Facing Monsters

I walk in the darkness and shy from the light
So that the monsters I fear are shielded from sight
The darkness is safe because it hides what I fear
It’s the light that’s scary for it makes them appear

These monsters don’t simply lurk beneath the bed
They are far worse because they mess with my head
They tell me that I’ll never be good enough
And that I should quit because life is too tough

I’m alone with them and they like it that way
I reach out to others but they’re pushed away
I don’t want to stay, I must find my way out
But the things that they said, have filled me with doubt

On shaky legs, I’m walking towards the light
Afraid of what I’ll face when everything’s bright
The light’s no longer scary, everything’s clear
I can face the monsters without any fear

I wrote this poem for my English class on the theme “Courage”. What does it mean to be courageous? I think as a diabetic, many of us are very courageous everyday.

When I was first diagnosed with diabetes I was afraid of sticking myself with needles. I spent two weeks in the hospital. I’m pretty sure that at least half of that time was spent on trying to convince my 12 year old self that she had to stick herself with said needles.

I vividly remember the orange that I practiced on and the teddy bear that had patches that indicated where you were supposed to inject.  As we all know, this wasn’t the same as injecting into your own skin. I was afraid that it would hurt, of the unknown and of trying something new. In those two weeks my life was changing rapidly. I went from being a regular, 12 year old who wasn’t feeling well to having the responsibility of  managing a chronic disease to which there is no a cure.

I wish I could say that i was the “perfect” diabetic and followed the rules to a tee. This was not the case. There’s a difference between knowing what to do and actually doing it. I knew how to manage my diabetes. I knew that I should frequently test my blood sugar, cover my meals and limit the amount of sweets that I had. I didn’t know how to keep my life “normal” and still manage my diabetes.

I didn’t want to test my blood sugar at the lunch table because I didn’t want the attention. Image was everything when you’re a teenager. I also didn’t want to inject myself in public and bathrooms were gross. I also wanted to eat what my friends were eating and laugh at their jokes. I pushed my diabetes management aside in order to fit in. This was causing me more harm than good as I was slowing hurting my health.

Eventually, I had to come to the realization that in order to be happy and healthy, I had to find a balance. The fear of rejection kept me in doubt. I wanted my diabetes to remain a secret because I was afraid of what others would think. It’s okay to be different, my real friends understood that I needed to test my sugar or take a shot. They preferred for me to be healthy and eventually my diabetes management became part of the new “normal”. Instead of asking, “How are you?” My friends started asking, “How is your sugar?” Many of them also became more aware of their own health and together we became healthier as a group.

Don’t be afraid to embrace the changes occurring in your life. Those “monsters” that you’re afraid of and want to keep hidden, may actually be gems in disguise.

 

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