NaBloPoMo #30 – I made it!

My final NaBloPoMo post…

I think I’m supposed to say how much I loved this challenge and how much I have grown as a writer.  That’s only partly true and maybe even a very small part.  There were both good and bad things about undertaking NaBloPoMo for sure.

The bad first (so that I can end on a good note!):

  • I miss reading other blogs!  I got so focused on writing and pumping out the posts that I haven’t felt connected to the little corners of the Internet that I usually frequent.

  • I’m not sure that the quality of my writing was really upto snuff – I tended to keep things short (for both my own benefit and that of my readers).  Because of this, I feel that I didn’t always explore ideas to their fullest.
  • It was tiring to have to keep writing and generating new ideas.  It will be a relief to relax back in to posts once or twice a week again.
  • I felt that some of the posts that felt particularly significant or ponder-worthy to me ended up having few comments, likely because they got lost in the sheer volume for readers to check out.

The good:

  • I made new friends – that has been a major joy from this process.  It’s been fun “meeting” new people, even if I feel that I wasn’t able to read as much of them as I would like as I was too busy writing 😉
  • It did teach me that I was capable of writing more than I would have believed.

  • It stretched me to write on subjects and themes that I may not have otherwise addressed since I didn’t have time to just wait for inspiration to arise.
  • It taught me the importance of scheduling and how that can relieve the pressure to post.  This is something I will likely do more of in the future.  Write when inspired but maybe not publish right away so that I can pace my output.
  • I realized that I prefer less frequent posting.  I see that I like for people to have a few days to read and comment and, as I noted above, if I post too often, “good” posts get lost in the deluge.

So there you have it.  Thirty days of posting completed, likely to never be done again. 🙂  Thanks for hanging in there with me to the end my friends; I am looking forward to reconnecting with many of you in December.

NaBloPoMo #29 – Out of nowhere

A surprising moment (and a short post) for NaBloPoMo today…

I regularly deal with anxiety.  It’s a part of my daily existence that I don’t necessarily like and yet I have come to accept it.  This past weekend, however, I was hit with a pretty intense anxiety attack.  It seemed to come out of nowhere.

I’ve been doing okay lately, in general, and so I think it hit me particularly hard.  One moment I was out walking, I came home and suddenly found myself bawling.  The ugly retching cry that comes from deep inside the soul.  I didn’t act on it, but it was the first time in my life that I have truly understood the urge to self-harm.  There was suddenly so much pain and anguish coming from my mind and I wanted a physical outlet.  Luckily, I let the moment pass, but it did unnerve (okay, majorly scare!) me to have those thoughts.

Today, I am once again calm, I am taking care of myself and being gentle with myself.  I’m also slightly on edge, wondering if it will happen again.

NaBloPoMo #28 – Diabetes gifts

A more positive diabetes post for NaBloPoMo

All is not doom and gloom in life with diabetes.  The biggest upside?  I’m alive.  If I had developed this condition prior to Banting and Best’s discovery of insulin, I would not have lived to see my 12th birthday.  So that’s a pretty massive advantage to being diabetic in this day and age.

Another gift is that I think that living with any chronic illness helps to breed compassion.  I have an understanding of living a life where there are daily health challenges and a constant need to be vigilant.  I feel that this has allowed me to empathize more with other people.  Especially since diabetes is not something you can *see* from outside, I recognize that we cannot always know the struggles of another person from how they look.

This last one is both a positive and a negative…. diabetes gives me a “free pass” on foods I don’t want to eat.  I try not to use this excuse too often but I readily admit it has served me in many a situation where I simply didn’t like a food, or, with the anorexia, a fear food.  It’s not something I am proud of, but there it is.  On occasion it’s been a handy crutch to get through the many food-based gatherings in life.  Which is a plus, in many ways, because I otherwise might have completely avoided the event.

If you live with any chronic illness, I’d love to hear if you are able to see any positives among the challenges you face…

NaBloPoMo #27 – More about diabetes

Continuing on the diabetes topic on my NaBloPoMo journey…

Living with diabetes is something I don’t always think about even though, when I think about it, I’m always thinking about it!  Confused yet?

