Diabetes Burnout, and The Business End of My Insolence
I remember the day, still. The day when I knew there was something wrong with me. I really don’t remember where I was going, or exactly what I was doing, but I wanted to dress in a certain favorite outfit. Matching shorts and tops, which had been custom made for me by… whom, exactly? A friend of the family? A neighbor, perhaps? I think it had been a neighbor. She had made them with love, and care – and the fabric had been a pattern I’ve long since forgotten. But I had a few sets in some colors, like purple (my favorite) and yellow. They were cheery patterns – the kind of stuff that celebrates childhood.
I reached for the drawer that morning, and longed to throw them on – and thus be ‘ready!’ (no doubt) for a day’s full of play-time. I enjoyed the ritual. Ever since mom had taught me how to dress myself, it was one of my most prized moments of ‘adulthood’ – a rite of passage. So when I threw them on and the thighs felt too tight, and the zipper wouldn’t budge past a certain point, I felt a certain pang of confusion, panic, and disappointment. I hadn’t had another growth spurt, had I? I hadn’t noticed getting any bigger…
I asked my mom, and I will never forget her answer… “Well, you’re fat. You gotta’ stop eating.” I was shocked that that could happen.
I was around 7 years old, then. I am 39 years old now, and I’m still repeating this exact line to myself. And still trying to figure how to stop being fat, and how to ‘stop eating.’
My life sometimes becomes a series of ‘what ifs.’ What if my life had been different? What if my family had had healthier eating habits, or served more balanced meals? What if my mom hadn’t force-fed me all the years she thought I was malnourished, at the insistence of my grandmother? What if vegetables had been more available, and offered with every meal? What if we had never been allowed to have as much soda as we wanted, and with every meal? What if my mother had taken personal responsibility for what she fed us, rather than placing the weight of my weight (ha!) upon my own shoulders – the shoulders of a child?
I have spent many years comforting myself with food… and many more years not understanding why I was overweight. Not understanding that besides the eating challenges brought on by an eating disorder, and the emotional emptiness of a busy mother and a lack of friends, I was also struggling with an underactive thyroid, and insulin resistance from Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. Not understanding why I’d lose 40 lbs, or 80, and then never lose anymore and remain heavy.
I have spent over 30 years blaming myself for being overweight. Many years wrestling with learning something which was never taught to me as a child, or even as a young adult. I have instead, been placed on every quick fix diet there ever was, every new ‘system,’ and every new ‘approach,’ and psycho-babble analyzed till the cows come home, by everyone with an opinion for anything they think I did wrong, or everything they think they understand.
I know a lot more now, and I’m more prepared. I am healthier. But still… I’ve never been my ideal weight. At least, not in over 30 years. I’m trying. I’m working on it. But I am burned out. And to say that I’m a little burned out from trying would be a huge understatement. I don’t need your pity for my struggles, but please understand if I roll my eyes at you when you come at me with your simplistic fixes for my 30 year marathon, my binge eating disorder, or when you tell me that “I brought type 2 diabetes on myself.”
Understand that I cannot compete with you. I have to love myself, at my own pace and where I am, in order to make progress. If you can reach your goals smoothly, good for you. I’ll cheer you on. But don’t harass me. Don’t judge me, and don’t heap blame on me… and DON’T offer me another ‘plan’ on how to reach my goals. I’ve got mine. Don’t pretend to know how I should walk. Type 2 diabetes might be a simple syringe for you, but for me, it is a mandatory undoing of childhood neglect, and more than 30 years of faulty programming… and there’s no syringe for that. Oh, feel free to sermonize at your own risk... but don't be surprised if you meet the business end of my insolence.
Do you live with any sleep disorders (eg. insomnia, sleep apnea, RLS) in addition to your diabetes?