Wednesday morning, Pete and I signed up for a Diabetes Art session with my fabulous friend Lee Ann Thill of The Butter Compartment. I’ll admit to being a bit nervous, as I always am when charged with creating art because I just don’t feel I’m all that artistic. (Before you bring up the knitting, I need to point out that knitting from a pattern doesn't involve a lot of creativity - it is simply following directions step by step, which really suits my personality!) My hope going into the session was that at some point, inspiration would strike like it did for Diabetes Art Day and I'd end up with something I was happy with.
Our assignment was to create a positive and happy self portrait. In the end, my creation bore a striking resemblance to my Diabetes Art Day project. I was pleased with my portrait, even if I do seem to be only capable of creating one type of d-art.
|Click to enlarge.|
|Click to enlarge.|
A session on Friday afternoon provided therapy in a different way. For the last session of the conference, I chose to attend “Managing Transitions as Adults” with Jill Weissberg-Benchell. As it turns out, we attendees had a lot more on our minds than transitions, and Jill was fabulous enough to suggest very quickly that we pull our chairs into a circle and just discuss anything about diabetes that we have trouble coping with. I surprised myself by blurting out some pretty heavy stuff that weights on me, but that I’ve always tried hard to keep buried deep inside - and then bursting into tears. I will say I wasn’t the only one dealing with heavy stuff or shedding tears. Although it was somewhat comforting to know I’m not alone in these feelings, it also makes me angry. In my experience, all of the emphasis is put on the physical side of diabetes while the emotional side is completely ignored. I see tons of information about putting together a trusted medical team to help manage diabetes, but very little about finding a good counselor or mental health professional to help work through the emotional toll our chronic illness can take on us. For me, it’s always instilled a “fear of the unknown” that has kept me from finding a professional to talk everything over with. Instead, I try to put on a happy and positive face for the world, even when inside I'm feeling the exact opposite. After sharing that session and interacting with the other attendees and with Jill, I’m feeling much more receptive towards finding someone to help me work through the diabetes emotions that weigh so heavily on me at times.
If you’ve taken part in any kind of therapy to help cope with the emotions of diabetes, I’d love to hear your thoughts. If you’d rather not share in the comments section, I welcome you to email me.