29 October 2014

From Blue to Pastures New: the Pros and Cons of MDI

So it has been nearly 3 weeks since I made the jump to Multiple Daily Injections, from the Insulin Pump, and I've had various messages from Twitter and so forth asking if I can do a bit of an evaluation!  

I didn't want to do it straight away, as I had to try and give both body and head a bit of time to get used to it all! I can't say with one hundred percent conviction that either of them have fully twigged onto it, but even so I felt that now would be a good time (for myself and for other people who were interested in the whole Pump vs MDI experience) to write an overview - I've divided into 'pros' and 'cons', and I'm hoping by the time I've finished writing that the latter won't outweigh the former by too much! I'll start with a little summary 'the switch' itself … 

I went off the pump on saturday. Almost instantly it felt like a weight had been lifted. My parents were already scheduled to come down and visit on the Sunday; it just so happened to be perfect timing. I really did feel lighter though; brighter. My mum commented on "how much better" I seemed, simply comparing me to how I sounded on the phone the previous day. 

Me and my main minion
That Saturday… I really wasn't well - I rang her from the sofa in my flat, barely able to summon the energy to get up, exhausted as i was from the prolonged highs. In the end I disconnected myself from the pump at around 3pm, after a complete set failure and BS readings in the low 20s, relying on hourly pen injections until I gave my lantus shot before bed. 

On Sunday, I woke up with the unfamiliar sensation of a hypo, and for the rest of the day my bloods were slightly high, but mostly good! It was a world away from the previous few days, and I was more communicative then I had been in a while! The fact that my parents brought along my other half significantly helped… whatever the weather my Millie moo never fails to bring a smile to my face! We enjoyed an Al Fresco (life of a dog owner) lunch in Carluccio's - I disappeared to the restroom to give my insulin shot, but have since done it in public without feeling too self-conscious; I do it very discreetly, but my rationale is that I would never tell a person around me to stop breathing, or a woman to stop breast-feeding - why should giving the insulin I need to eat, be any different? 

Since then, it hasn't been plain-sailing. The past two weeks has seen a hospital admission, numerous carb ratio and lantus dose changes, many tears but also smiles. This isn't a long-term plan; it is simply a temporary means by which I can get my pump back and working at full efficiency! I will always focus on that silver lining. 


I am all for "begin on a positive note", before realising that this consequently means ending on a not so rosy one; however, maintaining my 'silver linings' mantra I will try to make sure this is not the case!

1) there is the simple logistical bonus

From one of my favourite disney films,
'The Hunchback of Notre Dame'

photo credit: Reddit

… being untethered! I haven't actually noticed the benefits so much; it's more that I've eliminated the frustrations that often occurred when on the insulin pump. These were often simple things.

Sleeping, for example. For the last year or so my infusion sets were adamantly opposed to the entire left side of my body, meaning that I was continuously putting them into my right side. Slight problem here is that I like to sleep leaning on my right side, causing constant paranoia that I would somehow dislodge the set in my sleep. I still have moments where I get into bed and worry, only to realise… there's nothing there! 

This can in itself bring moments of wistfulness, and slight panic. Well how can this work? I remember giving my long-acting lantus injection on the saturday night, and going to bed I couldn't process in my head how it could possibly work! I was certain I would be woken up in the early hours of the morning with intense nausea, feeling like I could drink all the water in the Atlantic Ocean… but no. 

As logic and science dictate, this did not happen. It still does not stop me having moments, however - three weeks on - of stopping and worrying "well how is this possible?" I am so used to wearing something that keeps my blood sugars stable on an hour-to-hour basis, now here is this new insulin that is working, out of my control, for 24 hours… it's going to take some getting used to! 

2) Letting go

This would, in many circumstances, be a negative. After all, isn't one of the best things about the insulin pump the tighter control it enables? Well, yes. Except that, for me, it did play a role in the perfectionism that catalysed my eating disorder. I fixated on the smallest details; the daily insulin totals, basal (underlying insulin) rates, carb ratios and quantities. I got so caught up in my own head, trying desperately to control an illness that, essentially, is never going to be on the same page as you. 

