Today is “world diabetes day” and a day that strikes a tender, emotional part of my life.
Some of you may or may not know my entire story, and if you have not read “My Type 1 Diabetes Journey” I highly recommend starting there. Those of you that do know, know that out of the blue almost 6 years ago I, a “healthy-on-the-outside” college student, was in a diabetic coma and shortly there after diagnosed with an auto-immune disease, Type 1 diabetes.
Although I have spoken and written many times on why I eventually came to be thankful for my disease, this disease and the day in and day out ramifications are tough—beyond tough, something that until you truly live with this disease or are married to someone with it or have a Type 1 child, you will never truly understand (and I don’t mean that negatively against anyone that tries to help).
Type 1 Diabetes is something you have to constantly think about, despite trying hard not to become obsessed—but in a sense you have to in order to survive. Between constant finger pricking, making sure you have all your medicine and supplies (there is no quick running out the door), stressing about restaurants when with friends or traveling, stressing about what other people think of you for having to take shots with a needle or having to make alterations to your dinner order not because you are stuck up but because if you don’t you will instantly and physically get very sick. I could go on and on and on.
Headshots by Lindsey Marie
There is a huge physical side to this disease, but there also is a huge emotional side—something I don’t think is talked about enough. I can tell you from first hand experiences, that emotions play a huge role in my day to day managing this disease.
Health is not just about what you put in your mouth or about eliminating toxins (something that has MAJORLY helped me this past year), but it also is about your emotional well being and promoting a spirit of positivity with what and who you choose to surround yourself with as well as taking time out of every day to take care of yourself.
So today, I thought I would touch on a little something different—situations and activities in my life that help the emotional side of life in dealing with an auto-immune disease, and trust me, you don’t need to have a disease to implement this in your life!
Ways I Emotionally Support My Auto-Immune Disease, Type 1 Diabetes
Netflix & Chill
Ok ok, before you think the urban dictionary or whatever the teenagers meaning of this phrase, hang with me! I truly mean just “Netflix & Chill.” All my close family, friends and awesome husband know that I truly need “me” time in order to function—that my friends is not selfish, that is simply me recognizing what it takes for me to be the best possible human I can be.
With Type 1 Diabetes or other auto-immune diseases, there are truly some rough days, despite how healthy you eat, actually today, I currently am having one. I have found, that even if I need to curl up in bed with a movie at 1pm in the afternoon, that is what is best for my blood sugar. You would be amazed at how a walk outside, a big glass of water, turning on your essential oil diffuser and then “Netflix & chill” truly will help your blood sugar temporarily as well as long term. Truly putting away the noise and stress of the world and forgeting all I have to do, to lay in bed for a few hours honestly helps my blood sugar and auto-immune issues.
I have never liked drama or gossip, and I can tell you my blood sugar really doesn’t like drama. Something as simple as a person on the street or in the mall arguing with their spouse can stress me out and spike my blood sugar. Or something has dramatic as this Presidential election and the nasty social media comments put me in a blood sugar spiral for several days.
We can’t avoid these situations, but we can choose to remove ourselves from situations, even if that is physically removing yourself from a public or even family gathering. For me, most recently it was deleting the Facebook app from my phone because it was constantly stressing me out. Do what is best for you.
Taking Care of Yourself—It’s Not Selfish
I probably sound like a broken record, because I say this way too much, especially to the people I care about the most.
Taking care of yourself—making healthy food for yourself, exercising, saying no, or treating yourself—will make you a better, friendlier and more productive human. Don’t undervalue the importance of taking care of YOU. Often that is excusing myself to go to bed or go have some quiet time, often that is saying no to events or requests. Sometimes that is getting my nails done or going for a drive with the husband, or buying pretty flowers. Do what makes you feel relaxed, beautiful and confident about YOU.
Whatever you do, don’t let anyone make you feel inferior for saying no to certain foods or a slice of birthday cake!
Relax with Essential Oils
This has been my saving grace at times, especially on travel days (getting medicine through TSA is no joke) or on super stressful days. Essential oils do not cure, but they can greatly help!!! I have seen significant improvement on my blood sugar and emotions with essential oils!
Have your Support “Person”
There are times when I break out crying for no reason or get really upset and sorta fly off the handle for no reason, and I know from experience that is directly linked to my blood sugar issues. If you live with someone, are dating someone, or married like me, make sure your “person” knows that you struggle with this issue—does this give you an excuse to be mean or loose it at times, no, not at all, so apologize for those moments. But learn to start recognize that when your blood sugar is off, your temperament can and will change!
I can’t tell you how thankful I am for my husband supporting me in this lifestyle and always putting my disease first when it comes to restaurant choices, events or what food we eat for dinner. I truly would not thrive as well without him.
Don’t be afraid to think superficial for a moment or two
After being diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, I gained a lot of weight which beyond humiliated me. I mean I was a 20 year old girl and couldn’t fit into anything (BTW, this was not weight I needed to gain, this was weight due to excess medicine & blood sugar issues)—I was humiliated and didn’t want to accept myself. Eventually I worked through my emotional issues of accepting this “new” me and got back to my normal weight and vitality, but you know what, it is ok to want to take pride in the way you look and feel—I truly believe there is a healthy sense of self-pride and superficiality. For me one part of that meant purchasing clothes that fit my body and truly made me feel confident—don’t let anyone make you feel ashamed for how you look but also, don’t feel ashamed if you need to purchase a new wardrobe (while you are adjusting to new life with an auto-immune disease) to make yourself feel ok on the outside.
Truly my life motto and I mean that whole-heartedly—so much so that after years of “debate” I got them written on me forever. It is not always easy to choose joy, and not something that I always do, I truly work at it, but the end result is worth it.
We have a choice—we don’t have a choice to choose the circumstances that come our way, but we do have a choice on our reactions, something my Dad taught me as a child. We can get angry or try to figure it all out, but in the end this won’t help us, only hurt us. For me, I have chosen to choose joy and find something positive about this disease—which lead me to passionate sharing my story with you and helping others choose joyful, vibrant living.
I love this so much! I was diagnosed type 1 very suddenly almost 2 years ago & have been fighting to regain my health ever since. So much is talked about the physical side effects (hello weight gain & shot bruised!) but not so much about the emotional side effects. This post was very encouraging for me & gave me some good new tips. Thank you!
Very inspiring post. I am fortunate to not be living with an auto-immune disease, however, all of these tips can be helpful and encouraging for ANYONE. I love following you and all your work. Much love. -Lauren
So true! Thank you for your kind words!