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.

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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

Back to Lantus and Humalog

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In another country, with no short-acting insulin, I started to panic and texted my fellow d-friend. I was higher then I’d been in years, super sleepy and out of it.

At that time I was just on Lantus, after a failed attempt at trying oral meds. New endo, new treatment experiment, same result. I need insulin. Period.

 

After what feels like a rollercoaster ride, I am back to where I started, on Lantus and Humalog (a short and long acting insulin). I could be screaming, “Why the hell did I go through all that?!” but I’ll take it and say that it’s just part of the process when they can’t figure out a concrete type for ya.

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These past few weeks have done a number on me. Crazy lows, waking up in the middle of the night in a daze (or not remembering at all) and jumps in bs levels that make me want to nap and or puke the day away. I’m exhausted.

I realize now that I’ve been living with x diabetes for about 4 years. Where does the time go? And the issues I have with this disease are quite the same as I started. Mental exhaustion, and the ongoing quest for peace and balance with a disease that feels like it has none.

So…does this mean pump time? If after all this, I am insulin-dependent, then does that mean the next step would be a pump? I guess I’m always striving for the ‘next step’ if that makes any sense. It feels like I’m pedalling backwards with all this testing and unanswered questions. Just diagnose me, treat me with what works and let’s all move on.

I count my lucky stars that I have so many d-friends to support me. Now, time to inject…

Fasting BGs, Can You Not

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I feel like my body is just one giant experiment for diabetes health professionals.

No one can say 100% which type of diabetes I have, and I really have to get used to that fact that I will probably never know. The circumstances around my diagnosis and what has happened after make stamping me a particular type unlikely.

My bg’s now are creeping up in the morning, running higher than I’ve ever seen during the day-and now I’m angry. And frustrated.

The current Lantus dose seems to be not doing much, and any oral medication I’ve tried has not helped me at all.

Let go. Let go. Let go of trying to control the uncontrollable. Sounds odd for someone to say who lives with diabetes, but I think that’s what I need.

 

 

 

Drip Drip Drip. Sweat Does The Body Good

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So this is my sweat. It may be gross to some, smelly to others, but to me, it’s beautiful. It’s hard earned drops of glory.

Sweating means I’m putting in effort. I’m in it. My body is moving.

When I’m stressed, anxious or depressed, dripping from head to toe can often be my saving grace.

It apparently helps rid the body of toxins, makes your skin better and prevents colds and infections. That’s according to this article right here.

I don’t doubt the benefits of sweat and hope the next time you see a dampened shirt in the mirror, you smile.

J

 

 

When Silence Matters

 

Sometimes taking a step back is just as important as being present.

I’ve been having a really rough time. I’ve been exhausted. And just wondering how to continue on. I remember my life before all the health problems-and yet it feels like forever ago.

I know I have to. Because there are people who love me, and there’s a journey I need to take to get to a better place-so I can give back to the world too. But oh, my, this is tough.

It’s been an amazing experience to just go offline. To put the phone away and just be. To not distract myself and face pain head on.

One thing that has really helped me is humour. Watching standup shows and comedies.

Here is one of my favourites!

 

Hugs,

J

Late night #t1d confession

I am so tired. I’m drained and frustrated and just feel like lying in bed (with a big box of tissues in hand).

Today was a particularly awful day. My anxiety was sky high and throughout the day, I just ended up sobbing and burying my head.

This is when my type 1 diabetes can come and just wreak havoc on me. Last night I was sky high and I felt it in the morning. Throughout the day I was just shot.

This disease never gives you a break. And sometimes when you’re down, it feels like it’s just kicking you. Spitting at you. And taking an unflattering photo and posting it online.

I know people have it a lot worse. But today I just had to let everything sink in and just be.

Tomorrow is a new day.

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I discovered online last week these amazing cards made specifically for people with type 1! When I checked out their site again today, it lifted my spirits a bit. I love the message, I love the questions and it opens a dialogue that needs to happen. Check out Walk A Mile cards here.