With the injections, you can't have this degree of control. You have that one underlying shot, that goes up in 2 unit increments; considering that the pump goes to as little as 0.05 units, you can see the difference here! For my bolus (food) shots, again the unit measurements are far less precise; 0.5 is the smallest, compared to 0.1 on the pump. This has meant that I have relaxed my approach to carbs, in some respects. I scrutinise less, so in the longer term I feel this little foray into the world of MDI could be a blessing in disguise. I do give my insulin doses with less thought of consequence; it isn't perfect, but it is a step in the right direction.

I'm sorry… I couldn't resist!
photo credit: giphy.com

3) Knowing where I stand

For a good year now, with the insulin pump, I never quite knew what was what. I never knew for certain if the insulin was actually absorbing properly, my sites were becoming more and more scarred and, in the end, roughly half of my days were dominated by multiple set changes. To place it in context, my infusion sets prescription should last me three months; I went through this quantity in all of two weeks. Now, I know that if my blood sugar is high, I simply need to increase insulin.

I say "simply"; this is still a struggle for me. I hate the feeling of "dependency", and having become accustomed to seeing a lower insulin total the prospect of it going up is daunting; to try and, again, offer some context, it is quite synonymous with a fear of seeing a number go up on a scale. It links back to a hospital appointment when I was around 14, and a consultant told me my insulin dose was "too high". It has stayed with me, as much as I try to "let it go" (to use the words of Elsa!) I have an association with: more insulin = bad. Nonetheless, this links back to the second point: less control. I do not have that "daily insulin total" recorded on a screen, for me to agonise over. I only have my head, which in all honesty is too tired right now to remember those details, without a prompt!

4) I have a topic for my Creative Writing Journal! I'm basing my poems around the various experiences of "chronic illness"… original, I know.

All in all, there are benefits to MDI, but I cannot keep myself under the illusion that it is an ideal situation; it is simply making the best of circumstances I didn't really have control over. So onto the less than green side… 


1) The unlucky 13… becoming acquainted with Exeter Hospital! 

…aaand part 2!
photo credit: Reddit

I had my first ever diabetes-related admission. I had a good run to be fair - 13 years nearly! It seems it is an unlucky number after all… 

I went along to my routine weekly appointment with the GP on the Wednesday after the transition. That morning, I wasn't feel my freshest. The previous day had seen an all-time low (well, technically high!) in terms of my blood sugars; they just weren't coming down, no matter what I did. Moments after I walked in, the doctor said she could "smell ketones". For anyone with experience of diabetes, this 'k' word is enough to send shivers down your spine. 

Ketones occur when there is insufficient insulin in your body - given that my carbohydrate intake was admittedly not very high on the Tuesday, this was slightly concerning. For me, this was a side effect of still trying to get to grips with the new insulin regime. She tested for ketones and, sure enough, the reading was higher than it should be; not dangerously so, but what was more worrying was when she checked my blood pressure (too low) and pulse (too high). Simply looking at my face, she could concur that I was very dehydrated, and told me that she wanted me to go into hospital and be put on a rehydration IV. At first, I thought she must be joking; surely this wasn't happening? 

To put a long story short, what started as a day which would be filled by my creative writing seminar and a coffee date with a friend turned into me being put on an IV at Exeter Hospital, and told i would be staying overnight. 

It was a really quite sobering experience. The ward I was on included a patient who was suffering from lupus, septicaemia, epilepsy, pneumonia among other things - it really placed my own life and health into perspective. Seeing her, I realised how much I do have to be thankful for, and she really quite inspired me with her resilience. However, also on my ward was a woman who had been detained under the mental health act, and screamed in her sleep the entire night; it was extremely distressing to here, but my biggest concern was for the poor lady next to me (the one I first mentioned), who said she had had no sleep for nearly a week due to this noise. 

One other silver lining was realising just how truly wonderful my friends and family are. My incredible flatmates visited me twice on that Wednesday, and my mum drove down from Bath to see me and stayed overnight. Some other friends came round to our flat the day after with flowers, the last of which are still clinging onto life on our kitchen table as I type this!  Just the little things; messages from friends and so forth, really did mean an awful lot. With diabetes, it is to a large degree an 'invisible illness', thus hard to truly understand; to have the support I did helped me to feel less isolated with it all. 

