Share Your Story
The mechanics of our diabetes may be similar, but our stories couldnt be more different.
By Scott Johnson
January 2011 — This month I want to encourage you to tell your story. I know, I know. Many of you are thinking Nobody wants to hear about me or I'm not a good writer. But that stuff doesn't matter. You have a story to tell, and your experiences with diabetes are interesting to me.
The mechanics of diabetes are very similar for many of us, like taking insulin, dealing with highs and lows, having to juggle variables in order to exercise, and counting carbohydrates. We all deal with those things. But the way you manage those mechanics might be very different from how I manage them. And I want to hear about those differences.
I feel confident and knowledgeable about some aspects of my diabetes mechanics, but in many areas I feel that I have a lot to learn. Even where I feel confident there is always room for improvement, either by making things work a little better or simply learning how to get similar results with much less effort. Even if I try something new, and it doesn't work very well for me, that experience still adds to my knowledge of how my body and my diabetes works. It's a good thing!
Beyond the mechanics of diabetes, I am drawn to the mental, emotional, and spiritual experiences of life with diabetes. I am constantly trying to find peace with my diabetes. Hearing about others on similar journeys helps me see things from different perspectives. Those perspectives are sometimes new and fresh to me, which opens my mind to see things in a way I'd never thought about before. There is such value in that, and that should be even more motivation to share your story!
The key to pulling value from all of the stories out there is being able to relate to someone and being able to identify with the situation or scenario. That's only possible if there are many stories to sample and choose from. For example, there is no way I'll ever be able to relate to a young woman going through a pregnancy and living with type 1 diabetes, but even in that scenario, going into it with an open mind allows me to relate to her desire to keep her numbers in very tight control, and how the urge to over-treat a low blood sugar causes her a lot of mental anguish. I have often experienced that same problem (minus the baby and pregnancy part, of course).
There are so many ways to share your life with diabetes. If you don't want to write, consider doing something different. Have you thought about recording little video clips or audio clips? What about taking photographs? Here is where the beauty of creative diversity really comes into play. Find a way to express yourself that feels fun to you, and then have fun with it!
There is someone out there who needs help. They need to know that they are not alone, and your story might be the connection they need.
dLife's Viewpoints columnists are not all medical experts, but everyday people living with diabetes and sharing their personal experiences, most often at a set point in time. While their method of diabetes management may work for them, everyone is different. Please consult with your diabetes care team before acting on anything you read here to find out what will work best for you.
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Many people say that depression is a side effect or complication of diabetes. Without discounting the association of the psychological condition with the physical one, I'm not convinced that our high and/or unstable glucose levels are directly responsible for that change in our mental state. My belief is that the unrelenting need for self-care, for following the sort of care schedules that can drive licensed, professional caregivers crazy, is what overwhelms us...