Is it a weakness to admit to being weak?


#1

Hello everyone.

I’ve recently been having a hard time accepting defeat and really struggling with what it means to admit it.

Let me explain.

Ever since I was diagnosed, I’ve made it my mission to prove people wrong, or rather, to prove to myself that I still am very capable. It happens everyday, with my academic performance, with my physical strength, with emotional wellbeing. I can’t tolerate someone taking a look at me and coming to the conclusion (she couldn’t because of T1DM).

So you’ll see me push through a hypo at spin class just because I don’t want to be set aside. I’ve taken many finals with my numbers out of whack because I don’t like asking for help. I never take a seat when there’s people standing. This one time, a colleague of mine tried to give up her seat for me, and she was pregnant! You can imagine how that went.

And for the most part it works. It’s strange but it’s one hell of a drive. I like being invincible. I appreciate independence (lucked out with IDDM, huh?) I value my strength, physically and emotionally.

Recently though I’ve come to realize how unsustainable and crazy that is. I’m trying to come to terms with the many “weaknesses” this entails. A hypo is quite disabling. Hypers make me sluggish and ketones do get me down. All of this takes an emotional toll as well. I do not like that one bit. The fact that it’s killing me to have my A1C climb up 2% after all the hard work that I put into it and most of all I don’t like the fact that I’m upset over it to begin with! I want to take numbers in good humour -though that’s a discussion for another time-, shrug and go “Well I did my best.” I hate that I’m vulnerable this way. For the longest time I didn’t want to admit this because I’m trying to prove otherwise.

Part of this is that I see many T1DMs who’ve accomplished so much despite everything and they hardly acknowledge it being a hurdle at all. I want to be strong about this like them.

I’m basically trying to set a good example but I’m only projecting the good.

I wanted to be a success story with T1DM, not a cautionary tale. I just don’t know how to do it with it dragging me down sometimes. I guess what I’m asking is, how do you reconcile your best version of life and your actual D life? When do you draw the -I can do everything- line? How do you win over defeats?


#2

Taking care of your diabetes should be your biggest concern, not what people think or how you feel about what being diabetic means (there is no reason you can’t be strong or independent with diabetes). If you don’t work and do whatever is necessary to keep your numbers in line THEN you will lose your independence when you lose your eyesight, legs, or die from a severe hypo,. etc.

I’m not trying to scare you, unfortunately it is the truth. I don’t like to make assumptions but it sounds to me like your struggle is really with anger a frustration over being diabetic. Instead of putting all your energy into proving your still worth a damn, why not put that energy into taking control of your diabetes and proving you can still be healthy (and independent and happy) even though you’re diabetic?

Diabetes is not easy in all (emotionally, psychologically, physically) respects. But there is no reason your life has to be any less independent, achievable, and awesome than a non-diabetic. The true test of ability is to be a tightly controlled diabetic who is also at the head of the class, top of the mountain, achieving all the things!


#3

I just do what I can do which is derived from my own comfort level. I pretty much do everything that I’d do if I wasn’t a diabetic. I wear a pump, so I can be very active, safely. Couldn’t do that on MDI. Maybe others can; but not me. I don’t like the idea of giving up, and feel bad when I see people waste their lives like my parents, The sit at home instead of getting out in the world. My mom has one excuse after another for not getting out. Before long, her life will be over and what will she remember, moments before she dies? Watching TV? sigh. Thank god my wife, a fellow pumper, is quite the trooper. She and I have similar attitudes about life, which is “just do it”, just like the Nike commercial. it’s very satisfying,

I’ve pushed through countless hypos when working as I don’t like stopping in the middle of things, and often wait until the hypo decreases my central vision to the point where I have to grab something carby. :slight_smile: I learned long ago that my hypos aren’t immediately life threatening like years ago when on MDI and the old insulins.

I say try to push yourself within reason. Don’t give up on life and don’t measure your success or failure by that of others.


#4

I’ve lived with Type 1 diabetes since I was 9 and have been legally blind since I was born. In my life, blindness has tended to overshadow diabetes in terms of things people said (or implied) that I couldn’t do. Reading your post, I have three main thoughts on what you’ve said:

  1. being successful does not mean one needs to hide one’s condition
  2. being successful does not mean never asking for help
  3. having a certain condition or disability does not make someone weak

Trying to hide something takes a lot of extra work and will likely result in situations where you’re held back from performing your best or where people just wonder what the heck is wrong. If seeing you use special equipment or taking care of yourself makes people question whether you’re capable of doing something, then educate them—but I suspect that fewer people are silently questioning you than you think.