I saw this quote on tumblr and it made me smile; always
try and be a positive force; it may just help someone near
to you, without you even realising it at the time.

photo credit: tumblr

Even still, I can only sugar-coat (pardon the diabetes pun) so much. Being on a drip was not fun, and for me there was a certain degree of pride involved. I was always the 'model' patient; I confess that growing up I took comfort in this. I was the girl who was given a sticker for setting an 'exemplary' example for her diabetes control and perseverance. However, as my doctor has stressed to me, this was not my fault, and I cannot allow myself to dwell on it and see it as a mark of 'failure'. It was a blip, it happened but it doesn't have to shape my next steps, or shadow them. She's the most wonderful reinforcement for my determination to keep going with the power of positive thinking!

2) It's not Blue

If I am being truthful, I could go on for many more numbers about the Cons of MDI. I could. From the moments when I am in a restaurant, or grabbing lunch on the go, and I realise I cannot simply reach for my insulin pump and press a few buttons. From the knowledge that my stomach will soon be covered in those little red dots and bruises again - one of the reasons I never wore a bikini in my teens. Thank goodness it's Autumn I suppose! On a less superficial note… it's simply that loss of control.

I don't like it. That, essentially, is the crux. Although this could turn into a positive, in terms of letting go of rigidity and fixation on numbers, that loss of precision means that everything feels so sporadic. I feel a bit like a hamster on a wheel, constantly running but my feet are always slightly behind. Nothing is ever quite in sync. Then again; when is it with diabetes? 

photo credit: tumblr

Nonetheless, as I mentioned in my last diabetes post, there is a reason I went on the pump at the age of eleven; a reason why I not so much stepped towards it, as fell into it. Turned to it as a 'last resort'. My body requires the varying basal rates; the peaks and the troughs the pump offers. It benefits from that tighter control that the injections just are not advanced enough to offer. My blood sugars are still not great; the last few days have been reluctant highs and it is so frustrating.  

On an emotional level, I miss the comfort of going to sleep and having that little blue box next to me. A decade together, it became a part of me and i feel really quite bereft without it. I have moments where it hits me, and I feel overwhelmed with it all.

because life is too short for pouting selflies...
This is not a long-term switch. My diabetes nurse told me that she has had patients voluntarily decide to revert back to injections… only to realise a couple of months down the line that this was an error! I would never choose to let go of my insulin pump out of choice. 

This is a short-term investment in my long-term health. My nurse said that, in a couple of months, I should give the infusion sets a go again. I can already see that the sites on my side have begun to heal; my aim is to be on the pump for Christmas day. I honestly cannot bear the thought of having to inject on that day. I am by no means trying to make out that injections are horrendous, or condemning people on them to a half-life! I am speaking from a personal point of view; from the perspective of someone who has been on the pump for ten years. It is my normality - it is what works for me.

Injections take diabetes unpredictability to a new level; this morning, I upped my lantus dose after a few days of consecutive higher readings. This morning? Much better! This afternoon? Higher than it has been; there is no logic. Nuts and milk become my best friends in this situation; a rather feeble attempt to justify my expenditure on cappuccinos! 

I remember in a post for diabetes awareness week, two years ago, the caption to one of my photos was "me and blue stuck together like glue". Well, I was very much speaking the truth there. That is how it should be; at least, for me it is. I want my battery-powered pancreas back, but to have it back at full voltage I must just ride out this little wave as best as I can. University helps me so much here. Exeter, to be exact; the people here, the degree I love, doing Exeposé (our student newspaper) - they are all included in those silver linings that I keep hold of; they are the things I will not allow diabetes to compromise!

photo credit: Meetville


13 October 2014

Listening to…

On Facebook there have been various 'viral chain threads' - The no make-up selfie and ALS bucket challenge being more notable examples. One that I particularly loved, however, was the top ten books list. I was tagged in this a couple of times, but confess to failing with the 'follow through', due to life just getting a bit in the way/ struggling to come up with a list on the spot like that!

