Starting from scratch?

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It feels so far away: running without pain, workout out without feeling exhausted, living without draining from the wear and tear.

But I finally, after almost a year, see the light at the end of the tunnel. I’m finally walking barefoot around the house without hobbling or keeling over in pain.

It’s sometimes the small, tiny, and microscopic movements forward.

I feel hopeful and I haven’t felt that way in a long time.

I have to remember that the cycling accident is what it is, that my injuries must have their place and that I can one day push past this and to a better place.

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Sending you all love and so much light. I’m celebrating your triumphs, holding your hand for the fall downs and just riding beside you in whatever way you need for all things in between.

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t1dactiveliving 😀

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When things fall apart

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Last year, when I was away from this blog, things fell apart.

I couldn’t believe the type of deep depression I felt. It gnawed at my insides, in my body and brain, until I just gave up.

I was tired of poking my finger, giving myself insulin, everything. It was all too much.

My diagnosis was at 29 and I kept thinking, “How can I continue to do this? Stay on top of this?”

The invisible illness and its trappings were too much to handle.

On the surface, I seem so very fine. Working, building my family, traveling. On the inside, it was too much to bear.

I’m realizing I need so much more help. From myself, from friends and family. Self-care means looking at my jam-packed scheduling and starting to say no. Self-care means admitting when I’m wearing thin and doing what I need to (despite what anyone says) to feel better.

It’s a dangerous path to believe that your body has bested you. I’m trying to climb out and run, but right now I need to crawl until I can get up.

 

Pssp.

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t1dactiveliving.

Creating this was only a few years ago, but it feels like a lifetime.

Writing hasn’t been easy.

Being vulnerable with your most intimate thoughts and feelings is hard. Incredibly hard at times.

I’ve been enjoying the “break” but I’m by no means leaving as a source of support.

 

The past while I’ve really been reflecting on what t1dactiveliving means. And what I want at the end of the day, is to help people, even if it’s just one person. So I’m planning something new, a different medium of connecting, in the hopes that others won’t feel as alone, confused and scared as I was.

That’s it for now. I hope you are all doing well.

 

 

The Body Shutdown: Feeling Like Your Body is Telling You to Die

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Last night, I think I consumed an all-time high of carbs. I was slurping in Coke with a straw, my lips barely able to grasp the stupid thing. Candy, chocolate, you name it, I ate it.

My stomach was churning and I just laid on my couch, feeling the energy being sucked right out of me.

That’s when things got weird. I’m not sure if I ever felt this way before (maybe I blocked it out of my mind), but last night, I felt my body shutting down slowly.

Breathing became eerily calm and slow. My body felt light and airy. My physical body felt defeated.

It was over an hour before I felt like something inside me sparked and back I came. This was one of the most frightening experiences. And yet today, if you saw me, it was like nothing ever happened.

This. is. invisible. illness.

Drawing it All Out: Body Mapping for Diabetes

 

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I’m lying down on a life-size piece of brown paper, having my body be outlined like I’m in kindergarten. At 33-years-old, I’m surrounded by paint, Mr. Sketch scented markers, and even crayons. Do I feel foolish or childish? Yeah.

This is what every Thursday looked like for me as I took my first ever Body Mapping For Diabetes workshop. It was a 6-week commitment that took me on a wild ride through my life…back before my diagnosis and into the depths of my belief systems about what it meant to live with a chronic illness.

“Participants will be using a life-sized sketch of themselves to map out their own narrative of diabetes. These stories will provide the basis for conversations around some of the challenges of living with diabetes. No background in drawing or art is required.

The body mapping technique was first developed by artist Jane Solomon, in her work with women living with HIV/AIDS in South Africa.”

-DiabetesTalk.ca

Don’t get it twisted: the inner work was hard. It wasn’t as if I drew myself on a large paper and finally had some type of cookie-cutter Hollywood ending (me and diabetes holding hands into the sunset).

There were days that what I discovered was painful. And confusing.

When you take action to deal with your relationship with any illness, it’s important to realize that you will be opening yourself up to vulnerability and for me, it included a lot of shame. I still struggle today with telling people I have diabetes. Deep deep down, I feel that I am flawed, that I’m “damaged goods”, and that their rejection of me means I’m just not worthy to be here.

What this program reaffirmed and brought to light was that I am much more than someone who lives with diabetes. It is so easy to create a single-story narrative of your life, when in fact, there are so many facets that make you, you. And knowing that is essential to healing.

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Getting back to basics is an incredibly powerful tool. During this art therapy, I drew out circles of my support system, illustrated major life events since birth and symbolized the effects of diabetes both mentally and physically. What I just described is only the tip of the iceberg.

I wish this was available sooner. I’m eternally grateful that I got the chance to see this program from start to end, and now, like always, I move forward armed with more knowledge, another form of support and most of all, hope for a brighter future.

To learn more about Body Mapping for Diabetes, click here.

J

Confessions on World Diabetes Day #WDD

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I’m not going to search “cure for diabetes”, because in all likelihood, I’m going to get results such as tea from Asia, a pill from a company with no address or some type of scary diet that involves me only eating with my left hand and on Tuesdays.

I don’t live day by day hoping for a cure. A cure doesn’t even cross my mind as something feasible. Maybe that’s the pessimist in me but I really live like there will never be a cure.

Maybe that’s a blessing and a curse all rolled into one.

Now, four years later since my diagnosis, I am sure of a few things that I never thought I would be.

  1. Whatever you think is bad, could be much worse.

Diabetes puts things into perspective. Fast. To say that I hit my anxiety and depression bottom at the time of my diagnosis would be a huge understatement. Although it was a burning, incredibly painful, dark time, I have come to realize that things could have been much, much worse.

I am alive. I have access to insulin. I am not in danger of being killed for having a disease. I try to think of this as much as I can. Things can always be worse.

2. It is up to us to help break the barrier when it comes to talking about mental health.

I’m surprised at how little support there is when it comes to mental health and diabetes. It’s certainly something I had to fight for in my own health journey. We have to raise our voices and create, demand and advocate for more resources. So many suffer in silence, and we are at a pivotal time where we can help bring this issue to light.

3. We all want self-acceptance. We all want to feel unconditional love. Diabetes and any other autoimmune disease can make this process 100 x more difficult. For me, it’s been such a treacherous road. And I’m not sure what lies ahead. All I know is, I am so incredibly thankful for the people I’ve met through my diabetes journey. I couldn’t imagine life without them. So to you, you know who you are…thank you. You guys have pulled me out of storms and I hope to spend my life providing you the same type of love and encouragement that you’ve shown me.

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Happy World Diabetes Day,

Jess

 

 

 

Diabetes Defense

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Does this ever go away: When people speak about diabetes, I automatically get my back up. Is what you’re saying true? Do you even know what you are talking about?!

The fact is, I don’t know everything there is to know, and for someone who has lived with this disease for 4 years, my knowledge is pretty limited I’m sure.

If I flip the switch, I’m sure there are tons of instances where I have spoken about a medical condition or any topic for that matter-and in silence, maybe someone cringed at my ignorance.

So how can I feel better and more comfortable when the topic of diabetes comes up?