Diabetes and Acceptance

My family and I spent a few weeks in Maine this summer, and while I was there, I participated in a chakra reading. “Why not?” I thought. I’d never done one before, but I decided to go based on my dad’s experience. Dad had done a reading with a local practitioner and was very enthusiastic about the experience, which made me curious.

The chakra reader lives on a farm a few miles from our lake in Maine. As I drove along the winding road, I tried to prepare myself. I figured I would talk about my plans to transition from freelance to full-time work at the end of the summer because I had mixed feelings and wanted advice. When I arrived at his house, I was greeted by several chickens. I was nervous and unsure of what to expect, but the day was beautiful and the farm was welcoming.

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Self-conscious, I lay on the table and closed my eyes. I opened my mouth to talk about work, but our conversation went in a completely different direction. I didn’t talk about work at all. Instead, I talked about diabetes. I talked about self-loathing. I talked about running and getting injured, and running and getting injured, over and over again. I talked about restricting my diet and feeling anger toward my body. I cried.

I was surprised by the words and emotions coming out of my mouth because I’d been living with diabetes for more than 30 years. With my eyes closed and my throat burning with the tension of trying to hold back tears, I thought, why am I still stuck in this emotional black hole? Shouldn’t I be over this by now?

“Should” is a useless, negative word. There are no “shoulds” to living a life with chronic illness. There are no rulebooks. There’s anger and sadness and frustration that will eat away at me as long as I let them. And I don’t want to let those negative thoughts eat away at me anymore.

I released the burning in my throat and cried on that table in the presence of the chakra reading man. When it was all over I stood up, wiped the tears from my face, and drove back to the lake. As I drove, I promised myself that I was going to be kind to myself. I tried to visualize what that would look and feel like. It’s been several weeks since the reading, and while I don’t think too much has changed, I’m trying. I’m trying to treat my physical self with love. This is the body that has carried me for 46 years and will carry me for many more. I don’t want to blame or punish or battle this body for having diabetes. I want to accept and love this body of mine. At the very least, I want to try.

Want to learn more about maintaining your emotional health while living with diabetes? Read “Diabetes Distress: Another ‘Complication’ of Having Diabetes” and “Reducing Diabetes Stress: Alternative Treatments.”