Tips for Staying Motivated

One issue that I face on a regular basis is finding myself weary of dealing with diabetes. I just feel burnt out and not up to the task of staying on top of things. I’ll check a couple times during the day, but will find myself getting lazy with accurate bolusing, and eventually with how frequently I monitor. It’s normal to go through waves, but it can develop into a really bad habit that leads to poor care. I’ve been thinking of the ways that I get myself out of these “diabetes ruts” and compiled them into what I hope will be a motivational blog post (both for you and for me!).


First and foremost, friends! I can’t stress enough the importance of keeping in touch with someone who also has Type 1. Whether it’s someone you met at a conference, someone from school, or simply someone you meet online through a diabetes forum, find a way to talk to someone else. I guarantee that it is impossible to be living happily with diabetes if you don’t have at least one other person to relate to. It’s basic human nature; we like to connect with others. Family and close friends are wonderful, but if they don’t have Type 1, they will never get it 100%. So if you find yourself really miserable living with Type 1, make the effort to meet someone else with it.

Another way that I get myself motivated is by thinking about the fact that I eventually have an appointment coming up. In a sense, it’s a way for me to hold myself accountable. Yes, staying healthy is very important, and first and foremost you need to take care of your body for yourself, but at times it’s easy to forget that. You think “Oh it’s just one day of bad sugars,” or “I’ll just do better tomorrow.” It might sound terrible, but it’s really a lot easier to fall into this type of mentality than it seems. Because dealing with Type 1 is a daily struggle, it’s easy to forget that poor control can have some serious negative long-term effects. (Granted, the technology we’re blessed with today has exponentially decreased those risks!)

Perhaps the most effective way I motivate myself is by reminding myself that there are so many people around the world that are desperate to receive the care that I’m quick to throw away. There are children who would give anything to be able to check their blood glucose an extra two or three times a day, who are desperate to receive insulin, who can’t even dream of wearing an insulin pump.

It’s so humbling, and in all honesty it makes me feel like a spoiled brat. Don’t get me wrong, diabetes is tough, but when you remember that there are quite literally people dying from this disease, and we sit here moping about because we just don’t feel like dealing with it, you can’t help but snap out of it. It’s one thing to have a bad day and just curse diabetes for sucking so much, but when you seriously stop caring for yourself it’s another story.

I’m sure not everyone shares this view, or even cares to, but from my perspective, it’s just disrespectful to those who aren’t privileged enough to receive the care we take for granted. Maybe it’s not our fault that we don’t realize how lucky we are, but then again the burden of ignorance is ours to carry. If we are not willing to look into diabetes around the rest of the world, then I don’t think we should be acquitted of feeling guilty. Rather, I often times feel double the guilt; first for succumbing to the woe-is-me-I-hate-diabetes routine, and second, for failing to recognize the adversity that others around the world face regarding Type 1 and my lack of action or understanding.

What I’m trying to say is this: Bad days happen to all of us. It’s impossible to live a life with diabetes and not get frustrated every once in a while. At the same time, keep it in check. If you’re miserable all the time, maybe it’s time you did a reality check. Are you actually trying to take care of yourself? Are you monitoring? Counting carbs? Bolusing?

Is it fair that we got diagnosed with diabetes? No. But at the same time, it’s the cards we were dealt. The sooner you accept your hand, the more strategic a game you’ll play, and the better outcome you’ll end up with!

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  • Intissar Benhalim

    You have said it again so beautifully, and so matter of fact!

  • Connie Stuart

    I totally agree with you. In 1956 when I was diagnosed, I did not know any more children with my type diabetes. About 7 years later, another child in my town was diagnosed and we bonded. I did not realize how many juvenille diabetics (terminology at that time) there were until I was able to go to diabetic camp. Now where I live, I have 3 people I’ve met that are type 1 and we compare notes. I am also involved with a Facebook group of people that are all type 1 and I’m surprised how many are in this group.

  • Hussein

    Thank you so very much for this inspiring article to all those with Type 1 Diabetes. It is always a beautiful thing to think of those who are less fortunate than you are. This way you will count your blessings and be grateful and thankful.

  • John_C

    Great article!

    I feel your pain some days and I’m 65+.
    Living your life about 2 hours at a time really does suck sometimes.

    Then I think of my Father who didn’t have the knowledge available to him to control the disease. And of course you see those (my own age) going through the end years of their life in a most horrible way and you realize your past and present efforts are worth it.

    Hey I actually have days I’m glad I have diabetes and have to stab myself all the time. I do get a say in how it goes — unlike terminal conditions that there is little possibility of doing anything about.

    Every time you write here, you have gained a lot of people who are on your side and understand. Have a super day — I’ll think of you as I test and then inject insulin in about 15 minutes ūüôā

  • p j greten

    although i have type 2 diabetes, i do understand how you feel. (i was diagnosed in 1990). most times when i get the feelings of ‘diabetes, yuk!’, i try and remember to feel blessed that i have type 2 instead of type 1. i was fortunate to have my first care-taker to be a type 1 person. he taught us (any of his patients that wanted to come to a class he held for us every friday) a lot of very good basic things to help us with learning to care for our diabetes.

    thank you for your sharing with us. you are right, having another person with diabetes to talk with is very rewarding. whether they be type 1 or 2 doesnt matter so much, what matters is the sharing, and knowing there are others ‘just like us’ to share with…
    again, thank you.
    posted by p j greten @10:23 pm on 05/24/12.

  • Trudi Peters

    Maryam, Great insight for one so young in years. Almost 53 years since my diagnosis, I am on a pump and cgms, but still have rough times. This spring I went on both Medicare and a new pumping system within about 2 weeks. I found myself very frustrated, but received tons of help from a new friend who works for the pump company. In addition to Lori, I am married to the greatest man in the world. He has been so understanding and kind, holding me when I was crying and having a major pity party, eating salad when he would rather have pizza, stopping so I can eat when he isn’t hungry, etc. I will remember your words about how blessed I am to have access to all of this technology helping make this easier. On good days (most of them) my theory is T1D has kept me from being grossly over-weight as I love to eat! I also suspect that having to eat a balanced diet has kept me from having other health issues that aren’t even related to diabetes.
    Won’t it be great when a cure is available?!?!!

  • Gracie Kate M

    I’m in that whole ”stopped caring for myself” b/c I can’t find a reason to just keep going on. It’s so hard. I never even thought about people who don’t have the proper treatment. I feel selfish now. I’m going to try harder to take better care of myself. Thank you for posting this. I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who suffers from this.

  • nora

    Great article with a lot of positive actions and thoughts. what was your main reason to be positive rather than negative, passive and frustrated from diabetes.
    Thank you