Why I Do This

Last week I wrote about a lull I’ve been going through. A mild case of the blues. (Quite mild, in fact.) Although the entry was somewhat about depression, I don’t think it was a downer. It’s not often — I don’t think — that I write an entry with woe-is-me tones, even though at the end of the entry I turned more upbeat and put a positive spin on how things were going by telling you everything’s OK. It was cathartic to write that entry. I’d been feeling somewhat down, yet for weeks I hadn’t tried to articulate what was going on. Not in writing, not with Kathryn. After examining the past month or so by sitting down and trying to explain in blog form what I was going through, I realized what I was going through.


Does that make sense?

I often think, while I’m writing and when I have those “A-ha! That’s what it is!” moments, about a quotation I remember from a writing class. I apologize, though, because I can’t remember who it belongs to, so let me paraphrase:

I don’t know what I’m saying until I see what I’ve said.

I would argue that the same is true about my illness. I don’t really know how to feel about my diabetes until I write about it. And I’d also add, or until I talk to someone about it.

It’s true. I can go all noble and say that I’ll think about my illness — my self-management, how I’m doing with my daily routines, what I need to do better or what might be leading me the wrong way. I can contemplate these things while walking the dog or on the treadmill at the gym, or any time I have some spare time to reflect. But nothing comes of it until I write it down. Or until I talk it out with my wife or a doctor (I don’t really talk any of my diabetes things out with friends; I spare them that.).

Now I’m not saying I want confessional entries about my blues to be the norm. Thankfully the blahs are few and far between for me — and why that is is a long, long series of entries at some unspecified point in the future (maybe?). Confessional is, however, a pretty good description of the way I approach this blog. Not a whole lot’s off limits regarding my life and my illness.

While I don’t have statistical data regarding my topics, no keyword database to mine for info, and while I’m not going to go back through my blog entries and attempt to tally what I think are overall positive entries vs. the overall negative, I speculate that a vast majority of my roughly 250 entries have a positive tone. Why, then, why do I write the blog and tend to spin/stay positive? It’s because I’m writing for me, dear readers, as much as I write for you. I do want to participate in the diabetes community and share with you how I’m doing and my ways of being in my world — which happens to have diabetes in it. I get a lot out of the writing, though. My blog entries aren’t from a purely altruistic base. My existence as a person with diabetes is further clarified, however briefly, little by little, by tapping away on a keyboard for an hour or so each week.

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  • Bob Fenton

    Writing a blog can also be a good therapy and medication as well.

    I sometimes wish I could limit myself to a few hour a week on the keyboard, but writing is good for me and allows me space I would not otherwise think about.

    So if writing about something works, please continue.

  • Lora Appel

    Dear Eric Lagergren,

    My name is Lora Appel and I’m a doctoral student studying Health Communication and Informatics at Rutgers University in NJ.

    Together with Dr. Zhou, our current research looks at chronic illness – diabetes – and the use of smartphone health apps to help with behavior-change in patients.

    I read one of your posts from two years ago where you described what you’d like in a Diabetes iPhone app.

    I was wondering if you’d be willing to talk to me, or answer some questions as I am working on developing a survey to administer to a larger sample of patients.

    Please let me know if you’d be interested – I have IRB (Institutional Review Board –ethics- approval) and all research information will be kept confidential.

    Kind Regards,