Failure? Who needs it.

Waking up to a beautiful morning with my beautiful family and a freshly painted house in the midst of chaos as we renovate our old 1949 home has got me wondering about a few things. One of these is how we measure ourselves in life. I have never been one to consider myself vain – yet I worry about what people think about me, I have always had a sense of needing to be “good” at things, to achieve and therefore not to “fail”. I am driven by something intangible that makes me work hard and then some, to make a difference, to do things, to see an impact on the world.

Failure can be easy to identify in some things. If you sit a maths test and you get 20 questions right out of 100, you will most likely fail the test. If you try to build something and it falls down as soon as a gust of wind comes along, it might be considered that you failed in building that structure. If you get set a task to complete in 2 hours and it takes you 7, it may be said that you have failed.

But have you really? And what does it mean to “fail”?

Living with diabetes means you live with a lot of potential failure. There are many targets and tests that can easily lead you into feeling like a failure. You constantly measure yourself against actual numbers, against targets set by yourself and others and against what others tell you should be easy.

In reality some targets are impossible. Some competitions will be impossible to win. Some tests will be failed before they have begun. They are simply too ridiculous, too hard, too unrealistic.

We measure ourselves against so many things. We create an idea of “normality” when in reality this does not exists. The world normal is taken from the carpenter’s square and the idea of a normal angle! I do not think this translates well into a whole human life.

Is it a failure to try? Is it a failure to have a go? To work so hard you are exhausted yet still not achieve the results that are seen as a “win”? And if you are “failing” at something what is the opposite? Is it winning?

I live with a disease that puts me to the test each and every day. Some days my blood glucose is high, low and everything in between. Sometimes I leave my insulin pump set in a little too long and forget when I last changed it. Sometimes I reuse my pump line 2 or 3 times. Sometimes I eat foods I know will send my levels high. Sometimes I don’t exercise for weeks on end. I hate shoes and wear bare feet often. Sometimes I forget that I can look at my management and make changes. I just get into a groove and life gets so busy that I stay in that groove and don’t try a different track.

Do I fail?

No. I do my best. I try. I learn, I manage and I live a full life as a human being, A mum. A wife. A daughter. A hard worker. A friend. And a person who happens to have diabetes.

Failure – who needs it. I for one am winning on all fronts. HbA1c of 7.8% included.



  1. Dr. McGann on October 28, 2012 at 9:39 am

    Thank you for sharing! I hear this frustration many times … including from my mother who is also diabetic (I blogged about her and diabetes). It is difficult being in the “daughter role” when all the information available in my “medical mind” is measured against what seems to be an unattainable goal. BUT, what I am now seeing with my Mom is the late effects, that no one seems to talk about as the reason “why” such importance is placed on Diabetes control. I really just want to wish you all the best and encourage you as well. I am confident that you can lower your HgbA1c … the fact that you know what HgbA1c means and what your % is … that is a mighty FINE start!

    • Helen Edwards on October 29, 2012 at 6:31 am

      Thanks for your comments and thoughts. Totally agee about the daughter role. As a diabetes counsellor and educator founding a decade ago, I have heard many stories of people feeling like failures. Our counselling and education team share our stories as well as supporting people 🙂

  2. wartica on October 28, 2012 at 9:48 am

    I agree; thinking positive can only help matters, not hurt them:))

    • Helen Edwards on October 29, 2012 at 6:32 am

      Definitely!! And realising we are all human 🙂