Why All the Drama?

Have you noticed how people need drama in their lives? If they don’t have anything to worry about, they create something. People with diabetes don’t have to create. Diabetes brings plenty of drama. But is drama good or bad? If it’s bad, how can we get rid of it?


Why do people pull for drama in their lives? Drama is defined by Google as “an exciting, emotional, or unexpected series of events or set of circumstances.” So drama makes our lives more interesting. If we’re bored or we feel there’s no point, having some excitement and emotion might pick our lives up a bit.

Did you ever wonder why Oprah Winfrey’s weight went up and down so dramatically, so often, in public with all kinds of media attention? Her fight with weight was her story — it personalized her, made her more sympathetic and lovable.

It seems a lot of people in our culture, especially women, have weight for the drama. A Gallup Poll found that 56% of Americans want to lose weight. Many people cycle through weight loss and regain time after time. Is the drama — the emotional highs of loss and lows of regain — driving some of this unhealthy behavior?

Multiple sclerosis (MS) has supplied me with drama for over 30 years. Every morning I wake up wondering, “Will I be able to get out of bed today?” What a relief when I can actually stand up!

Like diabetes, MS makes one worry about the future. When I have some good days, I wonder if I might be getting better. Bad days scare me and depress me.

As a result, I can stop worrying about things like my children’s behaviors, my ability to pay bills, my attractiveness to women, or whatever. Lately, I’ve started a couple of programs to try to get better. There’s some science to them, but they’re not medical. If they work, I’ll let you know. Meanwhile, they give me a whole new drama to act out.

Actually, most life problems pale compared to health status. If you check your glucose, you have your daily dose of drama right there. If their blood glucose, A1C, or neuropathy is worse, people tend to feel bad about their lives. And if their numbers are down, all is right with the world.

Either way, you can tell everyone else’s problems to take a flying leap. You’ve got more important things to worry about. At least, that’s one purpose drama can serve.

Drama also helps by distracting us. If life is too scary or too painful, we can distract ourselves with drama, real or manufactured. Our dramas can distract us from fears of death, of the future, of feelings of failure, loneliness, and things like that.

The downsides of drama are obvious. It’s stressful. It can raise your blood pressure and interfere with sleep. It can pull you away from other things that might be more important. It can make it hard to pay attention to others, and thus hurt relationships with them.

Other dramas
Not everyone relies on body dramas like weight and health. If you have a troubled child or other relative, you can lose yourself in worrying about them and trying to help. Some people try to help almost anyone in need, whether they can actually help or not. We’re playing roles in somebody else’s drama and distracting ourselves from our own pain.

Other people, including me, spend a lot of time with the dramas of things happening in the world, such as wars and environmental disasters like global warming. Not sure what benefit I get out of those dramas. They mostly make me depressed, but I’m still drawn to them.

If we didn’t have our various dramas, would we be bored? Would anxiety about death and the meaning of life creep in and make us miserable? Or would be happier, more present, and more effective? What would life be like without drama?

I’m betting that less drama will be good. I think I’m going to make this a priority for 2014, to let go of drama in my life. Try to accept; try to meditate. Things will still happen, but I hope not to worry about them as much.

I would like some advice from you, though. Has diabetes brought drama to your life? How do you feel about that, and what do you do about it?

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  • Worried Wife

    My 35-year old husband was diagnosed with diabetes this past Saturday, only a few days ago. The stress and drama has been unreal for the past two days and I’m struggling to cope. I’m doing so much reading on diabetes on the internet so I can be more educated about this disease, but I feel like everything I’m reading is making me a nervous wreck.

    My husband has been crying off and on for a couple of days, is struggling to figure out what to eat, but he’s determined to get his blood sugar levels lower and regulated. He has run in the past and is starting that back up again, he’s been watching everything he eats for days (almost to the point of starvation, which has me worried), measuring his blood sugar levels almost obsessively, and he has started to take metformin, which his doctor prescribed.

    Your article about drama struck a chord with me only because I don’t see an end to the drama in sight. We’re 35 years old and we’re supposed to live like this forever? I feel like we’re going to have to become two different people than what we were — we were always so social, always going out to dinner with friends and family, having people over, etc. and now I feel like that’s all going to have to end. We even cancelled out New Year’s Eve plans because my husband didn’t want to be in a room with people eating and drinking, when he couldn’t do either without major consequences. And he’s even saying he may not want to have a second child (we were going to start trying this year) because everything is just too complicated now that he has diabetes.

    How do we worry less about this and create less drama? Will out worries subside in time? And as his wife, how do I stay strong enough to support him?

  • David Spero RN

    Hi WW,

    You’re going through a very hard time, but it’s only been a week! Of course he’s in panic mode. Of course you’re thinking all kinds of “life as we know it is over” thoughts. That’s a normal reaction, especially if this diagnosis came with no warning.

    But you will both get your lives back under control. It’s a big change, and it will take some time to get good at it. Ask for a referral to a diabetes educator. Go to diabetes classes and support groups. Keep reading blogs like this one.

    Regarding blood glucose monitoring, there is no reason to do it “obsessively.” You want to do it smart — use monitoring to find out how particular foods and activities affect his blood glucose. Learn about smart monitoring from this Web site.

    One thing I”m wondering. It sounds like your husband is being treated for Type 2 diabetes, but Type 2 often comes on slowly and does not come as a complete shock. I’m wondering if he really is Type 2. Ask your doctor if he is sure about the diagnosis.

    I’m sure are readers will have more good ideas for you. They usually do. Good luck and try not to panic – it’s not necessary. – David

  • joan

    Hi! Read your post and am sorry you and your husband are going through this stressful period. There is a learning curve and at first it all seems like a total mystery!

    Suggestion #1. Try the message board of American Diabetes [ADA]. COPY THIS LINK below AND SEE IF YOU LIKE THE ADA Message Board that is very active with daily posts and helpful chatter.
    Direct LINK :

    Suggestion #2.
    Trying to figure out what to prepared for meals? Look at the top of this page and you will see several topics and one of them is RECIPES! Try some!

    By the way there is not a thing I can think of that is not possible to do as a diabetic; Of course it is new and seems like a daunting issue right now and it does takes a bit of time to get the hang of it. I have climbed small mountains, lived in foreign countries, traveled extensively, held down good jobs, had a healthy son and daughter & Married for 57 years.

    God Bless

  • Ferne

    For those of us who have lived with more than one disease for years with no cure but don’t bother everyone with it, it’s really tiresome to have to listen to an 82 yr. old relative whine and whine about her arthritis which is quite new to her and she has no other health problems. Whenever her name is mentioned the person will say that she has so much arthritis. My husband says, “join the crowd” but we have stayed away from her because it is so tiresome to listen. I don’t want to be known by my illnesses rather than as a person. There’s lots of humor in our household.