Sunday, August 24, 2014

That thing you're doing*

*The full title of this post is actually "That thing you're doing right now, and don't even know it", but for Twittery reasons, I have shortened it. :)

An advocate cares. 
An advocate wants to affect change. 
An advocate wants to engage, influence, and chart new paths in churning chaos. 

Advocates are all that, and none if that. It's like saying all ALS supporters want to have buckets of ice water thrown on their heads. There are as many types of advocates as there are people. 

I call myself an advocate, because I speak what's on my mind, usually about diabetes but not always, albeit I often edit it just to keep it in the realm of being family friendly ;)

~Mahatma Gandhi~
But far from the advocacy 'stars' (bless them!), I am a small tiny star just trying to make a tiny difference. I choose to share my thoughts about diabetes in a blog, on Twitter, and with my co-workers if they ask me about it. 

When I see others struggling with diabetes, or with any other challenges online, I break out of the mindset that "they will work it out" or "Somebody Else will help them", and I will offer suggestions, or if nothing else, give them a little virtual pat on the shoulder if I don't have an answer. 

I am sometimes inspired to write letters to organizations, but not often, because I usually end up feeling my efforts seemingly go unnoticed. I do when I think it's important though, and I do harbour a little hope that somebody out there is sharing that email with others, exclaiming, "See this??! Isn't this brilliant??!"

All this being said, I'd also venture to say that you are an advocate too, because you are reading this blog post. You probably have read some other, much more inspiring posts and commentary than this. You have come down a different path to get here, whether it was looking for insight, looking for clarity, or just a little curious. 

Whatever it is, whatever brought you here, and however you get to where you are going, you will take away a new fresh perspective all your very own. And one day, you may find yourself sharing your own take on things with others - your partner, your extended family, or your best friend, over a cold lemonade and a package of Oreos. And maybe your sharing with them can expand their world just a little bit too as they go on their own life journey.

And that makes you an advocate too.

It doesn't take much. Just as Mahatma Gandhi said, be the change you wish to see in the world.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Hacking Life with Diabetes

So many people are just so clever, and have so many great ideas. Check out right here for some wonderful ideas.

I won't try to compete, and I encourage you to check them out. But I do have one hack to share. 

You know all those lancets hanging out in the bottom of your diabetes supplies? You get 10 of them with every new meter... that's like 10 years worth (well, in my world it is anyway). 

So what to do with all those extra lancets? Whenever you get a sliver, it makes an awesome sterile sliver removal tool when you don't have tweezers hanging around. 

You're welcome. :)

This is my submission for Diabetes Life Hacks - #DBlogWeek Day 5. I submit we should give more respect to the lowly lancet. It can be seriously useful. Nothing worse than a sliver... except maybe a paper cut, but I've got nothing for that.  

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Rising from the Ashes

Closely related to yesterday's post about dealing with emotional crises related to dealing with diabetes, either real or imagined, today I am examining what helps me get through the day. Not just any day, but a hard diabetes day. But there's a little more I can share.

Diabetes is hard, and sometimes it is frustrating and stupid. One is supposed to look for patterns and trends in the midst of chaos. One way I deal is by trolling the social media feeds - a world filled with pretty Pinterest quotes and Twitter cranky cat memes. It works for me because it gives me hope for a reset and it's a moment to forget. I reset. I can start over again.

But sometimes it helps to put it in my own words. What better way to do it is a Mirror Mantra. Check out Mike Lawson's wonderful initiative - it's a great way to remind ourselves of stuff we should remember). But here I've decided to share my own.

Tomorrow is another day :)
It's like a new day rising out of the ashes of the old. Rather dramatic, but I think it works well. For certainly diabetes inspires a certain kind of flair worthy of such drama  :)

This is my submission for Mantras and More - #DBlogWeek Day 4. And seriously, I believe that without ice cream, there would be darkness and chaos. 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Smile like it doesn't matter

For those who struggle with any kind of chronic condition, it is probably safe to say that they have struggled with the emotional side of dealing with it.

For the most part, I carry on like everyone else. Diabetes is a fact of my life, and I just deal with it. But sometimes things do get me down. It happens to many people at one time or another, and because diabetes is such an in-your-face, frustrating and annoying condition (or disease if you rather), it is often front and centre of the issues. I can tell you at a high level what gets to me about this. Here, let me list it out for you:
  1. Helplessness
  2. Dependence
And luckily (for me), a couple of things seem to work:
  1. Smile like it doesn't matter
  2. Distraction

I can deal with a lot of other crap pretty much head on. I get frustrated, I rant, rave, and sometimes even throw a hissy fit about things. And then I either do something about it, or move on. Often both. 

But when something leads me to feeling like there's absolutely nothing I can do about something, complicated by a feeling of dependence, then that brings me to a dark place. It is a flat place, where laughing and even being civil can be a challenge. 

What are these things that can lead to this all-pervasive feeling? It can be any number of things, but it is often headed up by bureaucratic nonsense that one can do nothing about it, but ride things out. 

I admit that sometimes this feeling may or may not even be of my own making. For all I know it could live solely in my mind. But when I'm in that helpless place - there's nothing to do but to ride it out. My husband hears a lot about it, but I'm the type of person that let's things fester,  and it often plays out in less than-nice ways. But he is amazingly supportive nonetheless, and that's just what I need when I get in those dark places. 

Then as time goes on, things either become normal or a new normal starts to become more comfortable, and I start to see the brighter side of things. Often it is just the realization that things are not so bad, and that I'm surrounded by supportive family and friends, who help me to heal, even if they don't realize that they are helping. I think sometimes, if I just start acting like things are normal - that I am normal - starting with my family and friends, that I will one day be just that. 

But for me, I look at it if you start smiling, you actually start to feel happy. That, and a little distraction, like that of getting through life, going to work, remodelling the kitchen, painting the family room and playing chase the kibble with the cats. That helps too. 

I'm not suggesting that what works for me, might work for others. I understand that a lot of people struggle with very serious depression, and need to seek out help from their doctors and other support networks. 

But this is me. And maybe it could work for you too. 

Yeah, all that, and then I eat ice cream. Because I can, and ice cream makes me feel happy.