When Your Body Lets You Down

Do you feel like your body has let you down sometimes? I know some people I have spoken with over the years felt that when they got diagnosed with diabetes, and some people continue to feel this at times as their health fluctuates. If you have been connected to me in some way over the years you will know that I am an incredibly positive person. If you asked whether I was a glass half full or glass half empty kind gal, I would potentially be described as a glass 3/4 full. I certainly know how to deal with the lows and having lived with severe depression, know what these are like. I also know how to experience and linger in sadness and all of the feelings, but being able to see the glimmer of light through the lace curtain as it blows gently back and forth in the breeze, is my specialty. I think having lived at the bottom of a dark pit for periods of my life, I have learned to appreciate the moments, the really small ones, and the inevitability that we are headed towards the same ultimate demise. Along the way I think you really have to eat up as much of your life as possible, and do something good with each day. Do you think you are a glass half full or empty person?

When it comes to my body it has certainly let me down on many occasions. But it has also done remarkable things, such as the birth of my 3 boys. When you consider how well it did that, how it conceived, developed, grew and nurtured 3 such remarkable humans, I can not see how you could say it has let me down. It has also allowed me to live until my 50th year so far and do all the things I have done, despite all of the things that have gone wrong with it along the way. But sometimes, when a series of events happen with your health, it is harder to stay positive and you can feel the tap on your back of the uncomfortable feelings of being let down, sadness, disappointment and upset – at your body, yourself and the world.

If you have been diagnosed with a complication of diabetes, or another chronic condition, or diabetes has stopped you from doing something, you may have experienced a sense of being let down by your body. Lately my body has been challenging me on this, and I have crept a little more towards the emptier glass. When I came back from the recent ADS/ADEA scientific meeting, I had a severe flare up of my gastroparesis. The early morning vomiting and terrible gut pain over a few early mornings, means that I have returned to a very bland gastroparesis diet, in an attempt to get some balance back. And then, just when things were getting a little more balanced again, my 9-year-old landed with a gastro on the morning of his birthday on Friday, followed by me going down with it too over the weekend. Not your typical head in the toilet garden variety gastro, this nasty critter lingers and lingers, not making you throw it up and out, but giving you terrible belly aches, that made my 9-year-old cry and very almost resigned me to tears as well. Along with that, this virus knocked my already poorly stomach into some other dimension, making me unable to absorb food, bringing crashing hypos and pretty much wiping me out. The experience also brought my old friend anxiety knocking, as I am due to speak at an amazing pilot event with JDRF in Sydney this coming weekend, and as the last weekend rolled into this week, and I started with a cough, I realised that my body was letting me down….

Sure enough, a trip to the doctor today and her strong advice not to travel this weekend, has put me into a place of being very upset at my body because it has prevented me from doing something I really wanted to do. It has let other people down, not just me, and it is hard not to feel like it is failing me. I know that I will come back to a place of peace with my body because it is where I walk every day. I know I will put into perspective, the fact that sometimes things happen that are out of your control and you make the best call at the time. I also know the world does not revolve around me. But for now, I think I will allow a little time to linger in the sadness of missing out on something because my body let me down, linger in the feelings of upset at letting other people down, and then see if I can take some time to refill my cup. If you have been here too, I think it is totally healthy to linger a little, not too long, and then start to remember why you love your body, no matter what. If your best friend let you down because she was really sick, would you hold that against her? Absolutely not, so why should you hold that against your wonderful body, which is working its hardest in the face of adversity. For me, usually that involves rest, TLC, warm baths, self-care and some Netflix on the couch, under a cuddle rug. Eventually, you start to remember how much you value your body and stop being angry at it, the thing you missed out on passes, life doesn’t end, other people cope and the sun rises on another week.

What about you? Do you feel like your body lets you down sometimes? And if so, do you make peace with it eventually?



  1. Rick Phillips on September 20, 2017 at 10:22 am

    Helen, you have no idea how many times I feel my body let me down. Of course it did not let me down exactly. In our case our bodies are magnificent overachievers. In fact out autoimmune systems are so much an overachiever it tried to bump us off. In my case three times.

    I usually like overachievers, in this case I tell my autoimmune system to “simmer down now”.

    • Helen-Edwards on October 17, 2017 at 8:00 am

      this is very very true and you are a wise man Mr Phillips – thanks for always taking time to read and respond, it makes such a difference to know people appreciate my words and your comments always make me think