Mostly, we tick along and things are going reasonably well, not amazingly, but not terribly. Then sometimes the wheel comes off the wagon. Sometimes it’s like a slow puncture, as we deflate our way down – others it’s a spectacular blowout.
How do we deal with this and try to get back on the horse and put the train back on the tracks (lol, such mixed metaphors)?
The past few months have been tough for me with my diabetes. We haven’t been on terrific speaking terms.
On my good days, I have tried to avoid eating carbs so that I don’t have to engage with it.
On my worst, I’ve actively tried to ignore my diabetes, leading to some horrible highs, and some foolish RAGEBOLUS induced lows.
It’s tough. It’s getting darker and colder, I’ve been going through an interminably long and gruelling rotation of placements. I’m tired. I just want to eat chips and sleep. But we all know life isn’t as easy as that.
I’m hopefully starting to pull myself up out of this dip, and here’s how I’m doing it.
Make a friend
Ideally one who also has diabetes. I have @clarentina to help me out here. She nags me, she listens to my bitching about my diabetes. We share war stories and console each other when we have tales of woe to tell. We’ve even started meeting regularly for a low carb dinner and spin on the bike, as a bit of motivation for each other. Peer support is invaluable.
I’m lucky enough to have someone who lives 5 minutes away from me for this, but there are tons of folk in the #gbdoc on twitter or in groups on Facebook who can be turned to for support. If you can find someone you get on with, who you can develop a good relationship with, DO IT.
Less Social Media
This is a bit contradictory to the last point, but step away from the less helpful bits of social media. We’ve all seen people in groups on Facebook who are in a terrible position, with multiple complications and seemingly no hope in sight. This isn’t to say those people aren’t right to post about it, but if you’re in a dip it isn’t that helpful to see this – it can sometimes feel like you are being visited by the ‘ghost of Christmas future’ – so avoiding this type of thing is a pretty good idea.
There’s no point trying to transform your diet and habits overnight. It’s really difficult to do, and even more difficult to sustain. Gradual, progressive improvements is what we’re after. If you’re testing less than normal, try to add in one more per day to start with (or one per day at all, in some cases). If you’re struggling to bother to carb count, find a way to have at least one meal a day where it’s easy – whether that’s a ready meal or an old favourite you know off by heart.
Find small things you can do to re-engage with your diabetes, and work at them, little by little. Once you’re back in the habit of testing, then you can focus on getting the control back by getting fancy with corrections and tweaks to basal rates and what have you. There’s no point trying to do them side by side if it makes you more likely to jack the lot in again.
Accept that you might fail
We all want to get on top of our diabetes, and be as healthy as we can be, but life is hard man. We’re not perfect. Much as the algorithms we get given by HCPs to follow might suggest, we’re not robots. We’re messy, terrible, lumps of meat and bone and gristle, and sometimes we’ll cock it all up. That’s ok. If we take failure as a defeat then it will become ever tougher to stay motivated at all, and that’s not a good place to end up.
Try, as much as possible, to take it in stride. This isn’t easy. It’s counterintuitive to see ‘bad’ numbers, or experience hypos or to feel like you’re peeing out your entire bodily water content, and not feel bad about it. But that’s what we gotta try and do. We have to try and be calm about it, take it in stride, deal with it and move on to the next thing.
None of this is particularly groundbreaking, but it can be summarised simply as:
- Be kind to yourself
- Find someone else who’ll be kind to you when you need it, and tough when you need it
- Don’t try to fix everything overnight.
If anyone’s struggling and wants to rant, come find me @k_d85