Be diabetic. Be happy. Why? Because:
1. You are alive. It sounds so basic and simple, but so true. You are alive. Breathing and living. Experiencing life. Celebrate being here every single day.
2. You can live with diabetes. There are amazing medications (like insulin), devices (like the insulin pump and blood testing machine) and physicians who help us stay alive. Without technology and drugs we would not be here. Yes, the meds and equipment are expensive. But, they keep us alive. You cannot put a price tag on that. Priceless.
3. Diabetes encourages us to take care of ourselves. So many people all over the world need to exercise, eat better, and destress. Having a condition like diabetes entices us to take steps to a healthy lifestyle. I sure feel a lot better (mentally and physically) knowing I am doing all I can for my diabetes, health, and me. Take care of yourself.
4. I have met some amazing people due to my diabetes. The Diabetes Onnline Community is one fine example. The support and bonds are incredible. Going to diabetic camp is another example for me. I met and kept friendships that have endured over 36 years. The diabetes connection is very powerful and special. Reach out and connect to others. They made need you, and you may need them.
5. Diabetes is not an excuse to be unhappy (granted we all have our moments and days). I am talking long term here (recognizing depression is a side effect of diabetes for some that does need to be treated). But on a less serious level, accept and cherish your diabetes. It is a gift. And gifts make me happy. I was chosen to receive this gift, and I have to go with it. Why fight it? Love it and be happy with it. Smile.
6. I hear from people all the time that diabetes has brought so much organization and structure to their lives. Diabetics can do anything and live a “normal” life, but you may need to make adjustments – preparing and planning is key. I can’t just say “I am going to go on a ten mile run ” and then head out the door. I can go on a ten mile run, but I have to decrease my basal (insulin), test my bloodsugar, eat the appropriate amount of carbs, and carry carbs on me. And then I am good to go. Organization and structure is a good thing. You don’t have to be rigid, but you have to stop and take the time to take care of yourself. Something we all should be doing. Planning and preparing a great life (as best we can).
7. Over the years, the perceptions and beliefs about diabetes has changed. Thank God. Years ago it was all about sugar. Sugar, sugar, sugar. When I was a child (38 years ago – give or take many years), I was not allowed any sugar. It was forbidden. Toxic. While now, I incorporate sugar into my diet. I need some sugar. I am not going to go out and eat a gallon of ice cream, but I will get a scoop with my kids. There are still misconceptions about diabetes from those not educated about the condition, but for those of us with diabetes, I feel very liberated. There are no “good” and “bad” foods. Moderation is key. And treats are acceptable when you balance them in with a healthy diet. Make sure your perceptions are in line with what you need as a diabetic. Give yourself a break. Don’t feel guilty when you have an occasional treat. Live.
8. Diabetes is part of me and it is a chronic condition, but it does need my attention all the time. I do not have to be restricted to a hospital bed. I can function. Yes, I have to pay attention to my diabetes and tune into my body throughout the day, but it is not all consuming 24/7. Heck no. There is so much else in my life that I do. Run, volunteer, write, spend time with my kids, make a difference in people’s lives, etc. Diabetes is part of it, not all of it. Please do not let diabetes consume you. Be happy that you have a condition where you can still live a wonderful life. It is not a death sentence. Get out there and do what you want to do.
9. When you are happy, it resonates throughout you and out to others. People want to attract happiness into their lives. Try it. Smile at people. Say hi. Feel happy. See what happens. It makes you feel better which has a postitive impact on your diabetes, and other people benefit from it too. We all can be happy together.
10. Having diabetes has allowed me to start this blog. Diabetes is a unique condition that differentiates me and has allowed me to go down certain paths in the road. Everything happens for a reason and having diabetes has really taught me a lot about life, myself, and others. Stuff I would not trade in for anything. I grin as I type this because diabetes has truly brought so much into my life. And I hope the same is true for you.
Be happy. Be a happy diabetic. And have a great weekend!