Today is World Diabetes Day!

Well today’s the day we diabetics get our own day, so let me say HOORAY! Ok that’s a bit much, for diabetes is an insidious disease that can have far reaching consequences. I thought that today is MY day, I would give you all a lecture about how to live your life to prevent type 2 diabetes. 1 in 4 people will develop diabetes in their life, that’s a fact. Trust me from my personal experience that it’s definitely not a good way to live your life for it impacts it with everything you do, and there’s no escape once diagnosis is achieved, except if you have gestational diabetes, and even then sometimes it will stay on in your body. Diabetes has an impact on every cell in your body, so listen to Aunty Emily and pay attention.

Essentially, diabetes is a condition where the body cannot produce insulin, which transports the sugar you eat across from your bloodstream to your muscles to be used as energy. The symptoms include;

  1. Excessive weight loss over a short period of time (months).
  2. Unexplained weight gain (type 2)
  3. Excessive thirst (I was drinking up to 3 litres per day at the time of my diagnosis).
  4. Constant hunger that normal eating won’t satisfy (not I get up in the middle of the night and eat my sister’s chocolate bar that she thought I didn’t know she had).
  5. Passing a lot of urine (I practically lived on the toilet).
  6. Feeling lethargic (not ‘I just want a sleep-in because it’s the weekend’).
  7. Having cuts or wounds that refuse to heal.
  8. Blurred vision.
  9. Mood swings (I was ropeable apparently around the time of diagnosis).
  10. Headaches, dizziness, leg cramps.

I’m going to tell you you some of my story. Not all of it, because it’s been nearly 29 years, and there a lot of things I can say, but I think this will do for now. Talking about this is so very difficult for me, but I think the least I can do is try and tell you why I’m so passionate about diabetes prevention. It’s had an impact on my life that’s across the board, I have to monitor myself constantly, and be ever vigilant. I’m having 5 injections a day, and up to 5 blood tests where I have to use a small device, a bit like a trigger, where I press a button to release the spring-loaded mechanism, and it hurts. The injections aren’t too hard to perform, but I still find myself wincing even though I’ve had countless amounts. My everyday life has really hard because I started developing complications when I was 18 years old, because they start showing up about 8 years after diagnosis. I’ll get to that in a moment. I was ostracised at school because I was treated specially as I have things called hypos, in which there’s too much insulin in my body and I need sugar fast, or I can go into a coma fairly quickly. Many a diabetic has been taken for a drunk when this happens, as you lose your motor functions, making it hard to talk without slurring your voice, and very difficult to even attempt walking properly. I have to watch what I eat, as it’s even more important for me to get essential vitamins and nutrients, have low fat foods, and stay away from high sugar items like most cakes and sweets because they can make me go into the opposite of a hypo called hyperglycaemia. This can also put me into a coma, but this time it’s too much sugar or glucose in the blood, and I’ll experience the symptoms I’ve listed above. Anything can upset my sugar levels, from being ill to stress and the depression which has resulted from having diabetes, but that’s fairly common with us. I’ve now managed to tick almost all the complication boxes, so here’s a handy reference about what diabetes can do if you can’t control it;

  • Blindness – I have background retinopathy, which results from pressure building up at the back of the eye in the tiny blood cells that break, causing the vion to b obscured. So far my eyesight is only blurry, but part of that is due to the cateract that’s in my left eye which I developed because of, you guessed it, the diabetes.
  • Kidney problems – my kidney function is impaired, but it’s holding for now. The biggest cause of kidney failure is diabetes.
  • Amputee – I had an accident 7 years ago where I broke my Fibula and Tibea by falling over. The bones couldn’t heal, so eventually I developed gangrene and my right leg was taken from below the knee. I was so annoyed because it was my driving leg, I thought if my horse was going to step on my foot and cause me to lose my balance, then the least thing would be to have it be my left leg!
  • Gastroparesis – I can’t digest food.
  • Lack of saliva, causing me to lose all my teeth, which is just so attractive when you’re 38 and female, and I’m still in the process of having them removed.
  • Peripheral Neuropathy, an incredibly painful condition in the hands and feet where the nervous system is basically dying so there’s a lot of numbness, but perversely is also the opposite, where the nerves are sending signals and there is a a whole communication problems so the nerves are trying to be heard. Typing isn’t fun, nor is anything that demands touch, as the nerves will fire at random. Only Methadone can touch it, and I refuse because I’ve been there, done that, and I will not live my life drugged up to the eyeballs. So there!
  • Hypothyroidism – also known as an underactive thyroid, which makes me put on weight easily.
  • Sinus Tachycardia – in real language, a fast heart rate.
  • High blood pressure.

