“Sometimes I am my own worst enemy.”
What does that actually mean? Does it mean I take aim and shoot myself in the foot? Does it mean I hide from myself in my bunker? Ride head on into a battle with myself and see who comes out best? Shoot arrows back and forth across my room? Sneak around in a dark jungle looking for an opportunity to pounce on myself? Does it mean I deliberately set out to damage myself, to hurt myself, to sabotage my life?
No, in reality when I am my own worst enemy it usually means that even though I know what choices might be best for my health, my wellbeing, or my goals in life, I choose something else, something other, something infinitely more immediate, more soothing, more gratifying in the short term. In reality it means I am human. Most of us make these sorts of choices sometimes, most of us live a life that is sometimes in our best interests and sometimes not – we live a life of choices.
Sometimes, I choose not to do what is “best” for me, but what I feel like doing at the time without thinking about the consequences. This is tricky when you grow up with type 1 diabetes as you develop an overdeveloped sense of consequences. Of what your choice right now may lead to. Of all the terrible things that can happen if you don’t “do the right thing”. Oh but sometimes I just need to rebel, to break out and to have a little taste of not thinking about the consequences. Yet when you do – the battle begins.
This might mean not exercising for days on end, or even weeks despite knowing I need to do it and would probably enjoy it. Being too tired to go out walking even though I know it would make me more energised. Not stopping for a lunch break when I know it will clear my head. Choosing to buy chocolate during the week despite my chocolate on the weekend deal (because it was on special) knowing this will mean I eat it every day until it is gone. Working for 12 hours or more in a day. Not spending as much time with my kids as I would like…….
This might also mean that I then do the battle in my head. Beating myself up about these choices. Sometimes it means I defy myself, saying that I don’t care, that it doesn’t matter, that I can eat, do,or not do, whatever I like because at the end of the day what does it matter? We all die anyway.
This thought has been more present for me lately. It is not that I am depressed. Far from it. Many exciting and wonderful things are happening in my life and it is brimming over with happiness in fact. But the fact that I lost a dear young friend with type 1 diabetes this year and in order to be able to survive this tragic and terrible event, I had to bury the sadness along with my dear friend, means that sometimes, I just feel like I don’t care, like there is no tomorrow.
Maybe this is just a phase of this grief. When we are in deep grief sometimes it is too much to bear. Maybe I need to let this grief out a little more, not try to deny it. Or maybe sometimes I need to stop over thinking everything. If you have grown up with type 1 diabetes you will know what I mean about over thinking. Life is so much about planning, thinking, preparing, organising…..where does the freedom and spontaneity go?
Mindfulness teaches us to be present. Not to get caught up in our thinking, to be taken away from our daily living by our busy minds. This is a very powerful way of staying grounded, connected, centred. But far from thinking there is no tomorrow, mindfulness is about savouring today so we can savour tomorrow. Each day, each moment, is to be treasured and experienced.
That is how I want to live life. Being a mindful person with diabetes who is able to be as mindful about the being a person part, as they are about the being a diabetic part.
So will I be able to stop beating myself up, stop making choices that are not in my best interests sometimes? Probably not. But realising this is half the battle. Perhaps I will be able to wait in ambush for myself.