As I talked about yesterday, there is constant monitoring.  Growing up, I remember that being asked how I was feeling, inevitably drew my attention to how was my diabetes and not how was *I* feeling.  There’s a learned association between bodily sensations being linked to diabetic symptomology rather than emotion or anything else.

Take low blood sugars.  When my blood sugar falls below a certain level, it can be extremely dangerous.  Not in the way that most people talk about having low blood sugar, where they are shaky and cranky.  No, if I don’t treat my low blood sugar, I could pass out and end up in a coma, or worse.

Each person with diabetes experiences hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) differently, though there are commonalities (like shakiness and irritability).  For me I end up hot & sweaty, lethargic (not a good thing since immediate correction is required), and feeling quite nauseous.  And yet, along with the nausea, is a ravenous hunger.  It’s a very weird thing.  When I get the flu, I have this urge to eat, despite the churning stomach, because the association is so strong in my head and body.  The hunger is crazy, like nothing I have ever experienced when not low (and this from an anorexic, so believe me, I have experienced significant, though self imposed, hunger!).  When low, I feel as if I could eat every item in the fridge and pantry and still not be satisfied.  My body knows it needs food and it is indiscriminate for what can meet that need.

All this goes back to my initial statement.  Although I don’t feel that I am constantly thinking about diabetes, I recognize that I often interpret my world through a diabetic lens (e.g. nausea = hypoglycemia, not illness).  This is just one little example of how my world is coloured by the disease.  This is not to say that it controls my life, just that it is a constant companion on my journey.

 

NaBloPoMo #26 – Diabetes month

Today I talk a bit about diabetes for NaBloPoMo

A friend of mine, and fellow Type 1 diabetic, has been devoting a Facebook post a day to diabetes related topics in support of National Diabetes Month.  It has been so interesting to see her take on living with this disease.  So I thought I would dedicate a couple of posts (today and tomorrow and potentially the day after too!) to my experiences with diabetes.

Being a type 1, one of the things that I frequently encounter is the lack of understanding that there even are two types.  I know people mean well, but it can be frustrating to once again get the once over when I tell someone I am diabetic.  The raised eyebrows and the comments on the line of “but you don’t look diabetic”.  Which is kind of insulting both to me and to those who suffer from type 2, as if there is any point in blame being involved in the development of a chronic and difficult disease.

For the record, though, type 1 develops in childhood (and so is sometimes called juvenile diabetes).  The causes are unknown but my body decided to attack my insulin producing cells when I was 11 years old.  I can’t reverse the disease and I am dependent on insulin (in the form of an insulin pump) for my entire life.

I am always connected to my pump and it provides me with a consistent base rate of insulin throughout the day and night.  When I go to eat a meal, I need to estimate the carbs in the food, calculate the dose and give myself a bolus of insulin to cover that food.  Sometimes the estimates work and sometimes they do not… I do between 10 and 15 finger pricks to test my blood sugar each day.  These tests allows me to tweak the insulin and attempt to maintain a healthy blood sugar range.  This doesn’t always happen.

There’s a lot of monitoring involved for sure.  More tomorrow…

 

 

NaBloPoMo #25 – Refocusing… again

An inward focused NaBloPoMo post…

In therapy today, we got to talking about how I have lately lost my focus on self care.  It has been waning slowly over the recent months and that is starting to take its toll. I told my counsellor how I am continuing to go through the recovery motions but I have lost the feeling of knowing what for.

I have gained some weight and am now in this middling place where I know that I need to keep going but the inspiration, the drive, the fight has gone out of me.  I am still eating but my belief in the end vision is shakier.

During the summer, when I was off work and not in school, I made it a priority to take care of myself.  I paid attention to what gave me pleasure and purpose and I made time to do those things.  I began to tap my inner resources and to explore all that makes me who I am.  I thought about the woman that I want to be and what I want my life to look like.

These days, I go from thing to thing without being intentional, without being mindful.  And if I am ever going to get to the future I was envisioning, that has to change.  I need to look within and tolerate all that entails.  I need to stop avoiding myself.  I need to care for myself and to acknowledge that it’s not only okay to nourish myself, it is necessary and good and beautiful.

I deserve to recover not only my physical self, but also my inner soul self.  She is worthy and needs some love right about NOW.

NaBloPoMo #24 – Out of place

Another prompt for today’s NaBloPoMo post..

