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 friendsMaybe 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-WifeThe 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 AccountableBut 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/"