More Than The Sum of Our Parts

It’s the final day of the eighth annual Diabetes Blog Week, started by Karen from Bittersweet Diabetes The day one topic is here about expecting the unexpected and day two is here about the costs of diabetes and day three here, about the diabetes blame game and day four here about what brings me down. You can find the link to all of the wonderful blog posts from the week from people across the world here.

Today’s prompt: Let’s wrap up the week by sharing a little more about ourselves, beyond the chronic illness we or our loved ones live with. Share an interest, hobby, passion, something that is YOU. If you want to explore how it relates to or helps with diabetes you can. Or let it be a part of you that is completely separate from diabetes, because there is more to life than just diabetes!

A person is so much more than the sum of their parts.

This well known phrase means that there is such a connection between all of the individual parts, that they can be even better than just adding up the parts, they can be more – this is also known as synergy.

“the interaction of elements that when combined produce a total effect that is greater than the sum of the individual elements, contributions,etc.; synergism”. (found here).

When you live with something like diabetes, it is easy to feel on some days, weeks, months; that the diabetes part, is the whole. It is easy to become overtaken, overwhelmed and overshadowed, by this part of your life. It makes sense. Diabetes can be an all consuming beast. It can get into all aspects of your life and if you let it, can fling all of the other parts far and wide, scattering them like they are nothing, until you feel disjointed, apart, less than whole.

Yet all of us have so much more to us than diabetes and when we feel whole, we can be spectacular.

When I talk about myself I say I am a person with diabetes, but I am also:

  • a mum
  • a wife
  • a daughter
  • a diabetes educator and counsellor
  • a blogger and writer
  • a diabetes charity founder
  • a diabetes advocate and champion of the right of people with diabetes to live happy lives
  • a PhD Candidate
  • a sustainable blogger and advocate
  • a homewares store owner
  • a public speaker
  • a friend
  • a singer and an artist
  • a gardener
  • a poet
  • a person who loves nature, a conservationist, an animal lover
  • a traveler
  • a tea and chocolate lover
  • a reader and lover of literature and film

And probably a whole lot more. These things about me add up to a whole lot, but when combined, are even more powerful than just looking at a list. Sometimes people are confused by all the things I do, but it is the synergy between them, for example, my work in sustainability and my work in health, that create so much more impact than they could alone. It is the very fact that the whole of all of these things allows me insight and motivation to change things about the world, to leave it better than when I entered. All of these parts working together, make the whole that is me. And when I see the whole, when I feel connected, combined, confident and calm, I am able to do so much more than when I feel scattered or broken into parts.

I have a very busy life. I have worked in diabetes for many years, studied diabetes and continue to do so. If it were not for the other parts of my life, I would most certainly not be the happy, balanced person that I am today.

My work in sustainable living at Recycled Interiors blog and online store, my gigs speaking about sustainability, judging green interior awards, appearing in all sorts of places talking about how we can reduce our impact on the planet and live healthier and happier, ensures I have the capacity to keep going with my work in diabetes. I have been burnt out from that, and for many reasons, did take an 8 month break from diabetes work last year…. I needed it. I needed time to refocus, get things back into balance and put the diabetes part of the whole in a more comfortable place in my life.

When I feel like things are breaking apart, or that something has become too much in my life, then I remember that I am more than the sum of my parts and that there is a whole ME that works best when I allow all of my parts to shine. And the funny thing is that it is the smallest moments – the way the sun falls on my bed in the afternoon light, a walk in the cool air of the morning, singing out loud at the top of my voice, cuddling one of our cats, talking with a friend, or reading a good book – that puts the bigger picture back into perspective and lets me see the whole – without diabetes that would be different, not better or worse, just different. It is the synergy of a life.



  1. Helen Wilde on May 19, 2017 at 3:15 pm

    So true, of all of us. 🙂

    • Helen Edwards on May 19, 2017 at 4:21 pm

      and in fact, diabetes makes the whole and without it we would be different – not better or worse, just different x

  2. Rachel Zinman on May 19, 2017 at 6:23 pm

    beautiful! You are so inspiring. I have enjoyed every blog this week and everything you have shared. Such a wise and creative being!

    • Helen Edwards on May 20, 2017 at 10:38 am

      likewise lovely – have really enjoyed your beautiful words, it was a fab week!

  3. Grainne Flynn on May 20, 2017 at 1:30 am

    ❤️❤️❤️ And thank you for sharing!

    • Helen Edwards on May 20, 2017 at 10:37 am

      thank you for taking time to read and comment, I know it has been an epic week to check everyone’s posts out!

  4. Frank on May 21, 2017 at 10:24 am

    I’m with you on trying to put diabetes on the back burner when it becomes too much. I must admit to lurking around since you refreshed your site, but I’ve enjoyed reading your posts this week and finding another Aussie!

    • Helen Edwards on May 21, 2017 at 12:40 pm

      thanks Frank! That is nice to head – yes it is lovely to see other Aussies – look forward to connecting more