I hate going to the doctor’s office. As someone living with diabetes, this makes no sense. Doctors as well as the efforts of scientists have made my own life viable. My entire existence from the age of 15 into the present is ONLY possible thanks to the miracles of modern medicine. And here is another thing: There is nothing unpleasant OR my physician, about my doctor’s visits. He. Along with the most bizarre experience is that a blood draw; not FUN exactly, but I have given myself over 20,000 shots in my lifetime — so I’m pretty much OK with needles.
So why is it that I hate visiting my physician? The response to that question are found in the Star Wars trilogy — the old one, by the late 70s and early 80s, not the dreadful new batch we have been exposed to in recent years. In “The Empire Strikes Back,” there’s a scene in which young Luke Skywalker enters a cave in which, in the words of the grammatically-challenged-yet-wise Yoda, “greatest fears [he] will confront.” And indeed, he sees Darth Vader in the cave. They fight, and Luke wins be lopping off the head along with his light-saber of Vader. Since the head rolls toward him, Luke looks down to see that the face behind the visor is his very own. A way of stating that our fears are rooted in fears about ourselves. What scares us “out there” is only a reflection of what scares us in the deep recesses of our own psyches.
The deeply fear which comes up is that the fear of collapse. You see, I am not really fearful about what he must tell me. I am not afraid to hear what my A1C is, or fearful about my blood pressure being too high. It isn’t the consequences, although my blood pressure IS greater than it should be! Having diabetes already gives me a sense of “biological failure.” It’s true, although I know, this is neurotic on my role. There is a fundamental part of me that feels just like I FAILED some kind of test. And so hearing that I have high blood pressure makes me feel as though I have neglected another bio evaluation.
I react the same way. I get angry not so much because of what high amounts can cause, but because I read it like a failed evaluation. I mean, I even call it my “blood tester.” Blood sugar MONITOR or METER would be a word that is better for me to utilize. Who knows if changing the word would shift my feelings about it, but it could not hurt. However, my point is this: Diabetes can activate a good deal of these deeply held and hidden feelings which we carry around with us.
I have always had fairly low “self-esteem.” There are myriad reasons for that, and I do not need to flip this week’s blog submission . But I can say this: Diabetes has tickled that recessed dilemma in me and it will bring it forwards. Diabetes is such an ever-present point to live with daily that I think it’s a tremendous power to tap into that region of thought and sense that we like to keep hidden, both by ourselves and from the world. It impacts us on a level. I have often wondered exactly what came first for me, or diabetes? Did having diabetes make me feel as if I neglected the “bio evaluation,” or did learning I’d diabetes simply tap into a bright sense which was already there, waiting to react to the news?
I really don’t understand the answer to that query, and it doesn’t matter that came first. What matters is that they are connected in the present. After a number of years working as a therapist, I have arrived at the conclusion that we fear about the “root causes” of things a bit TOO much. We agonize over where a fear or worry or anger came from, and ultimately we all do is put in anxiety we’re agonizing ABOUT. Recognizing the patterns is a far more productive practice, I think. For me, that means grabbing myself every time that I start becoming anxious for the next doctor’s visit or reacting to a high blood sugar level. This means grabbing myself and simply recognizing that what I am doing is rooted in a deeply held but false fear. And letting go and moving ahead.
Letting go and moving ahead — we need to do a lot of that living and we need to do it on a degree a great deal of blissfully-disease-free folks do not need to. We must examine ourselves, because we have been dealt a hand which comprises this disorder. And once we do, our anxieties come up. If those anxieties come up, we will need to learn label them, to recognize them, make them go and proceed.
Wish to find out more about residing with diabetes? Read “Meditation and the Art of Diabetes Management,””Meditation 101,” and “Meditation Update.”
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