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[IP] Living with Diabetes Psychologically

I've been following the discussion of friends and family with great
interest -- different people express themselves differently, but I
really don't think there is all that much disagreement.

I've always felt that, as diabetics, we're in a damned if you do, damned
if you don't situation.

All the adorable little children are just that, really cute and active
and ALIVE and healthy-looking, and it's hard for the public to
understand that they are children at risk -- it's a WHOLE lot easier to
feel compassion for a child in a wheelchair.

We WANT to be active and happy and lead as normal a life as possible,
free of discrimination, but we ALSO want to receive the accommodations
we need in school, sports, camp, work, etc. That's a complex idea, and
hard for the public to understand -- to them, it seems like we want it
both ways.  

Much of what we do goes on in our heads, and the public doesn't see
that, either -- all they see is the syringe (or pushing the buttons on
our "pagers", and they don't know how much thought has gone into making
the decision of how much insulin to take, nor do they feel the anxiety
of what will happen if I made the wrong decision. 

All they see is that I just slipped a glucose tablet into my mouth --
they didn't perceive the panicky feeling of going hypo, nor do they feel
the icky-sticky feeling of being too high, because they can't see it.
And if I talk about it too much, their eyes glaze over, because they
REALLY can't understand. 

I figure we need a lot of patience, and good humor -- we're not dealing
with evil intentions, just ignorance that may not even know it's

As far as what to tell a child, I really think it depends on the child's
age and maturity level, but I think you can be honest. You don't have to
go into all the details, but the answer to why I have to take insulin
and measure BGs, etc. is surely "in order to stay healthy, and not feel
sick." At some point, they become aware that diabetes can cause
complications, and again, the honest answer is that no one knows whether
a certain individual will get complications, so we do the best we can
with what we have. We try to keep good BGs not only because it improves
our CHANCES of not getting complications (but no guarantee), but we
really DO feel better when our BGs are in a good range. 

Immediate feelings need to be recognized -- there ARE times when it's
emotionally too much, and that needs to be accepted -- the feeling is
valid, even if there is no choice as to action. ANY chronic disease is a
pain in the butt -- and just because there ARE others that are worse
doesn't make me feel any better. 

HOWEVER, I think the attitude needs to be that we work on accepting what
we have to accept and get on with our lives because we can't change it.
Possibilities of death and disability mustn't be allowed to become
obsessions -- if something happens, we'll deal with it, but why worry
when it just might NOT happen!

OK, end of soapbox -- a rather moderate one if you know me! 
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 Natalie A. Sera, with all her ducks in a row!
 Type Weird, pumping!
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