Addiction, Part II
So, my last post was about a diabetes addiction; about the desire to have such a razor-sharp focus on every little thing that I do to my body and that it does to me. About staying tuned in to every BG movement, for fear of straying too far off course. But with all the little tweaks and fixes, my DPS (Diabetes Positioning System) that tried to navigate me through life was stuck in a perpetual state of “recalculating.”
While writing that post, I was already thinking about my follow-up, one on a different kind of diabetes addiction — or obsession (as I write this, I keep waffling between the two terms). This time, I’m talking about an addition to/obsession with constantly talking, listening, reading, and writing about diabetes, whether through the Online Community or through other forums (but mostly online. In my world, “other forums” is a very, very short list).
Social media can be addicting. Everyone knows that. A few years ago, Facebook had me a hold on me, hook, line, and sinker. Then I realized that the people who were jerks in high school still are jerks, and I didn’t need them or their drama at this stage in my life. These days, I rarely use it. Lately, the DOC has consumed all my free computer time, and to be quite honest, some of my (not-free) should-be-working time as well. Instead of habitually clicking on my Yahoo front-page-news page, I go to my DBlog-RSS-Page. Whereas I once believed Twitter was completely useless, I eagerly anticipate that little bluebird icon on my cell phone that says a fellow PWD is thinking of me.
When I started this blog, I knew that it would take a commitment to keep up with it. But I didn’t know what it would do to me. I didn’t expect to be sitting in front of the computer ‘til the wee-hours of the morning trying to pump out content to meet an artificial self-made deadline.
Sometimes I believe the time and dedication it takes to being part of the DOC is comparable to what it takes to manage diabetes itself. And I don’t even participate in #dsma chats, Insulindependence, or Glu – not because they aren’t valuable, but I simply haven’t got the time.
Being part of the DOC takes discipline. And like nearly everything else in life, it should be taken in moderation.
The DOC can, indeed, be an addiction. But unlike the addiction I wrote about last week, which can arguably be called a compulsion, this one fits the definition of addiction a bit more closely. It makes me happy. It makes me feel strong. It helps me overcome my inhibitions. It helps subdue my fears. It’s something I crave.
It’s also something that’s on my mind all the time. It’s intrusive and overwhelming. If the whole idea of tuning basal rates is to let the pump run on autopilot between meals and allow the individual to think about the finer (non-D) points in life, the DOC reels the mind back in to the topic it so desperately wants to escape. How can I call myself a “PWD” rather than a “diabetic”, suggesting that I’m defined by my species rather than my disease, when every breath I take, every move I make, is about diabetes?
I think about diabetes too much. Yes, it’s a 24/7 condition, but it doesn’t need to engulf all 60 minutes of each of those 24 hours. Even my “Continuous” Glucose Monitor only wakes up twelve times an hour to check, and it’s a machine that’s got nothing better to do!
Sometimes I feel like being a part of the DOC can be unhealthy. All diabetes, all the time can be too much for me. Yes, there are some of you who are much more involved than I am, and I tip my hat to you. I honestly don’t know how you do it, though I’m sure glad you do. You make our otherwise lonely lives much more manageable.
The DOC has been a huge asset to my life. You guys taught me about super-boluses and rage boluses, Sure-T’s and faffles. Without the DOC, I wouldn’t know where to put my CGM sensor – or even if I should get one. I wouldn’t know how to explain my diabetes to a stranger or to my own child. I wouldn’t know which types of “cheating” are OK. I wouldn’t have someone of whom to ask questions when I’m stumped. I could try to motivate myself to believe that I can do this, but I wouldn’t have the inspiration from others who have, and still are, doing it.
I’m not going anywhere. I’m still keeping this blog and keeping involved in the DOC, but I think I need to scale my involvement back just a wee bit. Maybe I won’t get around to reading all of those DBlog Week posts from a couple of weeks ago. Maybe I won’t try to get four or five blog posts up every week. For my own sanity.
So, as I’m in my third day of trying to write this post, and it’s nearing 11:00 pm, I’ll force myself to stop now. My wife’s upstairs waiting for me. And though I love all of you and how you’ve accepted me into the Diabetes Online Community, I love her more. And it’s her turn now.