What’s the story you tell yourself about you or your child’s diabetes?
Is it a horror story? A drama? A comedy? What’s the background music? Each aspect of our lives has a theme that our perceptions are based on. A horror film puts you on edge and, at least for me, gives me nightmares for days. I’m not a fan. A tragedy has a heavy feeling to it and makes me cry buckets of tears. The story of your diabetes is no different. Does is put you on edge and make you cry? What’s the story you’re telling yourself? How do you want this story to play out? How resilient are you in your story?
According to the dictionary, resilience is the capacity to respond to stress in a way such that goals are achieved at minimal psychological and physical cost; resilient individuals “bounce back” after challenges while also growing stronger.
While diabetes is something that none of us asked for, it’s something we have to deal with on a constant basis, and is part of our story. How resilient are we to the stresses we encounter? How able are we to “bounce back”?
To look at this further, I recommend that you analyze the conversations you have with yourself, or your self-talk. Is it overall negative or positive? What does it sound like?
If the “theme” of your diabetes isn’t what you want it to be, you can change that, because the story isn’t over yet!
You may have heard before that your thoughts become your words, which become your actions, which become your habits, which become your character, then your destiny. Similarly, we all have circumstances that are neither positive nor negative. It’s just a circumstance. How we choose to think about this circumstance is entirely up to us. Those thoughts become our feelings, which turn into actions, which give us the results of our lives. All too often I work with people with diabetes, and parents of children with diabetes, who are still living in a tragedy or horror story. They don’t know how to change their story, and they’re living in turmoil constantly. While I truly believe that we can change our stories, I do have to mention that it’s normal to feel this, and being diagnosed with diabetes can cause trauma, depression and PTSD, among other things. It’s totally normal to go through a grief process, and I encourage people to take as long as they need to process these feelings and emotions. It’s also healthy to seek professional help when needed.
When these emotions are dealt with, it’s time to decide what the final outcome will be. I choose to write my story as a drama sometimes, complete with laughs and tears, but overall, I think I consider it a romantic comedy. Let me explain. I have learned to view the humor of diabetes, and as Gary says, when something doesn’t go as planned, I fix it and move on. These bumps in the road are temporary setbacks that only deepen the story, but don’t change the outcome. I like a good romantic comedy, where in the end you just feel good. You know, where the girl gets the guy, and they live happily ever after? Too sappy for you? That’s ok, this is my story, but yours is up to you. Have fun with it, and decide who you want to play a part in your story.
Here at Integrated Diabetes, we’re here to help you write your story! Just give us a call and we’ll help you along your journey.
Annette Valle is a registered nurse and certified diabetes educator who also serves as an English/Spanish medical language interpreter. She has lived with T1D since age 13. Annette has personal experience and is certified to train on all models of insulin pumps, CGMs and hybrid closed loop systems.