Like Putty in Your Hands

Sometimes I feel like it is groundhog day when I write a blog post here….you know, the same old same old. There are lots of wonderful bloggers in diabetes who share posts about things like the latest crisis within diabetes tech with the closing down of the Animas Pump production, or the latest on private health insurance. The things I like to write about are more rooted in the daily living of it all, the feelings, thoughts and experiences you have when you live with diabetes, and especially the impacts on your mental health and wellbeing. And so it follows that I often sit here feeling like I am repeating the same things over and over, just on different days, in slightly different ways. The thing is, life with diabetes is like groundhog day. Life with diabetes is pretty much repeating the same things over and over, just on different days, in slightly different ways. Writing about it helps me and hopefully you, to make sense of it all and find a little bit of peace in the chaos and the unrelenting reality of it all.

I have been unwell lately with a gastroparesis flare, followed by a couple of viruses, followed by an eye injury, and that all put me out of action really for a few weeks. My voice in the diabetes space has been a little quieter as a result. Life is full, with my family and my health to care for, my PhD work cranking up, and running my business at Recycled Interiors. As well, when the keyboard calls and words keep running around inside my head, I write here. There have been some words running around in my head the past week or so, as I battle the demons of anxiety around learning to deal with the fast up and down arrows on my dexcom, and trying to work out what the hell is happening when small amounts of insulin seem to work far faster than they should, and drop me far quicker than expected. Those nights where my body is aching and my brain is yearning for sleep, and yet the arrows on my Dexcom force me to stay awake, stay vigilant to ensure I am safe to go to bed, have been more than I would like lately.

As someone who has lived with anxiety most of my life, and indeed suffered with significant anxiety and panic attacks at one point, the idea of dropping really fast can bring with it almost unbearable worry about dropping too far…it is sort of like feeling that the arrows just might keep dropping until they hit zero…irrational sure, fair enough, definitely. Have you experienced that? I spoke with a mum of a teen with type 1 the other day, who said she worries because her daughter also experiences the same anxiety with fast dropping arrows on her CGM. It made me realise I was not alone in this, and that it is something perhaps many of you also experience. I am in the early days of life with CGM, and am learning to understand that 2 arrows down when you are on the higher side is not a disaster, yet I have experienced those fast arrows when I am not lower, to end up low really fast. I had a double hypo drop last week, which resulted in me being extra worried about the arrows this week. I have been considering whether CGM is for me…and weighing up the best part of it – knowing it will alarm me overnight for highs and lows – with the worry of the arrows. As yet I have not come to any conclusions.

After a couple of nights sitting up this week, working hard to stop lows, and then working hard to stop the rebound high. I started to feel like I was just spending my time playing with putty – shaping and molding it, pulling it apart and squeezing it to where it needs to be. Sometimes you put so much energy into your diabetes management, your face pushed up against the glass of the numbers, that you feel like you might break. You push and pull and stretch – you do this mostly alone – and you try to get on with the rest of your life. It is no wonder you can feel so exhausted. Sometimes the best thing you can do is to throw the putty at the wall and see how it turns out, stop looking at the instructions on how to make the best model ever, and just let your putty do its own thing for a while you go for a walk in the wildflowers with your hands free




  1. Helene Wild on October 17, 2017 at 11:03 am

    So well written Helen. I totally get the terrible conflict you must be feeling between the scariness of arrows & the benefits of arrows. It must do your head in. In the end, your decision on whether to stop or continue with CGM should be the one you are most comfortable with- does the anxiety mean that your diabetes management is actually more complicated? Are there other health factors coming into play, like experimenting with gastropareisis friendly diets? Is less or more technology actually a more peaceful life? Quality of life has many facets, and reducing anxiety is certainly one. Have you talked with your diabetes educator or your endocrinologist about your lived experience? Wishing you better days, and serenity, with or without CGM.

    • Helen-Edwards on October 26, 2017 at 9:58 am

      thank you for your wise words and all of the suggestions to work through xx