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Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States

Diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in April of 1980. I recognize the incredible mental struggle of living with diabetes. I hope to share my struggles, my successes, and everything in between.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Operating Under Pressure

I usually operate well under pressure.

When a situation calls for very high intensity functioning, I am all game. Sign me up for the "whatever it takes" work ethic and can't be stopped determination -- but it's usually for a limited duration. No one can do that forever, right?

But isn't that what living with diabetes is? Operating under pressure?

There are times when living life with diabetes can be very high pressure (during a low for example), but it's usually not quite the same.

Instead it usually feels like a constant unwelcome companion. Like a big old retired (read big & fat) football player (uh, no offense to any retired football players out there...) who you are giving a piggyback ride to. That big lug also has a hold of the strings, like you are some marionette puppet who is powerless to his yanks and twists whenever he feels like pulling the strings.

Let's imagine for a few minutes just how it would feel to literally live carrying around a big ole football player on your back.

If you're feeling wimpy, picture a small child. Still - same concept though. Picture this person on your back, piggyback style, for every minute of the day & night.

That's the kind of pressure I'm talking about. Not the high intensity, short duration kind, but rather the heavy, unrelenting, "forever" kind.

I think that I can push through the high intensity, short duration kind simply because I know there is an end to it. I might get a big charge of adrenaline - some kind of rush, and it, along with my determination not to crumble, carries me through.

How do we find what it takes to push on through the "forever" kind? To take the next step, and the one after that, with our "friend" constantly grinding us into the ground?

I think we all go through our regular ups and downs, which is normal. Sometimes I find that my downs are overpowering the ups - using up more than their fair share of my time & energy.

What I find helpful in those times is to take a step back, look at the big picture, and give myself some credit for doing as well as I do.

Yes, there is always room for improvement, but overall we do a very good job. I am reminded of ada's post to "Be Gentle". I like that post very much. Short & sweet, powerful message. "Be Gentle".

I do what I can to set up a positive environment - which is sometimes next to impossible when you're in a down spot. But even the smallest of things can help.

I find that it's not necessarily doing something I often enjoy, such as vegging out with my playstation (which always feels like a complete waste of time when I'm done). But rather something I know is bettering myself in some way. Maybe that's reading a constructive book, or doing a bit of exercise (even if it's just 10 push ups!).

Little baby steps can do wonders to help swing the momentum. Once that momentum is moving, it's easier to bend it to your will with even more little baby steps.

And I have noticed that my legs are strong. I carry my burden with a resilience to not crumble under it's pressure. I keep taking the next step, and the one after that, and the one after that. I don't like it - not one bit, but it will. not. beat. me.

That big football player is going to learn to like the ride I am giving it, one way or another - and I am growing that much stronger because of it.

Game on sucka.

3 Comments:

Blogger George said...

OHHHH That Sucka got SERVED!

SERVED!
SERVED!
SERVED!

That was awesome dude. The "D" does feel like that. You are absolutly right that little baby steps keep us going and the momentum builds. Thanks for the reminder.

8:19 PM  
Blogger Minnesota Nice said...

Scott,
I try to identify my baby steps each night in a journal - writing down specific decisions and actions I took that were health empowering. Then, I get one Leggo block for each thing and build a complex tower in the corner of my living room. When the blocks are used up I take a picture of it and start over. It's a tangible reminder of my efforts. (Although hard to tell any little tykes that visit that the tower is NOT A PLAYTHING) Today my acknowledgmnt was taking 3 bites outta a lucious chocolate Dairy Queen cone and chucking the rest in the trash. I have moral and ethical issues about wasting food (and anything, for that matter), but after dealing with some big health issues in the past three years, conclude that taking care of oneself is the ultimate responsibility.
Have a great week ahead. Go Twins!

6:05 PM  
Anonymous birdie said...

I have felt this way so many times. I think of diabetes like a uninvited guest who has moved into my house. And it doesn't look like they're leaving any time soon. I've decided that, though they aren't leaving, they are only getting one room to live in. They're not taking over the whole house. By being nice to them (eg. follow the "rules") they're nicer to me. And thanks to the pump they're now a less noisy housemate than they were before. I'm not happy they are there but in the end, it's still my house. I set the rules.

Which is what you are doing so well. By seeing it, articulating it, and sharing, you are taking the control back. And by sharing that process, it helps everyone else too. Be strong, but also be gentle, right? Give yourself the credit you deserve! You've earned it.

And thanks for the callout in your post. It makes me very happy to know that it has helped someone else who is dealing with diabetes.

11:32 AM  

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