This is chapter 3 of my book “DIABETES. A world of possibilities”, which I’m publishing here for free. You can access all the chapters published until now here.
Several people asked me to write something positive about diabetes in my book, because usually all that you read is negative and hopeless. I will devote this chapter, although I have tried to write all of this book with a positive approach, to bringing hope and practical advice to potential “benefits” of diabetes.
Surely, many are now wondering: Benefits of diabetes? Is there anything positive in diabetes?
Diabetes, like any other disease or health condition, has the potential to make us grow. For me, this is the most positive thing that health discomforts bring. That does not mean that it is not sometimes very hard to live with diabetes, or that we do not feel kind of depressed, moody, angry, sad, etc. The key, I think, is allowing ourselves to live with these states from time to time, but not under any circumstances allowing ourselves to “be” a person with those moods continuously. That is, if it is something sporadic and brief, don’t worry. But if we let these emotional states overtake us and become a part of our daily lives, diabetes will “win” and most likely, we will feel increasingly worse—emotionally, physically and mentally.
I recently saw a documentary video where I learned a lot. The title is “The Living Matrix: The Science of Healing.”
It shows several cases of people with “incurable” diseases and how they managed to eliminate that health condition from their lives. The testimony that caught my attention was that of a woman who had suffered from a brain tumor for many years. She realized that she had long been angry with that tumor, trying to fight it, and wanting to remove it from her life. Over time, and, according to her, thanks to her interest and training in NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming), she realized that she was getting a lot of negative emotions and thoughts in the process of her “war on tumor.” And that clearly was not going to get her out of that situation. On the contrary, it would surely worsen it.
With the help of NLP, she concluded that the tumor was being caused by an internal conflict of interest. Now, as an adult, she wanted children but since childhood, she was convinced she would never have children, because of the bad experience with her parents. The curious thing is that one of the effects of that tumor is that it causes infertility, i.e. could not have children, when she “really” wanted them.
Since then, she accepted the tumor in her life. She wondered what would happen if she decided to give permission to the tumor to stay with her for the rest of her life. And, importantly, she realized that she had become a better person “thanks” to the tumor. She had learned and met people along the way, and had grown personally.
In short, six months later, she visited her doctor for a scan, and the doctor was astonished to see that the tumor had completely disappeared.
I was also surprised to hear the final comment to her by her doctor: “I don’t know what you did or how you did it, but you can take all the credit for this healing. But one thing I know, he said. You’re not the same person who came to visit me 10 years ago with the tumor. ”
This story of the documentary made me think a lot. I realized that I also tried to “fight” diabetes for nearly 15 years, and that it is surely not the best way to deal with it. Then this thought came to my mind:
My body is my best friend,
and each symptom is its way of helping me to keep me alive,
or telling me that I have to change something.
Since then, that phrase has become a mantra for me, and I try to remember it every time I see that my blood sugar is high, or whenever I have allergy symptoms, or when my gut hurts due to gluten intolerance … (as you can see, my immune system is amazing! ;-))
One of the concepts shared in this documentary is to think and believe that whatever you’re doing to treat your illness is helping you overcome it. In medicine it is called the placebo effect, and it is estimated that a third of all healings of diseases, symptoms, or injuries are due to this effect, instead of medication, surgery, or whatever the treatment. According to one of the experts involved in this documentary, the biologist Dr. Bruce Lipton, using the placebo effect more could reduce one-third of the health care costs, and yet they spend only 15 minutes studying it in pharmacology class throughout the entire medical college. Something similar happens with the subject of nutrition, since medical colleges only spend between 4 and 6 hours throughout the whole university education dedicated to food and nutrition.
It is obvious the direction the health care system (not doctors, but the ones telling the doctors what they have to learn and how they should practice their profession) prefers to take is the one with high costs and that is not in harmony with nature. At least that is the impression I get.
Knowing this, almost anyone reading a good book on nutrition will know as much or more than a licensed physician. Why should we listen to the advice given to us by our doctor on diet and nutrition? The alternatives I see are: educate yourself; find an allopathic doctor that has been trained and specialized in nutrition after their studies; or find a nutritionist or naturopath specializing in nutrition.
