On the inside looking out

The reality hits you. Eventually. At some point.

When you get diagnosed with diabetes and I imagine any chronic disease, illness or life threatening condition, the reality hits that this is for real and it is going to impact on your life in many ways, forever.

For some, this means a shortened life. For some it means a life full of extraordinarily hard work for tasks that are usually simple. Some of these things are easy to see. A person in a wheel chair, or someone who has lost their sight. The impact of something like diabetes is far beyond what people might imagine. It is kind of a “hidden” disease. Sure you might see us prick our finger, take an injection, or pull out an insulin pump but if you blink you might miss these things and would never know.

Diabetes is insidious. Glucose sits inside your body, cooking away and before you know it you have a damaged organ, poor circulation, a messed up stomach, painful feet or worse. Before you know it life can become a cycle of medical appointments, medications, injections, blood tests and days where you want to shut the world out. When something goes wrong with your health it is easy to look so far inside yourself, that you forget to look out at the outside world.

I can not imagine what it is like to live with something like cancer. I have watched my amazingly beautiful, smart, funny and wise friend battle this for 15 years. I know from the outside what this is like, but not from the inside. I can not imagine what it is like to live with something like motor neurone disease. I watched my sweet, gentle, funny mother in law disintegrate before our eyes with this and quickly pass away. Again I know from the outside what this was like, but not the inside. I can not imagine what it is like to live with dementia. I watched my strong, funny, safe, beautiful grandfather disappear into another world and eventually pass away and I am watching my intensely clever, brave, proud grandmother go the same way. This thing I know from the outside and here is hoping I never find out from the inside.

But diabetes? That I know from the inside. And is that ok? I think so. Diabetes has given me a lot to handle but it has also given me a lot of gifts. It has been part of this life that I love so much and as such, how can I hate it? On days like today where there is a lot of looking inside I try to stop and remember there are a lot of other people doing the same thing. We all have our burdens, that is being human. That is life.

How do we know what it is like for someone else? And can we really ever truly know?  I do not know the answer to this but I do think that at the end of the day you can not spend all of your days inside looking out. Looking into yourself for a time sometimes is good. Reflection, security, space and some self love is important. Sometimes these are the things that help you to understand others better, by understanding yourself.

The most important part of this> Don’t get lost so far on the inside that you forget to reach out to those around you and look back outside. You never know what you might see.