Also, everyone needs help from time to time. I’ve been called “fiercely independent” at times, and it’s something that in some ways has served me well, but in others has held me back. It’s literally impossible to live in this world and not rely on help from others. There is absolutely nothing wrong with accepting help every now and then, and even asking for help if you need it. At some point, those around you will need help from you in some way, too.

Overall, though, I think you need to stop looking at diabetes as some sort of weakness. If anything, having diabetes makes you stronger. You’re dealing successfully with something that many people think they would not be able to handle. You deal with things every day that the average person who doesn’t live with Type 1 has no idea about. That is not defeat. Be proud of doing it, not embarrassed or ashamed.


#5

I understand what you are talking about…I have a similar component to my nature. I’m a “get it done” gal and brook no resistance…from my body or anyone else.

While that attitude was great for my professional life, it played havoc with my health. Over time, I’ve chipped away at the need to always be perceived as strong. And, while the opposite of strong is weak, I didn’t find myself in weakness so much as I found myself in “authenticity.” And, you know what? Authenticity is a whole n’other platform for strength because it takes A LOT of strength to be openly, authentically, vulnerable…and sometimes that’s just what it is with my health. I am much healthier now that I’ve learned how to be authentic :wink:


#6

Human beings are vulnerable. It’s our inherent nature. It reminds me of Janis Joplin’s lyric in her song, Me and Bobby McGee, “Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose…” We lose our physical vulnerabilities only when we die.

Accepting that reality is the hallmark of tough, strong people. I think of the engineering metaphor of a bridge. A bridge that flexes when stressed by loads moving over it is a strong bridge. A bridge that doesn’t flex, breaks.

Another metaphor I like is the martial arts fighter. The best fighters are the ones that opportunistically use the energy of an opponent’s move and redirect that energy in a way favorable to the defender.

Admitting weakness acknowledges reality, yet, at the same time, gives a nod to your basic strength. It’s a paradox, a seeming contradiction.

I’ve found when working with people in a team setting, I value the people that know their limits and know they will not over-promise and put the team at risk. Their awareness of their “weakness” is actually a strength from my point of view.

We know our diabetes can sometimes undermine our usual capacities. We are much better off giving in, say interrupting a sport activity to treat a hypo, than we are pushing on and possibly tipping over and creating greater problems for ourselves and others around us. I don’t see that as a weakness. I see it as strong self-awareness that serves greater long-term goals.

None of us can completely control the hand we’re dealt in life. Where we can shine, however, is playing that hand well.


#7

This disease has without a doubt changed my life for the worse. It is very difficult for me to function anywhere near how I used to. These past two weeks alone I have been dealing with pump failures… the replacement they sent failed this morning when I woke up so I was on the phone yet again getting another one… the anxiety alone of dealing with all of this is just plain exhausting in itself not to mention the physical effects of bg and so on. I can’t do whatever I want to with D plain and simple. For me there is no way to reconcile it and I do my best but I would get rid of D in a heartbeat or use some better treatment when it becomes available.


#8

@meee, I’m sorry to read about your troubles. Sometimes, troubles seem to pile on when you’re down! I hope you can sort out your pump failures and start to make things better. It doesn’t seem fair that the very things you need to start on a better path are the things that diabetes takes from us. Things like a clear mind and a good night’s rest. Good luck, I hope you can make some improvements soon. My thoughts are with you.


#9

what type of pump do you have?


#10

[quote]It doesn’t seem fair that the very things you need to start on a better
path are the things that diabetes takes from us. Things like a clear
mind and a good night’s rest.[/quote]

I couldn’t agree more. I think that this is one of the hardest aspects of diabetes: these things disappear right when you need them most. I hope things improve for you soon, @meee.


#11

If you haven’t yet tried Lyrica, keep in mind (pun) that it will really do a number on your short term memory.

I have PN, can’t stand neurontin (zonks me), so I take the expensive, but excellent nerve-pain-reducing Lyrica. I have to take 3 a day and If I miss a pill, within a couple of hours I usually feel the stinging from neuropathy.


#12

Really enjoyed reading your entire response @Terry4 but highlighted the line above because it communicates with greater “pith” what I was attempting to say with more words :wink: Well said!

