Fake It ‘Til You Make It
Taking a mind-over-matter approach to diabetes management.
June 2012 — "Just fake it 'til you make it!"
I always hated that expression, mostly because it rhymes, but also because I didn't really understand it until recently. The idea of pretending to be something until you actually are that thing sounded like a smoke and mirrors show. For me, as a person with type 1 diabetes and a public diabetes advocate, I didn't want to push any fiction. People with diabetes are always bombarded with the lofty goals set by mainstream media and pharma companies — "What, your blood sugar isn't always a perfect 104 mg/dl?" or "Just a spoonful of this sugar substitute will make every dessert diabetes-friendly!" — and I don't want to add to that chorus of lies.
But since the birth of my daughter, I've been dealing with some very sticky and unrelenting diabetes burnout. I couldn't wrap my head around why I was "off the wagon," so to speak, but my blood sugar numbers, A1C results, and overall emotional health confirmed that I was left behind in the dust by said wagon. It sucked. I wrote about it a lot and tried little things here and there, but it was a tough trench to climb out of.
And this is where that foolish, rhyming expression comes in.
"Fake it 'til you make it!"
I needed to take a mind-over-matter approach to my diabetes burnout. My A1C wasn't going to become a lovely sub-7% number overnight, and my meter average wasn't going to reflect any efforts for at least a few days. But I needed to TRY and make those efforts mean something on an individual level, before they were reflected on a cumulative one.
So I decided to stop concentrating on the numbers, and focus more on my mental attitude towards this batch of burnout. Where was the bridge between "I don't care," and "I care a whole lot?" For me, it's found in my emotional health. I need to feel emotionally squared away before I can properly tackle all the day-to-day tasks required in life with type 1 diabetes.
I'm testing a lot now, but not freaking out about the numbers. I'm reacting to them. If the result is 212 mg/dl, I take a bolus with my insulin pump to bring the numbers back into range. If I'm 56 mg/dl, I try my best to chomp the necessary amount of glucose tabs to send me up towards 100 mg/dl without over-treating the low. And when I'm 102 mg/dl, I'm not afraid to give myself a little pat on the back for being spot-on. I might not be in my optimal diabetes control right now, but if I feel like I'm en route to that sweet spot, it will be easier to get there. Building on the successes, right?
These might seem like silly, little baby steps, but these are steps in the right direction. I'm moving towards empowerment and health, and away from depression and illness. I'll take that. If I'm going to be back in fighting shape, diabetes-wise, I need to fake it until I make it. I need to feel like I'm in good health as I return to it.
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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