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

Is t1dactiveliving over? What happened and what needs to happen.

Start of t1dactiveliving: October 2013

Intention: blog about my own type 1 diabetes and fitness journey.

t1dactiveliving was meant to be a place where I could document my thoughts and share my struggles.

Mindset: blogging=therapeutic.

After a few months of blogging I wanted to talk to other t1d athletes and fitness lovers so I started approaching a few. I told them I would be putting something on my site, which I always did, but that really, it came back to me. I wanted to know the answers to the questions I was asking.

I have tried to make my intentions very clear with interviewees and I’ve even mentioned it in posts altogether. 

I would then turn these conversations into article-like posts so I could share them with you, the Diabetes Online Community. People seemed to like them, so I kept pressing on.

After doing this the site began to grow in viewership. More e-mails and comments came in (some private, some not) and there it was…the monumental impact of the DOC right in my face.

As I read more online content, I got a sneak peek into a world I had never imagined. Some things people wrote to me or I read were downright scary. It is undeniable that there are diabetics out there who are suffering immensely. Little hope fused with a lot of anger and resentment. 

Then I got to meet others who were thriving. I’m so grateful that I have had the opportunity to speak to such inspirational leaders. They have all tremendously helped me in my own acceptance of t1d.

And some of you have taken the time to tell me how much t1dactiveliving has motivated you and I am so honoured you feel that way. There have been some messages that have reduced me to a blubbering mess of tears.

All observations were eye-opening and taken to heart.

Then the clouds rolled in (P.S It was very difficult to write this)

Soon came pressure. Pressure I put on myself. I felt this growing responsibility to the DOC. I had to produce content, I had to answer every comment in the same day. My daily goal had to be promoting fitness amongst t1d’s in Canada. Any diabetes related event in the city? I had to be there and live tweet, take photos and write about it. Anything diabetes was now on the table as something I felt I needed to write about. All photos had to continue to be my own and they all had to be edited to my liking. I started to Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr.

Hello type A personality. Welcome to your sometimes not-so-healthy behaviour. All or nothing? Yeah that’s me.

In all my waking hours, I was focused on the site. It ate up the majority of my day. Things were expanding quickly. The more nice things people had to say, the more it fuelled my own pressure.

The site that was meant to be therapeutic is not anymore. I’ve denied it for some time but I do not have the time or resources to run t1dactiveliving as I have. This site is run by my lonesome and I cannot sustain t1dactiveliving at this pace. Like many of you, I have a number of responsibilities in a number of areas. I simply can’t upkeep and that’s a hard pill to swallow.

Let’s get things straight

I am not abandoning t1dactiveliving. However I am taking a step back, trying to balance (for my own health and wellness) and answer these questions:

How can I best serve the diabetes community?

How can I not only talk about fitness motivation and inspiration within the DOC, but also myself be a living example of health?

A recent Instagram post: It exists. You can live without hating your body, a disease you might have, or circumstances beyond your control.  There's so much happiness and life to live. Every moment is a gift. So stop and really take notice of your thoughts. Take stock of how much time you spend doing things that never help you achieve your goals.  Calculate all the time you spend worrying about nothing, reading about people you don't know and will never be part of your life and choose to focus on the better.  Health is not the absence of disease. Health means choosing a life worth living.

A recent Instagram post: It exists. You can live without hating your body, a disease you might have, or circumstances beyond your control.There’s so much happiness and life to live. Every moment is a gift. So stop and really take notice of your thoughts. Take stock of how much time you spend doing things that never help you achieve your goals. Calculate all the time you spend worrying about nothing, reading about people you don’t know and will never be part of your life and choose to focus on the better. Health is not the absence of disease. Health means choosing a life worth living.

 

Love you DOC

I thank you for your continuous support and hope you will stay on this journey with me as I figure out how to move forward.

J

How can we help people with diabetes in a social media world?

I feel grateful that I grew up in a time where Facebook didn’t exist.

Twitter wasn’t a word and a ‘double tap’ could at best mean two faucet handles in a bathroom sink (one hot one cold, anyone remember?).

I can’t imagine all my silly decisions and “lesson learned” moments being so readily available for my peers and the world to see through social media.

Now this is going to make me sound old, but the power of words has also taken a different turn. People young and old can say whatever they want without it ever being traced back to them. There’s a loss in accountability. It’s one thing to tell someone (as they stand trembling with tears in their eyes) that they are ugly, worthless and that they should die, and quite another to do it behind a screen. Both are horrid though. I don’t need to tell you how bad cyber bullying has gotten.

Imagine what life would be like if people spoke as they wrote online? smh. <–that’s stands for ‘smack/shake my head’

Technology is a wonderful tool, but it also makes an impact we have yet to fully understand for the younger generation.

photo-1

 

 

I see this all the time on all channels: a toxic combination of relentless anger, resentment and dark depression about living with diabetes. Someone made an incorrect assumption about diabetes, attack! Oh they didn’t specify type 1? Attack!

Don’t get me wrong, it’s annoying and of course feels personal when someone is miseducated about diabetes. Unfortunately blasting someone online doesn’t go very far even if you’re trying to educate them. Being hostile doesn’t set the tone for someone to open up their mind to what you have to say. From my observation, it’s an unfortunate cycle that never seems to end.

It’s saddening to read what seems to be a manifestation of pain, but it’s also a window into the minds of what some of these young people are going through. 

Maybe these angry diabetics aren’t REALLY angry and are exaggerating. Maybe not. Either way, it’s a cry for attention and they are screaming every which way.

Being on social media has opened me up to a world that I’ve never lived in before, and it’s scary. A world where some don’t take insulin because they are too embarrassed to do so in public. The burnout, ignoring diabetes for months on end, the shame, the guilt.

I understand fully that in real life, people are also more quick to complain and not as ready to celebrate the little joys in this world. I get that. But that doesn’t deter from the fact that it’s still a problem.

 

How do we educate the younger generation into a world of acceptance, responsibility, and a little less anger towards the uneducated and ignorant? How do we promote peace, understanding and use social media for good? I don’t claim to know the answers but what I do know is talking about it openly is the first step.

A lot of this is already happening but I think it needs to happen more. We need to talk to our health care professionals, diabetes companies, caregivers, teachers, anyone who will listen about what it’s like to live with diabetes (of any kind) in a social media world and what we observe.

There are fantastic resources online such as the DOC (Diabetes Online Community), live chats, and wonderful systems of support which need to be acknowledged. Wonderful bloggers and organizations are out there educating, supporting and providing much-needed help in the cyber universe. How do we harness all this good? By telling people about it.

We need to be more open-minded and learn how these kids are growing up with diabetes in a world consumed by social media.

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