And I thoroughly agree and appreciate when a member on one of my teams knows their limits, both so that they don’t over promise and because we can only learn and evolve when we recognize where that line is.


#13

I can’t take any of those drugs anymore for anything… I have tried them in the past for various chronic pain and after getting off of elavil ,which I was on low dose for 5 years for chronic pain, and feeling like I went through a bad withdrawal with weight loss, I now get psycho like symptoms from them which is similar to what I get from antihistamines for more than a few days. I also had that effect from the statin as well as terrible pain… it made me completely doped out of my mind. I feel elavil messed up my whole endocrine system and I wish I had never taken it at all. I would have been better off just to take pain killers as needed. Btw, lyrica, which one of my doctors duped me into thinking was different from another drug I had already tried and had the same symptoms from, and which is basically the same thing, lol, not only made me dopey etc. but also didn’t help my pain at all. I have a tandem and just received a brand new one today. Although my first pump’s top button broke, I was still able to use it with an ifrogz phone charger and cable so I went back to it again yesterday until the new one arrived by courier today. I recommend getting some of these light, portable phone chargers for your pumps if they need to be charged at all. This really saved the day for me in this situation. And come to think of it being on insulin, for me, is almost as bad as those drugs, I really almost have no brain left, that is what it feels like a lot of the time.


#14

Thanks Terry and Jen, I hope things at least go back to normal, but I have no hope after 3 years of this that anything is going to improve that much with the status quo. Hopefully “they” will come up with something a lot better than what we have though.


#15

[quote]And come to think of it being on insulin, for me, is almost as bad as
those drugs, I really almost have no brain left, that is what it feels
like a lot of the time.[/quote]

@meee, do you know why insulin would have these side effects for you? I mean, it’s not really a drug, just a hormone, so in theory it shouldn’t have side effects (other than hypoglycemia, of course). I don’t really have anything to compare to, since I’ve been on insulin since I was 9, but to me something is not right if it’s making you feel doped up!


#16

Jen I don’t know but I haven’t felt well since being on insulin- it doesn’t feel like my natural body and the fact that it’s a hormone makes no difference- it isn’t being delivered the way your pancreas would normally do it so it will never be like your normal body. I’m super sensitive and I feel every little bg change. I also probably have something going on with my thyroid too and other hormones but I think there are other people who probably have the same symptoms as me- I have talked to some of them. Obviously I feel better than when I was in dka but otherwise do not feel well a lot of the time. In a normal bg range, most of the time I feel weak/dizzy/tired, similar symptoms in a higher range above 150 or so, terrible above 180, neuropathy pain and so on, changes, I’m dizzy, it never ends. When your bg isn’t in the right range you can be deprived of oxygen and many other nutrients so it makes sense that you won’t feel optimal. The only time I feel really energetic is when I have had a low, usually a bad one, and I treat it with tons of juice etc. Even then it is short lived because if I spike or treat a spike to stop it I end up feeling ill again.


#17

@meee I don’t recall if you ever mentioned or not so pardon if I am repeating…have you had your adrenal hormones tested?


#18

I have taken a long and successful journey with my insulin dependence . I attribute my success to a combination of spiritual strength, self confidence, and family support. :relaxed:

Most of us (Earthling’s) go through dark times, remember we cannot all be Supper Hero’s…most of us are here just to get rescued, I can live with that…Relax live your life and take what comes to you and make something good out of it…
I know your God and mine says take care of your body have faith love yourself love your family love your neighbor, and He will take care of the rest… relax…


#19

Is that the person who brings home a pizza? :slight_smile:


#20

@Jen, could I like this 1,000 times, please?

@meee we are all pulling for you. You are a valuable resource for us and for YOU!

@Ahnalira & @Terry4 (would should just be Terry, btw!) great posts!

I might wonder if you’re struggling for success against the wrong question. Accept that you have a chronic condition that requires a slightly different mindset. For example, if you are temporarily experiencing a hypo and a healthy pregnant woman offers you her seat, take it! The pregnant woman isn’t sick or disabled, she is pregnant!

Admitting that you are not perfect (who is?) is a sign of strength. Trying to fly in the face of reality is weakness.

Please go back and re-read what you have written. As I see it, everything you stated can be turned on its head from disablement to enablement. This community will offer you support whenever you need it.