Monday, July 9, 2007

Diabetes Rhythms--Do you go with the flow?

Curious thing. I have been doing a lot of work on self-care over the past year and have become very intrigued with how out of sync "we" have become with our bodies, with our minds and our emotional and spiritual needs. I work less and play more, but it is so easy to forget that we live in cycles; like the moon, the tides, the seasons, the climate...ah the climate. A perfect example of what happens when we ignore our inner rhythms or when we push for things to be the way we want them, despite what is actually good for us.

Mind, body and spirit are tied; our thoughts tend to be the leader, but sometimes body and spirit don't follow, because they know better! That is what happened when I quit my job as an executive director. My mind was on overload, my body was exhausted, but I kept pushing it anyway and my spirit was on vacation; but I had a job to do. One day, I changed my mind or my wisdom changed it for me. I heard my body's cries, my spirit raised the white flag and my mind finally yelled, "I QUIT."

I have spent a lot of time in my short life fighting what my body is telling me. In the past year I have learned that my body is a barometer to how thoughts make me feel. You know that "feeling in your chest?" It is telling you something; to take action or to stop acting. It is amazing when you listen to that feeling, you almost always end up on the right path.

Scott's recent blog got me really thinking about diabetes fatigue. We go through phases, yet we refuse to recognize that this is normal. We are in a constant state of judgement; we should be 'doing something" to fix ourselves. We should be taking better care of ourselves. We are constantly shoulding on ourselves.

Would we expect the tides to stay high, or the moon to stay full or for our periods to stop, just because we say so? How can we expect our emotional, physical and mental state to stay on an even keel all the time? It is impossible, but we "think" we can fight it, ourselves, our feelings.

The biggest gift I have learned is to recognize when I am at a low point; I'm blue, I'm tired, I don't really care about my blood sugars, and I am going to eat anything I want. In recognizing that I am there, I then give myself permission to ride it out, becuase this too shall pass. Doesn't it always?

If I start feeling bad (emotionally, physically or mentally), I say, "Hmmm. Self, your not feeling so good today. Your in a blue mood. That's OK." Seriously, I have to say this out loud to myself (although not in a crowded room). I have to remind myself that it is OK to be in this place.

What invariably happens is that the blueness doesn't hang around as long as it used to. I also recognize that I might need to do something nice for myself today, like take a walk with my dog, go swim or go buy ice cream or new shoes. I also may do nothing but lay in my hammock for thirty minutes.

I am more respectful of my physical, mental and emotional cycles and what I need to make it through every day. I still have bad days, but not so many very bad days. If I remember to listen to myself and honor the phase I am in, things iron themselves out more smoothly and more quickly.

Do you, like Scott, feel diabetes fatigue phases coming? How do you honor this phase? For instance, I quit taking my blood sugars (less an issue with the CGM, but I quit looking at the numbers), but I always make sure I check before bed or if I feel high or low. How do you go with the flow, but keep yourself safe?


Scott K. Johnson said...

Great post Wendy - glad I could help getting that magnificent mind of yours in motion!

It is a very interesting question - how to go with the flow.

I think that it is SO TRUE how you say we are always "shoulding" ourselves. Where does that come from?

Funny how there can be so much guilt wrapped up in our diabetes self care. Does that guilt come from ourselves? Or does it come from outside? Do we have expectations that are too high - from us? Or do they come from the medical professionals, etc.?

Interesting questions.

I also find that my moods are impacted by my blood sugars. I'm running high this morning, and I'm downright angry about it. That anger is spilling over into my work and other "non-diabetic" areas of my day. That frustrates me too.

Great post.

Dot Connector said...

Where does the "shoulding" come from? Insecure thought--thoughts deep inside of us that say whatever it is we are doing isn't enough.

Where does THAT come from? Hmmm. Society, our parents, unrealistic expectations we place on ourselves; fear that who we are isn't enough.

I am noticig how blood sugars influsence my daughters moods, but I have lost sight of the impact on mine. Too many other things to watch and fuss over.

Really appreciate your insights.

Major Bedhead said...

Interesting post, Wendy. I'm coming at this from a parent's perspective only (and I know you have a child with d, too, so maybe you feel this way at times) but I feel so guilty when I get that fatigue. I feel like I am letting my daughter down and, quite possibly, endangering her health by slacking off. It scares me. But there are definitely time periods when I just don't log, don't pay as close attention as I should. It's very guilt-inducing, though.

Chrissie in Belgium said...

I definitely go through phases! Like today, I did what I haven't done in what, about three years. My bg wwas 152 and it wouldn't go down. First of all, I didn't take a walk. I am tired of battling and it is totally OK for me to be human. Then I just ate my dinner without waiting for the third correction bolus to get the dam result better. You know something? Truly I am not mad at myself. I can only take so much. I am no super woman and that is fine! I better go do another test! I STILL feel high!

Drea said...

Wendy, I agree with the "blue" times, and it is important to know this happens to most people!! The more "blue" I am, the worst my control....and often I have to ride out these times, or surround myself with the people in my life who will help me through.

My "diabetes vacations" require a certain few people to intervene, and these are the people who can sit back and say "yeah it sucks, I know what you mean" because they do know.....I have a network of a few type-1's close to my life - and now thanks to the world of the web, I have found I am surrounded by more and more GREAT people who help on these days....

Minnesota Nice said...

Very insightful post. And, as usual, very insightful comments.
Thank you all. I needed to read this today.

Kate said...

Hi Wendy,

I can't find an email address for you, so am posting this comment publicly. I'm new to the Austin area and I'm looking for an endocrinologist. I have type 1 and I'm thinking of getting pregnant this year. Can you recommend someone? What's the best way to get a hold of you?