Changing Motivations

When I was a child, I lived for the day. I didn’t understand that the future would come and my actions now might have consequences then. My parents invested considerable time and energy to give me good diabetes control as a child and I did what needed to be done to take care of diabetes because I did what I was told. Fortunately it also didn’t occur to me to rebel.

As a teenager, I didn’t always do what needed to be done at all, and the word rebellion was very relevant. But my motivation to do the minimum that I did do was driven purely by fear – of being “told off” by my parents, or my doctors, even though I can’t recall them ever getting directly angry. Exasperated might be the word. Fear of being judged I suppose, and fear of being so low or so high that my symptoms were obvious to others and would make me stand out. Nothing unusual about being a teenage girl who just wants to fit in.

Sometime in my late teens though, the focus of my fear changed literally overnight.

It was always around 4am when it happened. Not that I ever knew that straight away. By the time I looked at the clock, after a few seconds of flailing around in the darkness with my heart pounding in my chest, the panic would be gone, because once I saw the glowing red digital display, I knew that I wasn’t blind. But in those moments between full sleep and complete wakefulness, my imagination would work overtime, convincing me that I couldn’t see. That the inky blackness surrounding me wasn’t real, but just the gap in my consciousness that my eyes had failed to fill in. It was an unrealistic and irrational panic, because I know it would be unlikely to happen ‘just-like-that’ from fine to blind, but the underlying fear – of losing my eyesight – was very real.

I feared it so deeply because its impact would have been so total, and it became my primary motivator. Each time the burden of diabetes care became too much, each time it seemed too much of a chore, or too restrictive or just too plain unfair, I’d remember the potential consequences of not knuckling down and getting on with it, and it would keep me going, remind me that it was worthwhile.

I didn’t think I would ever find a more powerful motivator. I was wrong.

I’ve never been more determined, more motivated or more inspired to achieve excellent blood glucose control than I am right now, and that is all down to the little person growing inside me.

Whereas before I was motivated by fear of what might happen to me – short term fear of hypoglycaemia and the injury or embarrassment that is could cause, as well as that longer term fear of complications and their impact on my life, now I’s not just about me. Suddenly the choices I make about my health directly impact the health of someone else who is totally reliant on me and totally defenceless. I’ve always been aware that my health doesn’t just affect me, but is also big part of life for those that love me. But none of those people have ever had the potential to be so directly affected. Hurt or harmed even. It’s a much bigger fear than the fear of blindness.

I feel so protective of this little life that we’ve created, it’s intoxicating. Diabetes is still hard work. Especially hard work even, during this pregnancy. But it doesn’t cross my mind not to keep pouring my heart and soul in to taming the beast that it is. I may have a choice, but my baby doesn’t. So there simply is no alternative.

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