Can you actually say that you completely understand diabetes? If you can, then I envy you because I can’t. I understand some of it, but not all of it. And I’m just talking about my own, not anyone else’s.
I can eat the exact same meal several times, but I can never be completely sure what my BG is going to be. They usually are within a reasonably close range, but there are days when I get an inexplicably high BG number, or the other way around – meaning, I get an unbelievably normal or low number.
I can sometimes feel a hypo, but when I check my BG, it’s normal. I’ve had highs without feeling any differently. Sometimes, I do a random test, and the number is completely way off my expectation. I sometimes check my BG twice in a row on the same finger and get numbers that are so far apart you’d think that, depending on the number, I either dipped my finger in honey or I injected insulin before the second test. I can feel great one moment, and then suddenly go low for no reason at all.
Those are just a few examples. I’m certain that others have additional far more frustrating stories to share. Diabetes can drive anyone crazy. So, how does one keep one’s sanity? I wish I can tell you with certainty, but I can only share with you some of the things that I do to cope.
- I try to not be a slave to BG numbers and to look beyond them. It is so easy to go mad if one’s BG number is even just 1 point above one’s target number (whatever that is). It helps to remember that our meters and test strips are not accurate (there is a 20% margin of error). It also helps to remember that the number is not fated, and that we can always positively influence our next test even by just walking around the block.
- I have learned to take things in stride. This is easier said than done, though, and it took me a while to relax. When I have difficulty calming down, it usually helps to remind myself that getting all stressed out is more likely to drive my BG up than down.
- I focus on trends, not single episodes. I note an unusually high or unusually low number, jot down factors that may have influenced it, and check whether it is becoming a trend. If these anomalies are not a common occurrence, and I can’t find the reason for the spike or dip, I don’t lose sleep over it.
- I accept that I’m not perfect. Some people may be able to perfect their BG numbers and eat the right foods, all the time, while living an actual life. I can’t. I try, and that’s all I can expect from myself.
- I look at the bigger picture, instead of getting bogged down by one or two details. Instead of focusing on a bad number, I focus on my other really good numbers that outnumber the bad ones.
- I just keep at it. The worse that can happen is failing, and the best thing is succeeding. But if I give in to frustration and give up, then I can only fail.
- I don’t obsess about testing, and do not test 8-10 times a day, everyday. I test regularly and often, but I am not obsessed with it. Obsession with testing and BG numbers interferes with my ability to make better and well-informed decisions.
I’m sure you all have your own little tricks and secrets of coping with the inconsistencies and frustrations that diabetes often causes. Would you care to share?