Operating Under Pressure

I usually operate well under pressure.

When a situation calls for very high intensity functioning, I am all game. Sign me up for the “whatever it takes” work ethic and can’t-be-stopped determination — but it’s usually for a limited duration. No one can do that forever, right?

But isn’t that what living with diabetes is? Operating under pressure?

There are times when living life with diabetes can be very high pressure (during a low, for example), but it’s usually not quite the same.

Football playersInstead, it usually feels like a constant unwelcome companion. Like a big old retired (read big & fat) football player (uh, no offense to any retired football players out there…) who you are giving a piggyback ride to. That big lug also has a hold of the strings, like you are some marionette puppet who is powerless to his yanks and twists whenever he feels like pulling the strings.

Let’s imagine for a few minutes just how it would feel to literally live carrying around a big ole football player on your back.

If you’re feeling wimpy, picture a small child. Still – same concept, though. Picture this person on your back, piggyback style, for every minute of the day & night.

That’s the kind of pressure I’m talking about. Not the high-intensity, short-duration kind, but rather the heavy, unrelenting, “forever” kind.

I think that I can push through the high-intensity, short-duration kind simply because I know there is an end to it. I might get a big charge of adrenaline – some kind of rush, and it, along with my determination not to crumble, carries me through.

How do we find what it takes to push on through the “forever” kind? To take the next step, and the one after that, with our “friend” constantly grinding us into the ground?

I think we all go through our regular ups and downs, which is normal. Sometimes I find that my downs are overpowering the ups – using up more than their fair share of my time & energy.

What I find helpful in those times is to take a step back, look at the big picture, and give myself some credit for doing as well as I do.

Yes, there is always room for improvement, but overall we do a very good job. I am reminded of ada’s post to “Be Gentle“. I like that post very much. Short & sweet, powerful message. “Be Gentle”.

I do what I can to set up a positive environment – which is sometimes next to impossible when you’re in a down spot. But even the smallest of things can help.

I find that it’s not necessarily doing something I often enjoy, such as relaxing with my PlayStation (which always feels like a complete waste of time when I’m done). But rather, something I know is bettering myself in some way. Maybe that’s reading a constructive book or doing a bit of exercise (even if it’s just 10 push-ups!).

Little baby steps can do wonders to help swing the momentum. Once that momentum is moving, it’s easier to bend it to your will with even more little baby steps.

And I have noticed that my legs are strong. I carry my burden with resilience to not crumble under its pressure. I keep taking the next step, and the one after that, and the one after that. I don’t like it – not one bit, but it will. not. beat. me.

That big football player is going to learn to like the ride I am giving it, one way or another – and I am growing that much stronger because of it.

Game on, sucka.

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Scott K. Johnson

Patient voice, speaker, writer, advocate, and Senior Community Manager at Blue Circle Health. Living life with diabetes and telling my story. All opinions expressed are my own and do not necessarily represent my employer’s position. Read more…

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