Now that I’ve scared you all to death, I must stress that this is diabetes has developed in me, in my body. I’m like this way because of the nature of my family situation, when I was growing up I had a emotionally abusive father, and was producing a large amount of cortisol (adrenaline). That causes sugar levels to go very high, and it’s prolonged high levels that do the damage. Diabetes can be controlled in a normal environment, but every effort has to be made to support the person in question.  Family and friends play a key role in ensuring the person has all the tools available to help manage their diabetes. There are definitely diabetics walking around who’ve been type 1 for 50 plus years, but they’re the lucky ones. There is actually an organisation in Australia who give out a medal to type 1 who been diagnosed for 50 years. Yes that’s right, a medal, and I’m going to do my best to get one! So how/why/when can you get it? You are considered ‘At Risk’ if you;

  1. Have someone in your family who has type 2 diabetes. It’s hereditary, in the genetics, so at least you’ll have someone to blame, unlike me as I have type 1 which I developed when I was 10 years old. Experts simply don’t know what causes the T cells in the immune system to suddenly attack the islets in the pancreas, but they’re constantly looking for the answer, and many promising studies are being conducted right now, but they need time.
  2. If you are inactive, overweight, eating unhealthy foods (such as high sugar and fat content), this is why countries like America and Britain have high incidences of diabetes.
  3. If you have high blood pressure, heart disease or high cholesterol.

If you have one or more of these things, there is a risk assessment tool that you can use, please go here, but also see your doctor if you’re concerned.

Now that’s quite scary when a lot of people are at risk, but guess what? Type 2 is preventable! That makes it all the more distressing, when you realise that such a prevalent disease is so very preventable. There’s a lot of support out there for people trying to reduce their risk of getting diabetes, and if I could possibly identify someone who could be at risk, I’d be there with bells on. Plus, every other kind of decoration available. If you believe you or a friend has problems with any of the above symptomology, share this article, and use the above tool It could save your life. If you have these symptoms and are concerned about it, please see your doctor as soon as possible. I’m not a health professional, I just happen to know my foe extremely well.

What are the positive things you can do to prevent type 2 diabetes? I’m afraid it’s the usual, exercise, and a healthy diet. It’s so important for your general health, let alone diabetes prevention. Your risk of major and minor health problems is dictated by what you eat and how you manage your exercise, it really comes down to that in the long run. I know nowadays there are a lot of people who are dealing with stress, a sedentary lifestyle because their job requires them to be behind a desk all day, and bad eating habits in a world that seems to have little time for anything. I urge you to make the choice to look after yourself, remember you’re going to have that body for your entire life, so it’s slightly difficult to trade in and get a new one. If it were possible, I’d have been there, again with the bells on, waiting whatever time necessary in order to get the tickets, and I’m sure my parents would have paid any price at all to take it from me.

This article was not to upset or depress you, rather to get you to contemplate the causes and prevention of diabetes. If you’re at risk, I want you to consider the future, not only for yourself but the ramifications of what would happen to your family in that situation. There are many type 2’s wandering around without knowing they’re diabetic at all, and unfortunately it’s in those early stages that the damage is done to your body, so prevention is a far better option than a cure that I do not believe I will see in my life time. My life is still rich and complex, as I’m at the stage where I love my existence, despite my problems or perhaps because of it.

If you’d like further information, go to Diabetes Australia or have a look at the Diabetes Australia Victoria. If you’re a newly diagnosed diabetic or the friend or family member of a diabetic I’ve provided a link to Diabetes Counselling Online, a site and service set up by a diabetic who saw the need for it.


The epitome of education-based suffering: THE ESSAY! (part 2)

This post works for me, as I’m going back to therapy, I use meditation, and as of next year I’ll be going back to university to do Behavioural Psychology. For me it’s essential to use both psychology and spiritualism however I know that it’s whatever works for you. I’m dealing with a friend who’s suffering a crisis of his self-worth and he doesn’t understand that it’s not me that’s going to get him out of it, it’s him. But then his worth has been measured in the past by his accomplishments, not his intrinsic value as a human being, simply by being born.

and we’re back with part 2! the psychological side of the essay.

So you’ve gotten the brief or notification for the task; you have to write an essay on such and such with all of these criteria that you have to meet, and you’re terrified, or you’re dreading it. Why? What’s there to be scared about? Well let me tell you.

It’s something deep in our psyche that we are scared of.

You’re scared of failure, Rejection, anything that proves to you that ‘you’re not good enough’

Deeply embedded into pretty much of all of us is the fear that we are not good enough and while it may seem a simple concept it can be seriously damaging in the long term. As a core belief, this thought has the power to permeate anything we do and it comes up in situations that require performance especially, essays for example. You can read a little about core beliefs here if you’re interested:

What are core beliefs?

