Saturday, April 10, 2010

Dealing with Denial

Radically changing your diet isn't easy even if it is done with a lot of logic, by baby steps, and in the name of being healthier, feeling better, and having a longer life. There are those times when you are going to have a part of you screaming for those very things you really don't want to put in your body. There are times when you are going to be resentful of not being able to eat the way that you did in the past or that you perceive that others are eating around you. There are going to be times when you are hungry and your choices are limited or none. There are going to be times when you mourn what was with an intensity that may bring tears to your eyes.

How do I feel about all of this? This morning, I am having a not easy time. I woke up with my stomach growling and the desire to eat a lot of whatever I could get. I didn't do that though. I did the things that were necessary to help my girlfriend get off to a craft show, and I rested a bit. Then I decided to start the laundry and shower keeping to my usual morning routine. I took care of the baby. (Our grandson Benji is visiting.) Then I made myself a cup of coffee and heated up some mini quiche. I have been eating Luna bars for breakfast most mornings, but I knew that today I wanted something warm and rich so the quiche it was. I have finished and still feel a hungry, gnawing emptiness inside. I am not going to eat though. I know that I am not really hungry.

I am becoming a person who doesn't overeat. I am becoming a person who watches my carbs. To a certain extent, the action part of this "becoming" happened overnight. The inside change is far more slow though. Throughout it all is a mourning process. I think it is similar to the stages of grief that psychologists use to talk about mourning the loss of a loved one.

I have had the denial. In my case, it was very short lived. Diana has diabetes. I had had "pre-denial" with her. There is a feeling that maybe the test results are wrong. There is a feeling that maybe it isn't really so bad. I still look for research supporting a "do nothing-high blood glucose is not so bad" theory. It just isn't there. Seeing the results of poorly controlled diabetes in both Diana's stepfather and her father really keep me from returning to denial too often.

I have had anger. Again, perhaps I am lucky, because any anger related to my situation was very short lived because I had done it all before with Diana. Why does Diana have to watch what she eats? Why does she have to have a horrible disease? It isn't fair! The truth is that lots of other people have worse problems. Those thoughts keep me from returning to anger for too long. I would rather have diabetes than not be able to walk. I would rather have diabetes than have unpredictable seizures. I would rather have diabetes than have one of my children die. I would rather have diabetes than be horribly disfigured. There are others who may have any one of those negative life situation that I mentioned who very well may say, I'd rather have be me than have diabetes, but I am sure that you can see my point. Everyone is different, and no one has everything easy.

I have had bargaining. Maybe I can just switch to whole grains, and everything will be OK. Maybe if I lose weight then I will be able to pig out. Maybe if I am a very good girl, all of this will fade into the background and being healthy will become easy again. The fact is that I will have to watch what I eat for the rest of my life. I will not be able to over eat. I will not be able to eat a lot of carbs. If I lose weight, I may be able to eat more carbs and have more treats on occasion than I do now, but I will never be able to go back to being a person who overeats or a person who doesn't watch their carb intake on some level. Not like I was before.

I have had depression. Matter of fact, I have had some this morning when I am overtired, and the not overeating and the carb watching, just seem to be extra things that I don't want to have to deal with. I am sad. I am so glad that I have spent a lot of time this past year studying mindfulness and positivity though. Without those, I am sure that I would have given up on this diet change before the first week was up. When the depression creeps up, I need to work harder on the mindfulness. I need to find the positive in the moment. I need to know that life is worth it even when it is hard. I think of the joy of climbing a mountain, intimacy with my partner, playing with my grandson, being a helper and support person for my children, just standing on my own two feet in the sunshine not feeling too unhealthy to enjoy the moment. Those things are what keep me out of depression. I have depressive tendencies, so this will be the most difficult "stage" for me to leave behind.

Do I have acceptance? I like to think so. I have moments of acceptance. It is not a steady journey though. There is a lot of bouncing around. I believe that the moments of acceptance will grow and grow until I truly am that person who doesn't overeat and who watches their carbs both inside and out. I am already a person with diabetes. I am determined to be a person with diabetes who lives a long and healthy life with no complications. In order to do that, I need to keep my blood glucose levels under tight control. That is my goal.

1 comment:

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