Tell us about a time when you felt out of place.

I lived overseas in Taiwan for a period of time in the past, teaching English to some of the sweetest young children I’ve ever met (though I may be biased in that!).  It was a wonderfully fulfilling experience and also one that put me completely out of my element.  I learned and grew a great deal over those months and no small part of that was due to overcoming the feelings of displacement and isolation.

Being in a foreign country taught me that I was stronger than I ever knew.  It also forced me to reach out to others and make new connections.  I learned that I could connect with people even thousands of miles from home.  Life in Taiwan was completely different from my life in Canada – different customs, different language, different ways of being in the world.  I discovered that this could be very disorienting and yet also inspirational and mind opening.

By the time I left, my perspective had shifted and I even found the feeling of other-ness was sometimes quite welcome.  One of my favourite things to do would be to ride the high speed light rail and just let the voices and conversations wash over me.  I couldn’t comprehend a word and yet there was something really cozy about wrapping myself in a blanket of those stories that I didn’t understand.  I still can’t explain why I loved that so much – maybe it’s a mystery I don’t need to solve.

NaBloPoMo #23 – Book lover

Piggybacking off of yesterday’s NaBloPoMo post…

I love books.  Adore them in fact.  After having the joy of reading diminish during my previous academic pursuits, my love of reading has re-emerged strong and steady over the last few years.

Reading a novel is a beautiful view into other worlds and often serves as a healthy escape from the challenges I am facing in my life.  I think it’s the same reason as my love of mornings – there exists a world of possibility in a novel.  A world unknown and ready to be explored and savoured.  I learn things about other ways of being and this in turn, teaches me new things about myself and how I relate to the world around me.  I often find myself changed by the characters I “meet” and the journeys they undergo.

It pains me to hear people say that libraries and bookstores are a dying breed.  I find such comfort in both.  That moment of stepping inside and knowing I could travel in infinite different directions; it all depends on where my eyes randomly arrive as they scan the landscape of covers.  Again, the possibilities move me and excite me.  In these moments, I am filled with a deep joy and peace.  For someone who has recently struggled so much with finding joy, it sometimes feels like magic that a simple book can take me there.

 

NaBloPoMo #22 – Book covers

From the NaBloPoMo prompt for today…

How important are book covers in getting you to read a book?

Extremely important!  I’ve realized this more and more over the years.  It’s not only the chosen pictures and text but the whole “feel” of a book.

As a younger adult, I would read the page in a novel about the type face chosen and I would wonder why such a big deal was made about it.  Now, I realize how each small detail that goes into creating a book strongly influences my enjoyment of the book.  The texture of the cover, the weight of the pages, the size of the font… they all contribute to the *experience* of a book for me.

Even the structure of the writing inside has an effect.  I’ve had numerous conversations with friends and the majority agree that it’s a different experience to read a book with short chapters vs longer ones.  Somehow, those with short chapters tend to fly by in a different way than ones with longer chapters.  Both are worthwhile, but each creates a different feel and a unique context in which to find myself lost in the story.

More on books tomorrow…

NaBloPoMo #21 – Feeling hopeful

Some positivity for today’s NaBloPoMo post…

I feel like I’ve been an agent of doom and gloom in recent days/weeks/months.  So it is with great pleasure that I announce that I am actually feeling pleasure again.  It feels as if it has been a long time.

As readers may know, I decided to stop my antidepressants a few weeks ago and I am feeling more and more positive that this was/is the right decision for me.  I have had some crazy crying but it has felt appropriate to the situations.  And far more exciting and reinforcing is the re-introduction of good feelings.

I think there was a time there where I really didn’t quite believe that I could feel joy and happiness again.  I saw life as a series of moments to get through.  After all, I have spent the greater part of the last year feeling weighed down by my depression and anxiety.

I don’t know if the resurfacing of pleasure will remain and I am not concerning myself with that question just now.  Right now I am simply allowing myself to feel the happiness, the joy, the love and I am working to accept it with grace.  Whether or not it will remain, it is here now and I am not about to waste it.

I feel there is much more I could say… I have had a long and low journey.  I could fill pages with the sorrow and the pain.  Maybe one day I will, and yet today, today is a good day.  So I’m off to go enjoy it.