However, after a bit of thought I've decided to do a small series of lists, including literature and possibly branching out into quotes, photos and so forth… but starting now with music! Why music? I'm not exactly your 'edgy music girl', and have never been a festival goer… in my defence my mum's (and my) paranoia over diabetes medication plays a role in that! Nonetheless, music is where I want to start.

Particularly with life being a tad temperamental right now (in terms of the last week that is putting that very lightly indeed!) music has been a wonderful escape. It always is. Sometimes it's the words, other times the melody, but usually both are a strong prerequisite and reason for being among my favourite songs. I do like occasional cheesy, 'motivational' lyrics, but being a writer a degree of poetic skill is also a necessity! Sorry Cheryl…

I detest the charts; some songs I hear and I just think… "really"?! Your life's work is producing this generic, self-indulgent and re-hashed rubbish… I cannot see the fulfilment in this. The millions in the artists' bank account may suggest otherwise, but I digress… my musical taste is rather sporadic. I'd try to describe it as "easy listening", which encompasses a lot of film soundtrack music, a sprinkle of country and dare I say "indie"… the type of indie that 'true indie fans' would say is mainstream… essentially!

My current favourite thing is to go in the "iTunes recommends". I used to swear against it, but recently visiting this little section, based on artists such as Birdy, Ed Sheerean and Ingrid Michaelson - not to mention my beloved TFIOS soundtrack - I have discovered some songs that are now a constant feature on my iTunes.

So without further rambling, here is the top 10 i've cobbled together… although this would likely change in a few weeks!

1. Not about Angels - Birdy.

When I first listened to this song, I cried. When I heard it during the TFIOS film, I cried again. On occasion, I still cry when it comes on. It's just one of those songs. Melody. Lyrics. No more needs to be said! T-Shirt is also a lovely song, just not quite as moving for me. I am a bit of a Birdy fan, Words As Weapons and The District Sleeps Alone Tonight are up there on my "most listened to" playlist.

2. The Greener Side - Morgan Taylor Reid

One of the main reasons for my newfound love of "iTunes Recommends", this song has truly beautiful lyrics - maybe a tad cliche, but the melody counters this; the most beautiful piano accompaniment that made me instantly google the sheet music! Learning it is still as work in progress... towards the end it builds, the guitar comes in, and it really comes to life, but then right at the end it suddenly moves back to the gentle piano tune;  this contrast completes the song to perfection. If, for whatever reason, you're having a rough day, this is a song I really recommend downloading!

Brighter and Where do I Even Start? are my two other favourites by him.

3. LilyWhite - Luke Sital-Singh

Another iTunes Recommends find… I think this was one based on Birdy! This song is mostly based on melody for me, especially the chorus,, but the idea of the "LilyWhite" is so lovely and creates such a wonderful image. It is quite a slow song, but the addition of the drums halfway through gives it the strength and momentum to be a stand-out song.

Other great songs by him are Nearly Morning and Benediction, lyrics below

"Don't want to be the ones caught hidingWant to see the sky when it hits the ground" 

4. Open Hands - Ingrid Michaelson

I discovered Ingrid Michaelson about three years ago, and her song Keep Breathing is one of the few that hasn't slipped off a rather (very) selective playlist a few months after purchase! When her new album was released, I was like an excited child and rushed to listen. I ended up not buying the whole thing, as in all honesty a lot of it was too "poppy" for my liking - I missed the gentle and stripped back nature of "Be Ok". Nonetheless, this song (dare I say) exceeded any of her previous, I was quite taken aback when I first listened, and I have a feeling it will remain a fixture on my 'top songs' for a while yet.
A few other must-listen songs by her are Breakable and Corner of Your Heart. 

photo credit: iTunes

5. Even my Dad Does Sometimes - Ed Sheeran

Like with Not About Angels, I cried. Enough said.

I very nearly put Alfire Love down as my number one choice here, but the sudden gospel-element 3/4 way through bugs me. The lyrics are INCREDIBLE, so this song is a real dilemma for me! Same with Give Me Love - I afore the first half, then he starts screaming his head off and I have to say a speedy goodbye and move on!  Even my Dad Does Sometimes does therefore pip them to the post for being the "complete package" (god I sound like Louis Walsh…). As for Ed's foray into rap - no shame in stating that I simply don't get it…!

