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Guest Post: Type D Personality.

Jacquie's writing makes me laugh, makes me smirk with recognition, and makes me think.  You can read her blog over at Typical Type 1, and she's also written here before about diabetes and jury duty.  And I'm thrilled that she's agreed to guest post here again, this time writing about the "Type D Personality."  Take it away, Jacquie!

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Jacquie, blogger at Typical Type 1I often hear it (or read it online) from others who are living with diabetes: “I'm a control freak. Diabetes made me this way.” Non-diabetics expect the same from me, it seems. They’ll make statements like, “You must be super-disciplined to take care of yourself that way.”

I wish the above statements held true for me, but they are as distant from my reality as humanly possible. In fact, I'm so far away from a Type A personality, I'm barely in the alphabet. Yes, I do my best to keep myself healthy, but I would say that -- as far as self-discipline, ambition and organization go -- diabetes self-care has emerged as my singular talent.

If there is one thing that twenty years with diabetes have taught me, it's that control is mostly an illusion. Sure, I can manage my blood sugar -- count carbs, test basal rates, correct for highs and feed the lows -- but I'm never completely in control. There’s always the possibility that a rogue hormonal surge will send my numbers skyward for an afternoon, or that I'll get a kink in my pump tubing, or that the bagel I had for breakfast wasn't as carb-crazy as I bolused for. And really? I have no choice but to be okay with that. Anything else would drive me even more insane than I already am.

Maybe it's because I expend so much energy on pharmacy trips and cereal measuring that I don't have much left for dusting and bed making. (And, you know, consistently getting to work on time and folding my laundry.) Or maybe the idea that life is inherently uncontrollable has influenced the way I look at everything from unmatched socks to insurance paperwork. With diabetes management, as with a million other things, we can only do our best, and we can only exert control over a few factors.

Of course, it’s possible that I was always destined to be a messy-desk-having, socks-on-the-floor, nap-taking slacker, and that diabetes has nothing to do with it. But I’ll take a life lesson from diabetes – or blame a personality flaw on it -- any time I can.

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Does diabetes give your life structure?  Would your life have the same structure if you didn't have diabetes?  Or is this one of those diabetes "chicken and the egg" questions?


YES! A fellow Type B Type 1! I'm totally the same way. Let's procrastinate together or something. Tomorrow. Which is also when I'll change my lancet.

LOVE LOVE LOVE reading your stuff!

Haha, nice post! Contrary to popular opinion...I'm much like you say you are :) I was messy before diabetes and I'm messy after diabetes. I AM a control freak, but, still messy, all over the place, forgetful, and a major procrastinator. What the hell? Oh well!

Great post :)As a type 1, I've been told I have the 'perfect' personality that goes along with needing to maintain a 24 hour disease...aka I like structure. BUT I also like a break. Waiting for that day!

This is awesome!! What a good post. I have very organized chaotic diabetes. My opened insulin is in my makeup bag, my pump supplies are in my closet. My extra testing supplies are in the basement, my extra insulin is in the refrigerator. If anything is out of place, I can't find it, but having supplies all over the house works for me haha.
I'm glad you decided that diabetes is more important than dusting :)

I'm most organized with my goodiesf when it comes to diabetes. I try to take helluva good care of myself in terms of all the calculations, bolus corrections and self discipline at the snack table, then around me outside of testing and self control, I'm pretty relaxed. While kinda, everything in my huse has its place, like my tester, just in case, you know? Um, ok maybe D did that?

I'm a T1 control freak, minorly obsessive. But I haven't always been, whereas I have, pretty much, always been diabetic (I was 4 at diagnosis). I developed control freakery quite independently of anything else, but it sure helped when I got my pump!

Funny you should ask. I've spent most of my adult life morbidly obese. Gone on diets, lost twenty or thirty pounds, and then got bored with them and got fat again.

And then my daughter was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, and suddenly measuring food wasn't just something I should do, it was something I had to do. And if I was going to measure her food, I might as well measure mine as well, right? So I went back on the diet, and lost over 100 pounds.

Now I'm struggling with keeping it off -- I'll always love eating, and always hate exercising, I expect -- but I strongly suspect that if it hadn't been for her diabetes, I never would have gotten this far.

Perfect post of diabetes management. Life in general can muck up the BG numbers. Thanks for the great post. Christine

Ok, bring it on, fellow commentors, this I wanna hear! Here's my deal: do I really get less done because of diabetes? If I'm more tired at night and go to sleep instead of doing eight more things, is that D? If I pull a late night and get sick and that lasts two months, D again? Does diabetes really take up so much extra time and energy???? What do you think????

The more I've tried to control my D, the more it's done to prove I cannot... My loved ones would classify me as a control freak, but I think life and D has mellowed me out over the past 2 years...and my control is finally good.

Like Kerri says, D doesn't define us, but it helps explain certain aspects about us... Suki - I try hard not to blame D for a lot, but I do think that good control and healthy living requires a lot of time. effort and energy. The hope being, that if you take care of yourself, you should be healthier to do all those other things...

I'm a total disorganized whatchamacallit. I don't like to cook, or make my bed, or all those other things that make people civilized!
But I DO take care of my diabetes, because I learned the hard way what happens if I don't (a coma).
I don't think PWDs are any different from other people -- my sister-in-law is an immaculate housekeeper, and works very hard, and has EVERYTHING in order. I think my mother liked her more than she liked me, LOL!

Thanks, Julie. I completely agree. Even without diabetes, taking good care of ourselves takes a lot of time and effort . . . .

Suki, Sometimes I am just plain tired or lazy. But most of the time diabetes keeps me from getting things done. I am an organized person and D does take up my time. It is a full time job. There is so much to do. BG tests, changing pump sets, logging test results and carb intake, counting carbs,ordering supplies, picking up supplies, dealing with insurance, doctors apts, dealing with low BGs, dealing with high BGs, arranging proper meals, reading D blogs and D websites, changing out pump sets every other day (hoping that the set will last and work),trying to schedule the day around diabetes, etc...
That is exhausting. I am my own patient. And I need, scratch that, I have to take care of myself no matter how I feel. By that I mean if I have a low BG and I feel like the floor has dropped out below me, I need to act and take care of the situation. If I am too tired to head to the gym to work out in the morning - I know I need to go anyway to keep my BGs in the right range.

How tough is it to fit anything else in? We do our best. And my focus has to be on D. Hopefully the sink of dishes will get done, the laundry folded, the Holiday decorations put out or put away. But if not, oh well. I can't do everything. Know any good housekeepers. Happy New Year. Christine

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