Yesterday's D-Blog Week challenge was to talk about what brings us down about diabetes. Today's D-Blog Week challenge is to write about how we get through a tough diabetes moment, tough day or overall tough time. Are there mantras we fall back on? Other tricks we use?
I read once in a running magazine that a lot of elite runners have mantras that they repeat over and over again to themselves when things get tough. They use this to focus, to move beyond the pain and to find a way to keep moving forward.
After reading the article I decided to try it. I picked something I thought wasn't too hokey since I already felt kinda silly about the whole idea. I settled on "You've got this".
I headed out for a long tough run and, when I got to the big hill more than 2/3 of the way through the run, I started to struggle. I immediately said "you got this" and continued to repeat it, timing each word to go along with each pounding step I took.
It worked! And I made it up the hill fairly easily. I was impressed. These mantra things are pretty cool!
Problem is that I'm not really a mantra kinda girl. So I forget to do it when things get tough. Or I start doing it but get distracted by how tough it is and forget to keep the mantra going. Or I am already struggling up the hill so trying to focus on getting up the hill AND repeating a mantra seems like more work than it's worth.
So I can tell you that mantras work because I tried one once and it did. I can also tell you that I don't use them.
When it comes to getting through a tough diabetes time, I've learned to ride it like a wave.
When I was a kid, we used to go to a water park that had one of those wave pools. The pool would be lovely and calm and then, all of a sudden, the alarm would go off and then wave after rolling wave would start at one end and move across to the other end.
The first time I was in there, I had a complete panic. I did not know what was happening and, although the pool was full, there was no one with me that I knew. I fought the waves, I choked, I sputtered, I finally made it to the side and grabbed on to the edge when the wave brought me high enough. Then I was stuck hanging there looking rather foolish when the wave passed by and the water dropped. My entire body was out of the water for a few seconds and I was too afraid to let go. Wave after wave battered me while I hung on for dear life until the alarm sounded again and the waves stopped. I fell back into the now calm water and sheepishly scuttled away.
The second time I went in the wave pool, I refused to panic. Instead I let myself float on top of the water as the waves rolled by. It was hard to keep calm but, after the first few waves passed, I realized that I would be ok. I might be afraid and I might not really like it but I would be just fine if I stayed calm.
That's how I have learned to handle most tough situations in my life. When I'm sad, I don't fight the waves of sadness, I let the tears flow and then, when they're done, they're done. When I'm angry, I work through the anger, say what I need to say, and then I'm done. When diabetes pisses me off or frustrates me, I let myself be frustrated or pissed off. I stomp my feet and utter a handful of swear words as needed.
But I don't stay there any longer than I need to.
Because as much as it's cathartic sometimes to scream and cry and let the emotions run wild, it's not a healthy place to stay. For me or for anyone else around me.
So I go back to the happy, calm, life-loving person that I prefer to be and get on with my day.
You've got this.
Links to other blogs about today's topic can be found here is you're interested. Go ahead and click - there are lots of great stories being posted by some pretty amazing folks.