What is the Best Motivator?
I've heard that fear is a pretty good motivator. Over my two plus decades with diabetes, I've heard the "fear tactic" from many medical professionals. Actual statements: "Make sure you test or your eyes will become diseased and you'll go blind." And "If you don't take care of yourself, you'll lose a leg when you're older." And of course, "If you eat that, you'll end up with complications and then you'll have to live with that." (see also: ugh)
Fear has never been a good motivator for me. When I'm scared, I have a tendency to hole up and hide. When I think about the future of my diabetes, I know there is a good chance I will have some kind of complication. I have sat in the endocrinologist's office far too many times to tune out the threat of "what might happen." I know what could be brewing. Like it or not, I understand the effects of unmanaged diabetes. I work hard to manage diabetes. But I'm not so hot with managing the fear.
And if, for even a second, I forgot what diabetes complications may be waiting in the wings, I have many things to remind me. Like the pamphlets at doctor's offices. And the commercials on TV. And videos about how diabetes can cost you a leg.
That video makes me so frustrated because if I had seen it before the diabetes online community had bloomed, I would have been so distressed. The images in that video would have haunted me, but not in a way that would impact my diabetes favorably. That kind of video makes me want to stick my head in the sand and pretend it's not happening, instead of taking charge and control of my own disease and realizing I have the ability to impact my future health TODAY.
I think it's more important to remember that there is a good chance I WON'T have some kind of diabetes-related complication. That some combination of good care and good support and good luck (yes, I think some of it is just plain luck) will usher me into my later years without a scary complication. Fear is not the best motivator for me - hope is far more effective. I hope to be healthy for a long time. And it's hope that keeps me testing my blood sugar every morning, working with my doctor to best-manage diabetes, and monitoring this monster closely. I don't want images of amputation flashing in front of my eyes every time I go to grab my meter. I'd rather think about blowing out the candles on my 75th birthday party, a strong and healthy old bird.
Fear? No thanks. Give me hope any day.