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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I 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 or the egg” questions?