Weighing Your Options – Don’t Choose the Heavy One

by | Nov 2, 2017 | Blog, Dealingwithyourdiabetes, Ownership | 0 comments

I want to tell you a story about my son Sam.  He is one of the most brilliant, kind-hearted, loving people I know.  And he has ADHD.  I asked him if I could share this and of course, he said: “Sure, if it can help someone”.  That’s my Sam.   His mind moves at speeds I can’t imagine which is a blessing and a curse.  He is off to his next thought many times before he has finished his last one and not surprisingly, he tends to forget things.

Last week he had a writing assignment to do.  That is not his favorite either – fun factor of zero.  By the time his brain tells his hand what to do, it is off to the next thought as well, leaving said hand at a loss for what to do.  The assignment was to be turned in online by 10:00 pm Sunday.  He has a very dedicated teacher who sent emails and texts evenings and throughout the weekend reminding the students of the impending deadline.   I am on the distribution list and after each text, I checked in with Sam and he assures me he is “on it”.  Sunday afternoon rolls around and when I check in at 2:00 he confirms he has turned it in and is good to go.  Whew, disaster averted.

At 10:00 Sunday evening I receive a text from his teacher telling me Sam has not turned in his assignment.  I rouse my sleeping son to have him resend it, feeling assured that it was done and submitted.  I hand him his iPad and he fumbles through screens and finally fesses up he didn’t do it.   I am more than “a little peeved” at his out-and-out lie and he knows it.  But it is late and he has trouble sleeping anyway, so the consequences can wait until tomorrow.

When we have “the talk”, he proceeds to tell me how it got away from him.  First, he wasn’t clear on what to do but was embarrassed to ask.  The longer he looked for something to help him figure it out, the more frustrated he got.  The more he thought about writing, the larger and larger the task seemed.  Not wanting to publicize his struggle, he just told me what I wanted to hear (“I’m on it Mom!”) and inside the remorse and fear were growing.  Now he was in deep.  The emotions play on each other and what should have been a minor assignment, turned into a major catastrophe.  The clock was ticking and he was no closer on Sunday than he had been on Thursday when it was assigned.  The frustration was too much, the fear was too great and as he put it “I just abandoned it.”

So life is full of consequences, and he had his.   He had to do what was necessary to get the work done (and he lost a few fun things for a while until he earns back my trust).  This included an apology to his teacher for disrespecting her time and efforts, as well as a humble request for assistance.  Once he was clear on the assignment, it turned out he had the paper in his binder and it was 80% completed!  I have never seen a kid so happy!

Taking a page from coaching, I asked Sam to put his hands out in front of him.  I asked him to feel the weight of not doing the work (the fear, frustration, anxiety, humiliation, giving up) in his right hand and the weight of the work required to get it done (facing fear, seeking clarity, asking for help, doing the work) in his left hand.  Which was heavier to carry around?  His obvious answer was the right hand!!  He could literally feel how much more he suffered because of obscured belief.  He learned a valuable lesson.  OMG did he wish he had a “do over”!!

The same is true for diabetes management, sometimes the thought of doing it (the blood sugar checks, the needles, the medicine, the doctor visits, the frustration, etc) feels so big that many people just want to abandon the entire effort.  But I have found that most of the time, the emotions you carry around about how bad and big it is are out of proportion to just getting it done.  And regardless of which route you decide to go, you are the one who is most impacted by the “weight” of your decision.  But unlike an 8th-grade science paper that resolves itself within a week, diabetes doesn’t go away.

If you have the rest of your life to carry the weight, my advice?  Choose the lighter option, you’ll feel better.



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