Received the regular email from JDRF Australia this morning and this headline caught my eye; “Stronger, but struggling with physical and mental health”. A quick scan through the piece and I instantly new what the author was talking about.
“Australians with type 1 diabetes (T1D) find living with the chronic disease has made them a stronger person, despite 1 in 2 experiencing both mental and physical health issues,…”
I certainly believe that type 1 diabetes has influenced my life and the person I have grown up to be. I wouldn’t say that it has had the biggest influence on me, but it has certainly reinforced some personality traits; punctual, well planned, always thinking about about that could happen, regimented, to note a few.
The physical and mental struggle I think I deal with fairly regularly especially around training and racing. I think that it is the pressure that I put on myself to perform, to get training sessions done and to compete unhindered that impact me the most. When my blood sugar levels are not right, when I go low or high during a session or a race, whenever my diabetes makes it a little difficult to get something done there is stress.
This is the mental struggle and the physical struggles associated with diabetes are fairly obvious (low, high, feeling sick, feeling tired, etc.). I haven’t generally manged this stresses very well and it is only recently that I have been able to calmly work through these stressful times. To do this I’ve learnt to accept that somethings things just don’t go to plan and an alternate won’t do me any harm. Resting, walking the dog or doing something with my girlfriend all take my mind off the stress and before I know it I am feeling more positive and then back to normal.
I recently saw a new sports doctor who asked me what where the things that I wanted to improve about myself. I listed a couple of things; strong, reduce injuries, better recovery and better performance. He then comment that I’d also want to get rid of the diabetes obviously. I hadn’t mentioned that and it later made me think, of course I would like a cure for type 1 diabetes but it is not something that I think about daily and I probably wouldn’t have achieved what I have if I had’t had diabetes. I am a proud diabetic and I will achieve all of the goals in my life with or without diabetes. No stress!!