6.  Old Money - Lana Del Ray

Given my wider music tastes, this one might come a bit field left. I am not the kind of person to like Lana's music, but I do - I shocked myself! It's the lyrics - this girl can write. But also the tunes are so catchy, almost hypnotic, when you put her voice to it. I picked this song as my favourite, mostly for the melody - I downloaded it within a few seconds of listening.

photo credit: youtube
What I do find with her music, is that with both albums I only initially bought a couple of songs. With "Ultravoilence" it was this and Black Beauty, but I now have six in my iTunes! Then with Born to Die I now have practically the whole album - I kept going back and more and more of the songs jumped out at me. My top have to be Without You and Radio - purely for the chorus melody! This album also reminds me of Mississippi, as I downloaded it just before going there to visit my sister, who was doing her year abroad. So it makes me think of America, open roads and the chilled feeling of that part of the world. Whenever I listen, I go back to there and that is such a wonderful feeling in itself.

7. Oblivion - Indians

This is my other favourite song from TFIOS, and *possibly* edges Birdy… possibly! I love listening to it right before going to bed. It's just… listen. That's all I will say. It is the perfect song for the story. Just perfect. I also love Wait, for the guitar melody - one of the things that made me finally decide I wanted to learn guitar….

So for my 20th birthday my childhood dream came true!
The actual learning is still a work in progress...

8. The Letter That Never Came - Thomas Newman

….aaand onto the film scores! I adore film scores; I don't care how nerdy and "un-studenty" that is, I love them. Thomas Newman is incredible; the definition of how music can move emotions so much, as this song from "A Series of Unfortunate Events" does. When I found out he was doing the soundtrack for Saving Mr Banks, I was beyond happy. Celtic Soul is my favourite from that; he definitely has a style, but each soundtrack is distinguishable.

9. Sober - Kelly Clarkson

A rather old song, but like Keep Breathing one that has stayed with me. I love Kelly Clarkson's lyrics, and she has an amazing voice recorded and live; as a real artist should Katy Perry….  My sister and I (and my mum!) have been a fan for probably a decade now; since we heard Breakaway on The Princess Diaries, to be exact!

"Three months and I'm still sober/ Picked all my weeds but kept the flowers" 
"This could break my heart or save me… at the end of this road I might catch a glimpse of me" 

In terms of lyrics, and melody… and overall amazingness, I also love Dark Side, Save You and Breaking Your Own Heart.

10. The Breaking of the Fellowship - Howard Shore 

No apology-student statement needed. No real justification needed. This was legitimately my alarm song for all last year of uni. Life doesn't get cooler than that… It was a toss up between this and Leaving Hogwarts, but this just edged it. 

I defy you not to cry at this moment
photo credit: deviantart

So yes, this is just a handful! I also have a love for Bastille's Laura Palmer, a good few Taylor Swift songs - I do like the slower ones, such as Treacherous and Begin Again. Disney will have a lifelong spot in my playlist, especially Mary Poppins. When Happy and Trumpets come on in Arena nightclub, my face lights up with a Cheshire Cat grin. My housemate also has All about the Bass in my head on a loop! However, for me it's currently all about these few songs above.

I realise that my musical tastes probably have no relevance to anyone's lives, but I've enjoyed doing this - hopefully also showing that being a student (and hopefully a student who isn't a complete social outcast!) doesn't mean being a Top 10 fanatic. Just like what you like - don't compromise the important things in life, which in my eyes includes your iPod song selection. 

I also doubt I'm edgy enough to write for Exepose music… 


9 October 2014

Diabetesaliciousness © : Diabetes Moments That Are Automatic & Like Clock W...

Diabetesaliciousness © : Diabetes Moments That Are Automatic & Like Clock W...: Diabetes is never far from my mind and it’s always both clipped to my hip and at my fingertips. As people with diabetes, our brains and ou…

The part about reaching out for the pump resonated with me so much - before reading this I hadn't realised that I do that! It's going to be strange not having it attached, if I do make the switch to injections… really quite wistful now! 

