January has always been a difficult month for me. With less sun and warm days and days off to look forward to, it’s easy to fall into a depressed state. I’ve been sleeping a lot more, and I have less energy to do the things I love.
The difference this year is I acknowledge it’s January (so simple, right?), and I know where my lack of energy is stemming from. For the next three weeks of the month, now that I’ve recovered from the holidays, I am making a commitment to write every day (not necessarily on this blog). It doesn’t have to be much — yesterday, I wrote two sentences — and it can take the form of any medium.
But I hope by making this commitment to myself, I can keep the winter blues at bay and find some fulfillment on the most challenging days. Sometimes, a little self-compassion and confidence can go a long way.
A few months ago, I was feeling a bit lost on my personal and professional paths. I was being particularly hard on myself for getting wrapped up in what I called “failed initiatives.” I had put myself out there, and I felt rejected. So, taking a cue from Dr. Kristin Neff, a pioneer when it comes to self-compassion (she wrote the book on it), I wrote a letter to myself, from the perspective of a close friend (I’ve included an excerpt below). Continue reading
A few years ago, Norm (my six-year-old brown and black tabby) developed severe allergies that resulted in excessive biting and licking of his skin. We put him on a series of steroid treatments to relieve the itch and help the wounds heal until his allergy shots have a chance to kick in (which could take 12-18 months).
The only downside to so much steroid exposure? It increases his risk of developing diabetes. When I learned this vital information, I looked down at Norm and said, “Sorry, bud. We can only have one diabetic in this family.”
Fortunately, Norm has not developed diabetes. But that doesn’t mean the rest of my family has been so lucky. In the nine years I’ve had Type 1, I’ve watched friends and family endure the trials that come with gestational diabetes and Type 2 diabetes.
For a quick refresher: Continue reading
August was a difficult month, for many reasons. I told one of my best friends recently: I feel like I’ve lost myself. I’ve been pushing myself for so hard for so long I’ve forgotten what makes me happy.
Last week, I learned about the annual Library of Congress National Book Festival, which took place Saturday. A friend and I (both avid readers) decided to check it out. It was madness. I couldn’t believe the crowds and felt proud to be among such a city of nerds.
And I remembered how much I love to learn, whether that’s about the sting acceleration of a jellyfish (up to 5 million g) or the divided friendship between Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. I may feel a little astray right now, but when it comes to learning and exploring something new, I am never lost. Continue reading
I was about to go to bed when I realized I haven’t posted today. I’m on Day 27 – it would be almost comical to miss a day now.
But the truth is I’m tired of talking about my diabetes. Yes, I have a book and a blog devoted to it. And yes, I live it every day, but if this series has taught me anything, it’s that I am more than my diabetes.
For years after I was diagnosed, I was terrified to try new things. Just this past year, I went whitewater rafting for the first time. And I recently got my passport renewed because I’m considering traveling abroad again. Continue reading
Tonight, I decided I would take the night off – from work, freelance, writing, social obligations and yes, even diabetes. I noticed the tape holding my continuous glucose monitor sensor on was coming off and made a mental note to replace that tape so I could make it through the next two days until I changed my sensor (this is attached to my butt, by the way).
So rather than work out when I got home or prepare for a date or a social excursion with a friend, I had a glass of bourbon and watched one of my favorite films, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. It was a most enjoyable evening. Norm even joined and slept through the festivities for a bit.
Because sometimes as much as I know I need to reflect on things or re-evaluate the priorities in my life, I need a break. I need a night where I can just be. To be honest, I don’t believe in an afterlife, and even though I constantly question the point to this existence, I want to enjoy it. And if I can’t find joy during the most tumultuous times, I know I won’t survive. So even when I’m at my worst, I look for those little glimpses of joy and remember that I can be happy, wherever I may be and whatever disease I may carry. Continue reading
Last night, I almost broke down in tears – the first of many signs that I’m stressed, maxed out and putting undue pressure on myself. It’s been a busy few weeks, to say the least.
A little more than nine years ago, I also felt broken. I was preparing to graduate college, move out on my own and start working full-time. And then I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.
While lying in a hospital bed next to syringes and vials of saline solution (for practice), I remember telling my mom how much I had on my plate and that I didn’t have time for “this” – this being my newfound life partner, diabetes. In so many words, my mom replied: “Tracy, this is your life now. You can’t ignore it.” Continue reading
I didn’t use to talk about my diabetes. I figured folks didn’t want to hear about it. I also didn’t want it to become a part of my every day.
But when I started this blog, I realized it is a part of my every day. No, it’s not my only identity and as someone so recently reminded me: it is not the most interesting thing about me.
I am more than Type 1 diabetes. I have 22 years that confirm this. By talking about it, I help to educate others about its existence and effects, but the truth is I write and talk about it to feel less alone. Continue reading
I’m not a stress eater. In fact, when I’m stressed, I typically lose weight from “not eating.” Back in 2014, when I was commuting 5.5 hours per day to and from Baltimore and DC and nearing the end of a long-term relationship, I dropped down to 118 pounds (my lowest adult weight to date).
Fortunately now, the people closest to me know this about me and are great about checking me on this matter. So is diabetes. Before (and even after) I was diagnosed with Type 1, I struggled with a positive body image. I engaged in unhealthy behaviors, and although never diagnosed, I exhibited the signs of an eating disorder.
Even when diabetes came along, this was a hard habit to break. I ended up developing a binge eating disorder because I resented diabetes for not allowing me to indulge in certain foods anymore, and then I started omitting insulin so I wouldn’t gain weight from the binge eating. This is called “Diabulimia.” It’s something I’ve written about before on this blog. Continue reading
It was hard to say goodbye to my dad today. He flew in from Kentucky on Friday to visit me for the weekend – his first solo visit. He hasn’t been to DC since his last visit in 2016. Our relationship has really changed over the years. We’ve become close, and one thing I do regret about moving away from Kentucky is being so far from family.
I wasn’t close to family when I was in Kentucky. It’s funny what distance does – what perspective it provides. I also didn’t have diabetes when I was in Kentucky. They knew a different Tracy, and on some level, are figuring out what Tracy with Type 1 means. Maybe I am too, for that matter?
Today at brunch, my dad asked me about what prompted them to admit me to the hospital when I was diagnosed. He asked about my blood sugar levels. It’s not that he doesn’t know. He’s just never had to deal with it on a daily basis. I only see my family once or twice a year (sometimes three, if I’m lucky). I once wrote about Christmas in Cookietown – how when I visit home, it can be fun to “play pretend,” forget that I have this disease that affects every fucking moment of every day. Continue reading
A lesson I was reminded of today: no matter how certain environments or relationships may make you feel, know your worth.
When I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, it took me years to accept that I am worthy of this life – that even with a dysfunctional body, I have value. I felt like a burden to family, friends and society (important note: no one else saw me as a burden). For three years after I was diagnosed, I didn’t write about it.
I regret this. There is so much I now want to know about how I handled this new life, how I coped and how I ultimately felt about all of it. I have a few memories, but that is it. And I didn’t write about it because I didn’t want it to be worth it. What I failed to realize is that I was worth it.
So no matter how someone makes you feel, know your worth and stick to it. You have value. Own it. Continue reading