Living with a chronic condition like diabetes necessitates the maintaining of a certain level of consciousness that those without such a condition may not understand. Diabetes is a mindset, and it’s also a way of life. It isn’t something that can be turned off on a whim, although many diabetics may want to do just that from time to time.
Whether an individual is living with diabetes, Hepatitis C, fibromyalgia, HIV, an anxiety disorder, or a thyroid condition, the daily reality of that illness, condition, or syndrome is a constant reminder that you’re different from other people.
Those of us with such conditions live a life wherein our condition or illness may not define us, but it does indeed offer parameters, limitations, and boundaries that impact our life in both small and large ways.
While we may in some way allow ourselves to be defined by our condition (ie: “My name is Kevin and I’m a diabetic.”), we also have other definitions that define us as well. These other aspects of our self-identity may include father, mother, student, carpenter, nurse, teacher, sister, traveler, or painter---anything that defines our lives in both positive and negative ways.
At various points in our lives, we may rail against our identity vis-à-vis our illness or chronic condition, and at other times, we may gain some direct benefit from it (ie: applying for disability).
Whether you count your condition as part of your identity or not, this is a important phenomenon and tendency to understand, even if it currently holds no meaning for you. After all, an adolescent diabetic may view her condition in a much different light than a diabetic who is celebrating his 50th birthday. It’s perspective and perception that can inform our identity, and that perspective and perception can change over time.
Living with diabetes or another chronic condition indeed necessitates a certain thoughtfulness and circumspection. Lifestyle choices can have a direct impact on the trajectory of your diabetes, including, but not limited to, exercise, diet, alcohol intake, stress levels, sleep habits, and workstyle. And we must also guard against depression and anxiety,
Whether you resent these apparent restrictions, or you embrace them as par for the diabetic course, there’s little doubt that your diabetes is on your mind at most every turn. Diabetes informs many aspects of your life, and if you want to avoid the negative consequences of poor diabetic control, then that level of conscious awareness and vigilance needs to remain strong.
Living a high-quality diabetic life is altogether possible, and many do it every day. When you’re able and willing to embrace the challenge, applying critical thinking and conscientious attention to the path before you, there’s no doubt that you’ll come out ahead as your conscientiousness pays vast short- and long-term dividends.