7 October 2014

A parting of the ways - With a little leap of faith

Back to some diabetes-related blogging - on the possibility of switching back to injections, after almost a decade of wearing an insulin pump. However, I feel the overall outlook of this post can extend to non-diabetics also - to anyone who has ever questioned or avoided a decision, in fear of the potential repercussions. Sometimes though, you need to override uncertainty and fears - what would you do if you knew you could not fail? 

 Blue chilling in the black pouch;
he was pumped for presents...
I have worn an insulin pump for almost exactly nine years. I recall it quite vividly, in fact. September 2005, I had just turned 11. A rather unwell 11 year old at that. I had experienced 3 years of varying injection regimes but, despite my best efforts, Diabetes never had the same agenda. The most recent one  (levimer and novorapid) had stolen my appetite, smile and motivation, overwhelmed by a dawning realisation that I was stuck with an illness doing its upmost to fight me.

A couple of years ago I talked about this particularly rocky period in this post, but suffice to say that my saving grace came in the form of a little box, resembling a pager or rather outdated mobile phone. Blue - my insulin pump. The picture on the right is one that always brings a smile to my face; for the majority of that year, I had become a shadow of my former self; this Christmas day, three months on from meeting Blue, I was truly smiling and engaging with the world again! I could finally see a tangible future living with this illness, not against it. That's the things with diabetes; it's not a friend, but you also cannot make it any enemy. It is more like a relative, in a peculiar way - love them or hate them, they're with you for life so you need to get used to them! For the avoidance of doubt, it will always top my list of most annoying family member, regardless of how many times Millie attempts to eat my shoes…

The pump is by no means flawless, which I've elaborated on previously so won't repeat myself (here and here), but it did change my life. Nonetheless, in the last year or so I've experienced a problem that has arisen from having spent nearly a decade tied to Blue. Essentially, it is linked to a build up of scar tissue at the infusion set "sites" - set changes are required every 3 days. When your body is repeatedly bombarded with a needle and small tube, for approximately 1000 days of your life, it's naturally going to have an impact. Insulin can also change the actual tissue structure, causing insulin resistance… because life was just too boring for diabetes!

photo credit: pinterest
I have tried rotating sites, multiple different types of infusion sets. I have had days where I've done 3/4/5 set changes a day, after having set after set hitting scar tissue and often drawing blood. Delightful, I know. I write about it now with a quite matter-of-fact approach, but in those moments I can utterly crumble. I've panicked my poor parents by crying down the phone to them, and have on one occasion thrown my blood sugar metre across the room in frustration… unsurprisingly, this did little to help my predicament. I can have weeks where every set I put in works, but it almost inevitably returns to the periods like now, where my body puts up a fight I cannot counter. I put on a happy, laughing and relatively carefree front - my upmost fear in life is worrying/affecting others - but underneath it does take a physical and emotional toll.

I've read a few diabetes blogs, where people have had similar issues and have switched back to multiple daily injections for a few months, allowing the scar tissue to properly heal. I've considered it at points in the last year, but think I have finally reached that 'acceptance' stage. Blue and I might arrange a separation. A parting of the ways, to steal a line from my favourite book (you can always rely on JK to bring words of wisdom to a situation!)

I do have fears. There are logistical concerns with the actual transition; switching back to a long-acting insulin injection, as opposed to contiuous 24 hour delivery of short-acting insulin, I do worry that I will face the same blood sugar issues of my childhood. Yet there is also the emotional impact - letting go of something that has kept me alive for nine years. It's amazing how much faith I have placed in this little blue box! My AAA battery-powered pancreas.

I was a cool - and Harry Potter obsessed - kid
If you are afraid of heights, you can choose to step away from that ledge; you do not have to force yourself to look down. I have an illness that doesn't afford me that choice. I have had people tell me in the past how "brave" I must be; that they "couldn't possibly do it". For me, however, 'bravery' isn't the right word for whatever this is. If anything, my biggest achievement has been learning to be a realist - at heart I am anything but! I am the girl who believed her Hogwarts letter would come through that mailbox. Who made an Elf House at Christmas, because "the Elves always seem to be forgotten about". So my biggest feat, in living with this illness, has probably been forcing myself to override this inherent part of my character. To accept my life for what it is - when it comes down to it, the needles, the blood samples, the constant number games… they cannot be avoided. Insulin is a necessity that my body - through some unfortunate series of events - cannot provide.