But anyway, this chapter should be more positive, so let’s keep going.
For many years, I thought and believed, due to my naturist preferences, that the external insulin that I inject was bad for the body. But now, I accept and appreciate that I have it to keep my blood sugar levels balanced while I find a way to stop needing it. That’s different than saying: since I inject insulin, I can eat whatever I want. That wouldn’t be responsible, and it will not do any good to anyone. On the contrary, it can cause the feared complications of diabetes.
That is, I consider insulin as a means, not an end in itself. It is helping me go through a phase of my life.
I have to say that with this new attitude, I live much happier and I am more likely to be helping me to stay healthy than the negative “war on diabetes” way I had before.
If you want to live with diabetes differently than you have so far, I recommend to you the following:
- Go to a quiet place where you will not be disturbed.
- Think about the things that you are grateful for and feel it.
- Try to see the positive things that have happened in your life since you have had diabetes and note them down on paper.
- Put the paper or card in a place where you see it, or remind yourself of those positive things every day.
Starting by thanking what we have, while feeling it in every cell, puts our whole organism in the state needed to accept and overcome.
Some examples of things we can be grateful for are the family/spouse/children; having a home where we live comfortably; having a job; a beautiful day; fresh air to breathe in nature from time to time; having legs to walk, run or play sports; having eyes to see things and the wonderful people around us; or even the relatively easy treatments for diabetes that we have today, compared to how it was to check blood sugar or inject insulin decades ago.
No matter how negative you perceive your life right now, there is surely something you can be grateful for. Start there and see how, little by little, you’ll think of more things to be grateful for.
All my life, I tried not to compare myself with others, neither positively nor negatively. In any case, I have always had more of a tendency to compare myself with others who have better health than I do. I rejected the idea of comparing myself to those who are worse than me, because I want to focus on being better, like those who “apparently” are healthy (watch out, looks can be deceiving).
But when your body constantly reminds you that it is there, through different symptoms that keep you from spending the day as you would like, it can become quite frustrating.
That is why I recently decided that, rather than “comparing myself” with others, I would “think of those” who are worse than me on the subject of health, or even in other areas of life. In the eyes of many people with symptoms, diseases, and impairments more dangerous and more difficult to carry, diabetes must seem laughable. They would love to have diabetes instead of what they have: cancer, tumors, paralysis, children with physical or cerebral palsy, autism, losing a beloved family member, etc.
Note: Interestingly, at this very moment, as I’m writing these lines, our neighbor just knocked on the door to tell me that while she was at the market, she had seen one of our best friends (the mom of our son’s best friend) fall to the ground unconscious, hitting her head on the floor, causing bleeding. All of this happened in front of her two young children. Talking to her husband on the phone, I just found out that very likely it had been a kind of epilepsy shock.
Hopefully, she will soon regain consciousness and find a way to avoid these epilepsy attacks. Although I am sad and worried about her, I see that there are worse things than diabetes, and that relativizes things for me. (End of note)
This change in attitude, which I had refused to do so far, makes me feel better. I am avoiding many frustrations in my day to day with my diabetes, and it makes me humble and grateful for what I have and for not having worse ailments.
But that does not mean that now I am happy with my situation and will not do anything to overcome this condition, because diabetes can be dangerous if not well cared for. From this state of gratitude and feeling well with myself, I’m in a much better position to stay as healthy as possible during this phase with this physical condition, and my mind, body and soul are more open to keep looking and finding the solution to my health problems.
As for the positive things that have happened to me since the diagnosis of diabetes, I can say that I have grown as a person; I entered a world of exciting research and knowledge; I have learned many theories on how to have better health, and what things affect the body positively and negatively; it has helped me develop a passion for the world of the internet through my blog about diabetes, and that passion has even managed to change my profession. This turning point in my life made possible the crossroads with the person who is now my lovely wife and with whom I have the pleasure of enjoying the most beautiful kids in the world (of course, for each parent their own children are always the best. ;-)) I also have the opportunity “thanks to the diabetes” to help many people and share experiences and knowledge through my website, and now this book.
And, in your case, how have things changed for the better in your life since you have had diabetes? Note them and remember them regularly (and if you don’t mind, share them with us in the comments below.)
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