 1. He said he wishes that half of his patients had a number like that. Just do your best without driving yourself crazy.

… What everyone else said!!! And, I sooo understand the “comments” from others- even my 3 grown children don’t “get it”- had a helluva time w/a35 low this morn & am blaming myself:(. Hang in there… I’m with you

For every one thing you can't have or do, there are ten things you can have and do or more. Look for those things. We are lucky to have what we have, even with this disease. You really don't want to hurt yourself if I am wrong get help. There are programs for changing your behaviors and not who you are. You can rebel at all the stuff having nothing else to do with diabetes and that leaves a lot of things to rebel against. Think of it like brushing your teeth so they don't fall out. Kind of like that.


Discipline is never a pill you swallow. Do not believe it is...

As zealous, or vigilant as you can possibly be.... that never guarantees its going to "behave"... and often when we are doing the very best we possibly can, it giggles at those efforts. It means nothing about you, or anybody else. It only means its not simple.

Do not surrender your rebel. She is healthy and pleased, let her stay! We all make complex choices, all day long. Some of them are diabetic decisions, most are unimportant to that part of us.

This is a problem of fundamental approach, not one of "skill". This discipline you want is not a question of "immediately", doing the right thing. That is rote routine, the act of endless repetitions.

Real discipline is making 10,000 failures, some big, some very, very small, and at then END of them, still waking up, and the struggle to keep trying to do some act once again anyway.

THAT is discipline. Doing the difficult, the hard despite the truth they are... could be testing one more time a day. Could be, *#@^(#^, guess I better shoot now.
Discipline is the bucket of pop corn.... one itty-bitty piece at a time.

The other "discipline", you feel others possess and you somehow lack, which you "rebel" is not discipline, but a different creature entirely. Fear not... rebellion is good! Give yours pleasure, let her stay!