For me there is the added crux of an additional illness, which s requires me to stand on a ledge - of varying heights - each and every day. Just as wearing an insulin pump is an integral part of my life, so is eating. Despite huge leaps forward, I will be the first to admit that I am far from fully recovered from my eating disorder. The added diabetes complication in the last year has played a significant role in this - blood sugar difficulties are the most dangerous catalyst for the "monster" rearing its ugly head again, because I have over a decade of scripted thoughts around "bad carbs" and "diabetes rules". When I see high blood sugars, carbohydrate anxieties fall down on me like a monsoon, and I can find myself drowning all too quickly.

So standing on this new ledge is pragmatism - a way of safeguarding myself from a fall that is potentially far more dangerous. I have made too many breakthroughs on the recovery side of things recently, to allow my other illness to submerge them. I've finally had dominoes at Uni, I've stopped attaching the pointless "skinny" to my coffee order, and I've discovered that rich teas really don't take the biscuit…The nature of eating disorders, though, is that they are always looking for things to latch onto - even when you are seemingly doing so well, they are like a parasite, clinging onto anything and everything. I remember a doctor once telling seven-year-old me that "insulin is the key to open the lock". I think the key analogy is a really useful way for seeing so many things - not least of all reminding yourself that, more often than not, it is held by you. No one else. You make the choice.

My main reasoning behind this post, is simply about taking those leaps of faith. All too often I see people fall into clouds and evade that silver lining; I include myself in this.

photo credit: pinterest

Hard and doubt-ridden decisions may feel, at the time, the opposite of a safe choice. It might be uncomfortable; entering the unknown always is. When you are not quite sure what the ground your next step falls onto will be - you might even lose your footing. But I think, for me, it comes back to remembering that life isn't going to be one seamless move after another.

This may seem like a rather bizarre - and obscure - analogy. Although to those who know me, this may not come as a surprise…! However, it was something that just came to me the other week, and has stuck. I don't know how many people will be familiar with the Alphapuzzle? A system of correlating 26 numbers with each letter of the alphabet, on a crossword-style grid. For years I was convinced that it was unsolvable….

...until a week ago, because I completed it on my own - with no iPhone app help - for the first time. It was on the train journey up to Newcastle for my grandpa's funeral, where I became a little fixated on working my way through the Sunday Express puzzle page, where he always completed the crossword. My grandma did the Alphapuzzle though, and sudoku. So I was on a mission to finish, and I think it was this determination that saw me discover one of the crucial 'skills' needed.

Along with a reasonable grasp of the English language, and a bit of logic, you essentially need a bit of nerve. A handful of the letters you fill in will not be the definitive right answer. You have to go with your gut. Well I did - case in point. I know some people might be thinking - did this girl seriously go on for three paragraphs about a puzzle? Well… as I mentioned earlier, it is me, so perhaps not too surprising.

But it's a snapshot example of how, so often in life, you can never guarantee an outcome. It's taken some rather painful awakenings for me to stare life's not fair straight in the face and say: Okay. I get it. I accept that you are not going to give me an easy paper round here; though on the odd occasion, Diabetes, letting me sleep through the night (no 2am blood sugar wake-up call) would be appreciated. Nonetheless, it is about also saying: but I won't settle for "that's just the way it is". So you need to keep searching for solutions, even if the lightbulb answer isn't shining above you - life's red traffic lights instead seeming like the only source of light.

This isn't just about dealing with diabetes, an eating disorder, or any chronic/mental illness. It is dealing with life, with all its hurdles and hiccups; the things that make us want to hide under a blanket and turn off all the lights. You just have to make sure that you don't allow them go out.

Possibility over inevitability. Taking the leap of faith… and trusting in your feet to make that landing for you.

Source: Perks of Being a Wallflower
photo credit: pinterest

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