Anxiety is such a big concern in our day to day lives. We’re either avoiding or craving something, all to feel “better”. I wrote this piece for DiabetesDaily.com on our anxiety and what I’ve found really helps.
Control is an illusion. Let’s face it, how many of us cringe when our doctors ask us “How good has your control been?” How do you answer that? That’s like answering how many times we caught every raindrop in a rainstorm.
It’s an overwhelming task for any mortal: we’re trying to control our bodies’ processes, which we can’t see and don’t completely understand. No wonder Diabetes Burnout is so common. So taking a deep breath and realizing control is elusive is the first step.
I used to be the queen of anxiety. I used to say things like, “I hate checking my blood sugar. It makes me so anxious when the number is high,” or “I am so afraid I’ll go low in the middle of the day at work. I’d be so embarrassed.” During the height of my anxiety, I was newly diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes and, a month later, I developed a balance disorder, stemming from an inner ear problem, which lasted 2.5 years.
At first my doctors thought I was having panic attacks, but after much testing they realized I was reacting to physical sensations coming from my ears to my brain. At best, I was dizzy and nauseous all the time. At worst, I was out on disability from work and couldn’t lift my head off the couch without vomiting.
I constantly felt like I had just done five shots of tequila. And going low was the worst – double dizziness. To label me anxious would be an understatement. I couldn’t control my lows and I couldn’t control the acute vertigo attacks. I walked in fear, but this taught me valuable lessons about the illusions of control and certainty.
1. Don’t Blame, Just Claim
While we cannot control these hidden processes, we do have responsibility to our reactions to them. We can claim our choices in this role we’ve been forced to play as people with diabetes. One of the biggest reasons we try to control is because we don’t enjoy the experience we’re having, like when our blood sugar is high – again. Not only do we physically feel horrible, but we think things that make us feel even worse. We may not stop at just feeling stupid. By the end of the day, we may have imagined the complications we’ll have for the next forty years. We want to avoid those painful experiences and have more of the happy ones.
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