Diabetes Blogs

Health as Metaphor: Are you feeling Herculean or Sisyphean?

Your health can be viewed in many ways, and metaphor is an interesting tool with which to approach your wellness and diabetes with consciousness and intention. Metaphors have been used for milennia as a method for describing or putting into context various aspects of the human condition, and diabetes and personal wellness are equally open to such metaphoric consideration. Even the prestigious Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine discusses the uses of metaphor and narrative in medical practice. 

herculesManaging diabetes can sometimes require Herculean efforts.Sisyphus and Hercules

Sisyphus is a myth in which the man names Sisyphus is doomed to roll a boulder up the side of a mountain every day for the rest of eternity. He sweats and grunts and works all day, only to have the boulder roll back down the mountain at the end of the day. Diabetes and chronic illness can feel like a "sisyphean" struggle, and  we just have to get up every morning, put our feet on the floor, and start anew with hope that our own struggle will feel less burdensome than that unfortunate mythological man. 

In comparison, Hercules was a mythical hero, and his so-called "herculean" efforts found him vanquishing his foes, defeating hordes of enemies, finding the solution, and otherwise using his prowess, intelligence, and strength to get it done and do it well. 

Our lives can sometimes feel herculean, and sometimes they can feel sisyphean. Perspective is important, and we can consciously choose which mythological figure we want to inhabit. 

How We Listen

Have you ever heard someone say that you need to keep your finger on the pulse of something in order to know what's happening? Sure, nurses and doctors take your pulse to check your heart rhythm and rate, and you can also keep your metaphoric finger on the pulse of your diabetes in order to know what's what. 

Meanwhile, we can keep an ear to the rails, our finger to the metaphoric wind, and we can read the writing on the wall.

It's interesting that we have so many metaphors that address how we listen and how we pay attention; but then again, maybe it shouldn't be all that surprising. Paying attention is what we need to do when it comes to our health and well-being, and don't we really have to pay attention if we want our diabetes to be under control? We remain aware of our nutrition, our hydration, the ways in which we maintain our fitness, and the expiration dates on our medications and prescriptions. 

Listening is everything. Are you listening to your body? 

Metaphor Can Be Your Friend

However you use metaphor, it's up to you, but it can really be your friend. When you're faced with a health challenge, consider whether you want to summon the frustration and suffering of Sisyphus, or the heroic strength of Hercules. If you want to keep your ear to the rails, do so with the knowledge that you can listen with clarity of mind and purpose, and then read the writing on the wall in order to help you make an informed decision. 

You can run around to your doctors appointments like "a chicken with your head cut off", or you can be as "cool as a cucumber". The choice is yours. 

Metaphorically speaking, you can be your own best friend. So why not start today and be your own Herculean hero? The writing on the wall says that you can! 

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