The Other Half of Diabetes – Tuesday 5/17
We think a lot about the physical component of diabetes, but the mental component is just as significant. How does diabetes affect you or your loved one mentally or emotionally? How have you learned to deal with the mental aspect of the condition? Any tips, positive phrases, mantras, or ideas to share on getting out of a diabetes funk? (If you are a caregiver to a person with diabetes, write about yourself or your loved one or both!)
Any time our body’s feel or “look” bad, it’s easy to get down and even beat ourselves up mentally. I’ve done it, we’ve all done it, right!?! I say this to my 2 1/2 year old and heck, six month old all the time….It’s hard being human!
I don’t know if I would be or could be in the place I am today, had I not moved to California (I’m talking far-northern-hippy land), graduated from a great Massage School, suffered from and mostly cured many food allergies, struggled immensely as an entrepreneur, had 2 beautiful children by natural and home birth, and wake up every day to do it all again (on very little sleep).
My Dad always said…”Adversity makes us stronger.” AKA if it doesn’t kill you, it builds you up. The quality of this advice never meant so much to me as it does today, as I try to survive the launching of our ZenSweet business while raising two tiny children. And, the source of this advice means more to me today as I reflect on the attitude my Dad maintained while going through grueling and at times unbearable treatment for Primary Nervous System Lymphoma. It actually makes me nausea to put the link here describing the disease because I think to myself, I never want to deal with it again.
We all have our days when we just don’t want to deal, and as things become seemingly better, even a little better it’s almost painful to think about the ‘what if’s’ and the past.
The amazing (now I see them this way but didn’t always) doctors at University of Chicago have officially or unofficially, I’m not really sure, say my Dad is in remission. The fact that after he was diagnosed in May of 2014 as a relatively young guy, and that he got so sick he couldn’t walk, lost his swallow reflex and couldn’t eat (after working in food service for 40+ years) was not only physically debilitating but emotionally terrifying for the whole family. And for him, I’m sure the very worst, unimaginable thing that has ever happened. After going through a very physically and emotionally rough stem cell replacement therapy (spending almost 8 weeks in the hospital over the Christmas holidays) in 2014, he is well and beginning to move on with his life (now recently retired) which is nothing short of a miracle and amazing.
I haven’t written about my Dad’s battle with cancer on our blog yet; it was too hard, too new, or just too crazy. I struggled with what to write about today. I have friends living with Type 1 diabetes, and family members and acquaintances with Type 2 diabetes whose stories I’ve heard and for whom I feel greatly. I could have written about some of those experiences, and I may in the coming days. I know my Dad’s experience isn’t directly Type 1 or 2 diabetes but it was a disease that we all struggled with (him more than us, I will never claim different).
We have many others that may share similar paths and help walk with us. But ultimately it’s everyone’s own challenge and journey with whatever physical manifestation you are dealt in this life. No one can ever take away your pain, but no one can take away your strength either. My Dad showed me how unbelievably positive, strong, faithful and resolute a person can be. Believe it will get better (even if you don’t say it to others) and it will be better.
The way in which we learned to deal with such a physically and emotionally challenging situation was to Take One Day at a Time. I know this may seem very simple, and easier said than done when ‘not’ in the moment. But, it really helped us all. Some days are hard and you want them to go away, but try and just be in the moment and enjoy any little thing you can each day. Even if after a week of being locked up in the same hospital room the only thing you can laugh at is the sink falling off the wall in the bathroom room (thanks Mom for reminding me of this humorous time).
Try enjoy a deep breath of fresh air, the smile on a friends face, hugging someone you love, gaze at something beautiful outside or even inside, any tiny, little nuance of life that you can. Any day we can enjoy even a minute of life is a good day. Reflect on this feeling of goodness you have inside and try and to make it expand out of your mind and then into your body.
Breathe in the goodness (however fleeting the feeling) and try to let it fill all the space within your body and around you. Feel the tiny particles of goodness, happiness, love, calm, or gentleness grow from a small wisp of air to a full, billowing white mist that slowly fills you up and surrounds you. Feel yourself surrounded in this pure, white mist of goodness and ease. Breathe it in, it is yours, it is you.
You are goodness. You are health, you are whole. You are happiness, love, calm and every feeling you ever feel (even the not so great ones, those are okay too). Accept all your feelings, even the difficult ones. If the difficult feelings come up, try and let them float by gently like a blue cloud in the sky. It’s all okay, just be with yourself how you are…Full of compassion and tenderness, a light, white, fluffy cloud of goodness. Blessing of Health and Happiness to you All.