There are days where it seems no matter what I do – or how well I think I am doing – everywhere I turn, I see the efforts of my diabetes self-care being undermined.
As I scrolled my social feeds today, I saw an ad from a diabetes device company promising they would provide better diabetes control. Bullshit. Your pump will help me fine-tune the way insulin is delivered into my body. It cannot control my diabetes. I know this because I have been wearing a pump for over 16 years now, and although most of the time I’m doing okay with my diabetes management, I rarely feel that it’s controlled. (This piece by Riva Greenberg nails the control myth!)
And they promised freedom which is a really odd word to use considering that when wearing a pump, I actually don’t feel free. I feel tethered and connected 24/7 to a device that I need to keep me alive. (Which, incidentally, I don’t really mind and is my preferred way to stay alive. But still, ‘free’ suggests unrestricted, spontaneous, uninhibited – all words that definitely don’t describe diabetes, even when using a pump!)
I stumbled across something else promising that their LCHF diet plan would immediately make me ‘feel better’, ‘control my diabetes’ and ‘easily eat well’. Which sounds brilliant, but it’s not true. There is no acknowledgement of the difficulty and effort that such an eating plan takes. I know it does – I eat pretty much low carb all the time, but it is tough. And it’s not for everyone. And more than anything, it takes time and there are occasions I don’t stick to it.
Why is it that even with these promises, I am not achieving the utopia of their claims? It must be me, right? I must not be good enough. And obviously I’m not trying hard enough. I’m not smart enough; not strong enough; not good enough. My insecurities come to the fore, wrapped in a blanket, and I wonder if I am the only one having such a tough time…
I’ve stopped reading about so-called wellness experts these days. Too much time spent down the rabbit hole that is fools such as Belle Gibson (I noticed last week she is back extolling the benefits of some ridiculous restricting diet plan) or Sarah Wilson or Vani Hari made me realise that nothing good comes from anyone promising to cure anything with sunshine and kale. (Side note: my husband thinks kale was invented five years ago by some hipster in Brooklyn or Brunswick, and before that it didn’t exist.)
As much as I try to avoid these sites, there is an inescapable and constant stream of reminders of the green, clean, super foods I’m not eating, or the stream of data, graphs and algorithms I’m not analysing, feeding my insecurities, telling me that I am not doing enough, not being enough, that I am Simply.Not.Enough.
I don’t ever feel that I am ticking all the boxes I need to for my management to be as good as it could be. I don’t ever feel that I am doing all the things that contribute to me being the healthiest version of myself. I feel that I regularly fall well-short of ‘doing well’, even when I am doing my best and I am doing all I can and I am trying really hard.
Feeling good about diabetes isn’t only about doing all the daily management tasks – it’s also about being strong enough to block out the messages that tell us we’re not doing enough. That is the tough bit – developing a tough skin, wearing blinkers and focusing on what we are doing and making that meaningful. Sometimes, those diabetes insecurities are huge and avoiding the fuel that feeds them is really, really tough.