By Courtney | 4 Rookie Marks »

Due to a number of things, with diabetes at the top of the list, I’m now seeing a counselor. That’s something that I’ve avoided almost successfully during my 16 year (and still going) career with diabetes. My opinion of counselors is dimly lit. Quite frankly, I’ve always thought there was nothing they could do to help me. And, quite frankly, for the most part, I still agree. To me, they’re a waste of time and money. I have my opinions and anyone that knows me knows that changing my opinions doesn’t happen easily.

My opinion of my counselor after the first time I saw her was “I’m paying for a friend I don’t want. I’m paying to have someone listen to me and tell me what they think. That’s what friends do. I’m paying to hash out things I’ve been hashing out for years with my parents and FRIENDS.”

I told her that at my last appointment. Her response was “I’m not a friend” (well duh, i’m paying for you, I don’t pay for my friends, it’s an analogy, but I didn’t tell her that.) “I’m a trained observer” (at which point, my thought was, and I’m the monkey, but I didn’t tell her that either.) “My job is to give you objective insight of what you’re telling me. I’m an outside source looking in. I’m have no relations to your situation.” (do you see the window she’s peering through, with her hands up to it because of the glare?).

Things progress and we get to a point where I said something and the next thing I know, we’re talking about perception. That momentarily sent my head into a course of “God Shaped Hole” by Plumb.

*sings* Every point of view has another angle. And every angle has its merit *end singing*

Yes, perception. How we understand stuff. What we see stuff as. Perception.

My perception of diabetes is grave. I think that it has destroyed my life. I don’t live with it. I’m surviving with it. (barely, sometimes.) I’ve had this perception since a few months after I was diagnosed when my childhood was drastically changed by a doctor’s note that excused me from gym class because a short time on the field would put me in the nurses office for a couple of hours to treat low blood sugars. That’s where it all began, the perception that diabetes destroyed my life.

And what would cause me to change that perception when I was little…nothing…there was no reason to. Diabetes had taken away my right to go to gym class. That was 5th grade. Now we go to 7th grade, when because of my diabetes I couldn’t go on orchestra trips. And then 9th grade when I couldn’t even be in orchestra because I couldn’t go on orchestra trips. Because those trips were competitions and training for those competitions was what class was about. I’d get an automatic C- if I didn’t go to the competitions. I was a straight A student. I made the decision to not be in orchestra because a C wasn’t good enough. Another perception, but that one is fed by parents, schools, and universities, grades matter.

The summer before 8th grade I took my first vacation from diabetes. 3 months without checking my blood or taking shots. The reasoning there, the evil step mother that wanted to watch me do everything and make sure that I was doing it right. I’d had diabetes for 2 years at this point. This is where my rebellion against diabetes began. But why would I want to take care of my diabetes if I couldn’t do the things I wanted; was my reasoning, in many cases it’s still my reasoning today.

I can’t say whether or not anything was done to change my perception when I gained my ill fated vision of what diabetes was going to be in my life. I was a bullheaded pre-teen when I was diagnosed with diabetes. I was a bullheaded teen when my rebellion against diabetes began. And I’m a bullheaded upper 20 somethings year old now that still thinks diabetes is the devil; that nothing good is going to come from it.

I have a bad perception of diabetes and though I’ve been trying to change it since March 2007 it’s not an easy thing to do. I’ve been on this train of thought about diabetes for the better part of 16 years. And on more days than not, diabetes still frustrates me to the point where I’m still yelling about how much I HATE, VEHEMENTLY HATE IT!

That’s one perception that’s not going to go away. It’s not like broccoli. That veggie that I’ve hated since I was 6. I’ve grown to re-like it. Diabetes isn’t the broccoli in my life. There will be no like…hopefully though, while I’m still waiting for a cure, one day there will be a day where I don’t think that it’s destroyed my life…but again…perception…it’s not easy to change.

4 Rookie Marks On Perception

  1. This is a great post, and I’ve been thinking about it and hoping to read other comments on it since I first read it.
    Thank you for being so open and sharing this with the world.
    I don’t really know what to say, so I’ll just say a few things I’m thinking.

    Things about therapists:
    That bit about her not being your friend is important. She shouldn’t care whether or not you like her. There is a lot to be said for objectivity.
    She should be a professional, which implies things about expertise as well as detachment. Of course, just as there are lousy doctors and lawyers, there are lousy therapists.

    It breaks my heart to read your account of how you were treated, and the limits that were placed on you, because of diabetes.
    It says a lot about your strength that you are getting past all of those people telling you that you couldn’t do things.
    They should have known better. Ron Santo was playing Major League Bseball in 1959. Ham Richardson and Bill Talbert were champion tennis players even before then.
    It’s outrageous that people were telling you, and are probably still telling other diabetics, that sports are too dangerous.

    I hate this disease, too.
    But I read your blog and get inspiration from it, so I don’t think that diabetes has destroyed your life.
    I don’t necessarily agree with people who try to say it is a positive thing.
    I hate it. I want to be cured.
    But I know that my choice right now is fight it or let it win, and I think we’ve both decided to fight.

    ...said Jerry Nairn on February 26th, 2009
  2. Hey there, I’d like to think that diabetes has pushed you to be the person that you are today. Perhaps, if you didn’t have this most terrible condition, you would have fallen into the same laziness that most americans tend to worship.

    ...said Will on February 28th, 2009
  3. Ug. She’s clearly a different theoretical orientation from me. My answer to that question is generally, “I’m not your friend – if you need friends, though, we can work on that. I’m here to help you change something. What, we don’t know yet, but I figure you wouldn’t be here if something didn’t need changing.”

    ...said Misty on March 5th, 2009

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