I needed to go for a walk a few nights ago. I didn’t have any particular destination in mind, I just needed to wander and get some air. My blood sugars weren’t low, and I wasn’t roaming incoherently. I was just regular roaming, like when you go to the mall and wander around and don’t buy anything. Just alone with my thoughts, listening to the sound of traffic, watching the passing cars, and considering everything that is going on in my world.
It’s important sometimes to just find that peaceful place you can hang out, if only for a few minutes. It’s like diabetes nirvana, where you can eat practically whatever you want and still maintain that perfect level blood sugar. For me, that’s somewhere between 80 and 120, but YDMV. You don’t have to share that place with anyone, you don’t have to fill it with distractions, you can just be, in that moment.
Right now in my day-to-day I’m swamped, so I need those peaceful moments whenever I can get them. My days are filled with phones that ring off the hook, a flood of emails, meetings, research, a lot of puzzles in the forms of invoices, budgets, reports and spreadsheets, a task list that somehow continues to get longer and longer no matter how hard I work on shortening it, and the overwhelming pressure to demonstrate leadership ability, progress, and that I have things under control. Maybe it’s the Fall season, and everyone trying to get everything wrapped up before the holidays get here and people scatter to the four corners of the world. Or maybe it’s the ghosts of deadlines passed.
In any case, when we’re so busy, the animal that is diabetes that we try to keep on a leash likes to try and show it’s ugly side. We’re teased with perfect blood sugars for hours on end, just to do a quick check before dinner to see a BG so high it would make an angel get vertigo. Yesterday afternoon for example, I lowered my basal rates for about three hours because I was too active and my BG was dropping too quickly. Perfection, until I checked a few hours later, and spiked harder than Misty May in a beach volleyball tournament.
Then there is the flip side. The activity of the days and nights catches up, and we wake up in the middle of the night plowing into the refrigerator for anything we can find to treat a low BG, including those week old leftovers that we’ll regret eating by morning. Stress and being stretched too thin results in a lot of flux in our capacitors. We’re working so hard to get to the future that the past catches up with us and knocks us flat on our DeLorean. (I also went to see Back to the Future on the big screen for its 25th Anniversary last week, which was beyond awesome!)
I don’t know what the secret is to managing and staying on top of diabetes, stress, workload, bills, relationships, and all the other responsibilities of life. I believe a lot of life is change management, and I strive with all the changes that life throws my way to make the choices that are positive and move me in the direction that I want to go. That works, most of the time, but I still stumble. Sometimes I excel in one aspect of my life just to see another suffer from lack of attention. It’s a seesaw, and one minute I’m on the ground with my feet firmly planted and everything is as it should be, then the next up up in the air with my feet dangling and trying to hold on for dear life to those things that are most important and trying not to fall off the edge.
People deal with stress and being overwhelmed in a lot of different ways. A long bike ride helps me sort things out. Sometimes I just need some quiet time to myself. I’m naturally an extrovert that draws energy from engaging with other people, but I can’t be the entertainer all the time. Sometimes I’ve got to get a little discontented so that I can find the fuel to push through obstacles. I try to find a healthy balance that favors positivity.
It’s that balance that we struggle with, in life, with diabetes…with everything. Things can’t be sunshine and daffodils all the time, but it also can’t rain all the time either. It can be hard work to climb over those obstacles that are holding you back from whatever next step you are trying to get to. It is especially hard to cut out those things that are bad habits that allow us to escape or provide a sense of security, even a false sense of security.
But it’s worth it to try, even if you don’t succeed every time. The more you try, the more success you’ll have. Nobody has ever achieved their dreams by sitting around waiting on them to come true.
With diabetes, I get aggravated when a day of low BG’s collides with a night of high BG’s that keep me up all night. I have to remember though that most days I am more in tune with my body than most people are. I have tools and technology that help me to be able to make educated decisions that keep me alive.
I save my life every single day by the decisions that I make. Can you say that? I hope you can. If not, maybe it’s time to make some changes.