In a fine essay about Type 1 diabetes, Riva Greenberg conveys how much mental energy is necessary to “stay between the lines” –e.g., keep blood sugar within the narrow range displayed on her continuous glucose monitor:
If you met me…you would have no idea that half my mind space is not free, like yours. It’s busy doing what it needs to do to stay between the lines: guessing at the amount of carbohydrates in my meals, then checking my blood sugar to see how well I guessed. If not well, taking another injection or eating.
Or I’m preparing and drawing up my shot of insulin, also guessing at the dose, and remembering where on my body I took my last three injections so I don’t inject in the same place which can cause scar tissue.
Or I may be switching my syringes, checking my stock of pen needles, putting on a new sensor, ordering more supplies, and feeling my blood sugar plummet when I only meant to lower it a small amount. Then berating myself for over-compensating…
…That’s why the simplest I can put it is Type 1 diabetes is staying between the red and yellow lines all day and night, every day and every night.
Well said. What’s more, the incessant chatter that dominates the inner life of people with diabetes (PWDs) can feel like a terrible burden. Much of the time, nearly everyone has what some meditators call a “monkey mind,” which leaps constantly from one thought branch to another, one feeling to another. But if you are an insulin-dependent PWD, you have many extra branches for your monkey mind to grasp, and it is generating more noise, more instructions, more screeching, than the minds of non-diabetics. And you feel like you need those branches in order to get through the day. Greenburg conveys a distinct sense of being embattled, grim and weary because of this, which I’ve often shared.
One way to ease this burden, like every other burden, is to laugh. Chuck Eichten offers an uncannily accurate picture of a PWD’s inner babbling about food when things are not going smoothly on the metabolic front: [Read more…] about Diabetes, Inner Chatter and the Monkey Mind