I saw this post on twitter recently by Kim/Diabetes - aka @txtngmypancreas and it got me thinking about what I hold back on when I blog about my diabetes and why. I believe my biggest reason is because I don't fully understand how I feel about my diabetes at times, which can be incredibly frustrating, but how else will I understand it unless I address it?
So one of my "this is really hard and I'm struggling but I'm HERE" stories revolves around the way I see myself - how I physically see myself when I look in the mirror.
I look in the mirror and I don't like what I see. It's not the fact that I have an insulin pump bungee jumping from the side of my stomach, the little pin prick marks on my finger tips from testing my blood sugars, the yellow bruise from a previous cannula that I put in at a dodgy angle or yanked out in my sleep... No, what I don't like is my figure and every day I wish I looked different.
12 years ago, at the age of 16 I was very aware of how I looked, what I wore and how quickly my body had changed. I'd started to develop lovely curves (I was finally becoming a woman!) but I soon lost them due to undiagnosed Type 1 diabetes. I lost a lot of weight in a short space of time and looked gaunt and fragile - at times I really felt like I was going to break in half. Oh the joys of undiagnosed diabetes! After my diagnosis however, my curves soon returned as I started to take insulin and become healthy again. Then, due to 10 years of being stubborn and neglecting my diabetes, failing to take my insulin and not listening to what my body wanted/needed, my weight dropped again. Following an admission it would rise to a normal range and drop again when I resumed my regime of neglect... rise, fall, rise, fall... Talk about a yo-yo diet from hell.
Now when I look in the mirror and I'm very aware that my weight hasn't fallen for 2 years. Perhaps this is a good thing in other people's eyes (my doctors for example), but for me, my weight consumes a lot of my time. I spend far too much time trying not to think about it which, in turn, leads to me thinking about it. I'm very aware that it's something I don't like about myself and it always sits at the back of my mind, nagging away at me. The temptation to revert is often strong. Sadly, every time I eat I need to think, in quite a lot of detail, about food; the carbohydrate content, the fat content (which always leads me to the calorie content), the portion size, the last time I ate, the next time I plan to eat, if I'll burn any of it off with exercise, if I'm going to be less active and burning very little off etc etc. I do feel that this constant flow of information contributes to some quite negative feelings about my weight because I'm so aware of what I'm putting into my body and the affect it may have.
On the other hand though, is this necessarily a bad thing? Surely being aware of what's going into my body is a good thing? In recent months, since studying bits and pieces about nutrition, I've learnt huge amounts about what my body needs in order to function and repair itself when necessary, so why does food still instil some fear into me? At the back of my mind I feel that it may be due to the way that diabetes is portrayed, the stereotype that is projected to the public with such negative connotations, but my honest answer is that I just don't know. I suppose that's the point to this blog - my diabetes has impacted on me in a way that I can't understand, that my HCPs don't seem to understand, and there isn't (as far as I can tell) a text book answer.
I suppose there's no other way to end this other than saying that, yeah... my life isn't as sweet as it sometimes seems.