Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Those Three Relationships

We recently had a Twitter discussion during the weekly #dsma chat involving the Life Stages of Diabetes. Basically, the premise is this: Living with diabetes can be tough and we never get a break. It's ALWAYS on our mind, with everything we do.  It’s quite easy to feel burnt out from everything we have to do to stay healthy.  When that happens, it can help to focus on the things, and the people, who make all our hard work worth it.

How did relationships with other people help inspire you to take care of yourself?

For me, that answer depends on which particular life stage we're talking about. Diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at age five, I've gone through a few and so each stage represents a different relationship that essentially motivated me in some way to better manage my diabetes.

As a Child & Teenager, Young Adult: My friends
Maybe it wasn't so much being "inspired" during these years as it was more a sense of my wanting to not be different. Wanting to play baseball or be in school without being an outcast. Not having to sit on the gym floor and watch overs in gym class, or on the bench while others went out onto the baseball field to play while I had to sit. Or not being able to finish a swimming lap because of a Low. Wanting to just be "normal" and be with my friends. Same when it came to those dating years, and those times when I wanted to be able to drive around with those people important to me without any issues.

Sure, it may not have always been a particular relationship in those years that motivated me to better D-Management. Sometimes it was just a feeling, or a larger vision. But this is about specific relationships, I think, so we'll stay on that focus.

The past decade: The-Girlfriend-Who-Became-My-Wife
The relationship that would inspire me to take care of myself the most has been the woman who'd become my wife. You know, my Loving and Supporting Spouse (aka Suzi). I've written about this before and mentioned it during this March discussion on Twitter, but here it is again: She made me want to live a long time and be around for a long and fruitful future together. No longer was this all just about me and my D-Management, but it was bigger than my life. It was about us. And everything that would evolve into as time went on. She's the reason why I want to take care of myself, and why I can feel so depressed when I get so burnt out by diabetes and slack on doing that. Her support and love is pivotal, and so that's the Relationship Who and How that's inspired me the most through the years.

New Support That Keeps Me Accountable
But yes, there is another relationship that is awfully inspiring: the Diabetes Online Community. This group of ever-expanding friends has been life-changing, but in a different way. While my wife and everything that relationship represents is the Why and Underlying Motivation, the DOC then helps me actually fulfull that task of staying on task and coping with the day-to-day - so as not to burden others with this D-Life. More in that "getting it" and "I'm not alone" type of way that one might crave for an entire lifetime before finding this community. Others have written it more eloquently than I am here, but the simple fact is that everyone I've had the pleasure of meeting and interacting with online has been an inspiration in managing my own diabetes even more. Just talking with people who you share a common bond, and can laugh and cry and be serious or joking with is very powerful. That helps keep me accountable, and the more I interact the more I feel like I should be doing more on my own D-Management and that in turn keeps me on task. It helps me fulfill that ever-important and always-in-my-heart goal of being the healthiest and most-manageable-as-can-be diabetic I can for my love.  To be who I am for our future, whatever lies ahead.

All of these relationships come together, and they join all the other influential and important ones out there - with other friends, with my parents, with coworkers, and just people in general who inspire in different ways and teach you to be a better person.

"This post is my April entry in the DSMA Blog Carnival.  If you’d like to participate too, you can get all of the information at http://diabetessocmed.com/2011/april-dsma-blog-carnival/"

4 comments:

The DL said...

Fantastic post! So honest and true. It is interesting how our motivations behind our care changes throughout life. It is so nice to hear you have such supportive people in your life. It sucks to be different sometimes, which is why the DOC is so nice, we aren't different here-were the same! lol, I know it sounds crazy, but here we are all normal.

Trev said...

Great Post My Friend! Being new to the DOC community, I am beginning to realize that affiliating with fellow D-People is rather therapuetic! Cheers.

Karen G said...

I never thought of looking at how our d-inspirations change and differ over the stages of our life - what a great point!! :)

Robert said...

A shout out to the parents too! I got type 1 later than normal so was looking after myself from day one but both our kids are type 1's too (jackpot!). Everyday there is insulin to work out or carbs to work out + site changes, teacher liasion, being there for sports, being there for camps, complexities with playdates / babysitting ie hypo's food times - as you know D is always there. With kids you do the worrying so they can be as normal as possible. I call my wife a type 3 diabetic as she has 3 of us to worry about! Yay the D-Parents!!