More often than not, we don’t know why we ‘need to be good enough’ or who we need to be good enough for and often we just end up saying “I need to be good enough for this person so I can feel like I’m worth it” or something like that. This is just how we explain it away to ourselves but at the core, what is really happening is we are placing our value in the hands of other people. We are basically creating this spiral:

“If you don’t like something I do, you mustn’t like me, which means other people don’t like me either and I’m not good enough. If I’m not good enough then what’s the point?”

This is, in essence, how our insecurities work. We over-catastrophise small thoughts, events and consequences and they become huge parts of our lives and we lose control. This is because we’ve given everyone else the control over our own self-worth.

Give it back! I want my power back!

The good news is you’re not stuck with these thoughts. From a psychological perspective, these core beliefs can be essentially ‘fixed’ using a form of therapy called CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy), which I am undergoing at the moment and it has been quite useful so far. However, I am no psychologist and I have much more knowledge on a spiritual front so I’ll talk about that because I find it more relatable.

Most forms of spirituality teach a ‘return to the self’ where we recognise that as humans we are conditioned into our ways of thinking and acting through our interactions with society (think social rules and etiquette for example). Taoism in particular relates the true self to the infant at birth during which time it has no thought and no desire, no conditioning and therefore, no core beliefs. So how do we get back to this emptied state?

Yes, this can be just as time-consuming and difficult as psychological therapy but it’s through meditation and ‘stillness’ that we can revert to basically nothing. Now while that does sound a little esoteric, meditation has become common practice for a lot of people regardless of their beliefs and it’s even used as a technique for dealing with mental health difficulties. The point is that through meditation we can do quite a few beneficial things including, but not limited to:

  • Experience freedom from thought and worry
  • Still the body and relax
  • Contemplate
  • Become aware of your body and mind on a deeper level (which is really cool)

Now I’m not just using this post as a form of promotion for meditation and spirituality but I really do believe that this works as I’ve seen results in myself. You’ll notice that when you become more aware of yourself you have more control over things like parts of your body and your mind, including your thoughts and fears.

mhm, so what’s this got to do with essays?

Well the essay is a form of performance right? So without knowing you naturally fear the outcome of this; you’ll have to go and spend time writing an essay all the while worrying that it won’t be ‘good enough’ and then when you submit it you’ll be worrying that it won’t be ‘good enough’ because you think that to be ‘good enough’ you have to please others. Well honey that’s just not true, we are all born perfect; devoid of mind, personality and desire. It’s only our conditioning making us worry and think that we aren’t good enough. Your conditioning is not you.

So you go write that essay! you go get those marks! Because at the end of the day,you have the power over your own self-worth and that is something you should never give away.

What do you think? A bit of a stretch to liken psychology, spirituality and essays, I know, but I found it some useful food for thought.


This is by one of my very favourite authors, Rudyard Kipling. This poem is about a father giving advice to his son, but it really resonates for everyone. Everyone should be given a copy of this on their 18th Birthday. It’s about growing up, shouldering responsibility, but also assigning yourself value, and cherishing your own character. A fantastic read, and one of my favourite poems of Kipling’s.

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise

If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;

If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;

If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!”


There Is Nothing New Under The Sun

I’m going to do here what every writer does when they can’t write or finish a piece – I’m going to Share what I’ve been reading. At least I give you nothing but the best people! This is wise old Ecclesiates, and my reason for Sharing is quite simple, even if you’re not a Christian this is sound advice for life. People constantly ask about the meaning of life, about the secrets of existence but all you really have to do is read this and other memorable parts of the Bible and the meaning becomes more clear, even if it’s just a bit. Take a chance and read it then tell me I never do anything for you!

This is about constancy, that no nasty surprises are going to happen in the future. The universe may be constantly active but life will remain the same no matter how advanced we think we’re becoming nothing new will come about. Take a look at ancient civilisations for example, most of them were as advanced as we are today. The Romans, Greeks, Spartans, read the Iliad and the Odyssey by Homer (A Masterpiece) and you’ll discover that they all had the same knowledge as us.

 “There Is Nothing New Under The Sun”

 Ecclesiastes  1:4-11

A generation goes, and a generation comes,
but the earth remains forever.

The sun rises, and the sun goes down,
and hastens to the place where it rises.

The wind blows to the south
and goes around to the north;
around and around goes the wind,
and on its circuits the wind returns.

All streams run to the sea,
but the sea is not full;
to the place where the streams flow,
there they flow again.

All things are full of weariness;
a man cannot utter it;
the eye is not satisfied with seeing,
nor the ear filled with hearing.

What has been is what will be,
and what has been done is what will be done,
and there is nothing new under the sun.

Is there a thing of which it is said,
“See, this is new”?
It has been already
in the ages before us.

There is no remembrance of former things,
nor will there be any remembrance
of later things yet to be among those who come after.