By Laurie Marshall
Being adept at looking on the bright side is one of the most endearing, and simultaneously most annoying coping skills I can claim to have. It has gotten me through some times in my life when I was staring at some pretty seriously closed doors, extremely steep hills, and ominously gray clouds.
This trait has been extremely valuable of late, as I’ve been learning what I can about diabetes and figuring out how to plan meals to help my son with a wheat sensitivity stay healthy and well-behaved and my husband with “temporary high blood sugar” lose weight and not die. (FYI – Humor in the face of really, really bad stuff is a big part of my Looking on the Bright Side Coping Skill.)
But sometimes, looking on the bright side – or staying positive in the face of life’s tough days and weeks and months – can be exhausting. And sometimes, when I’m exhausted, those people I love and am trying to keep alive make me want to get in a car and drive really far away. Or at least, sit in a room where there is no t.v. or video game on. The first option just isn’t a serious long-term solution, the second just seems to be impossible at my house.
On the bright side – the meal changes I’ve made at home have been working. The Hubster has lost 30 pounds! While I have been doing things like adding more veggies to the evening meals, and using lean ground turkey instead of ground beef, I think Hubster’s weight loss is more a result of his own portion-size reduction efforts and exercising than to my menu planning. I will, however, take credit for his knowing how to reduce portion sizes and keeping up with his walking regimen. He has yet to even open up the American Diabetes Association website online. We really are the opposite of each other in a lot of ways.
On the not-so-bright side – we had to have a Little Talk the other day. Hubster has been extremely stressed at work, and of course his health issues haven’t helped. He does not have the Looking on the Bright Side Coping Skill. He is also – he finally admitted it – scared of the alternative to following a very regimented diet and exercise program for the rest of his life. He is frustrated about having to change the way he was living, and it’s become very apparent that he is going to have to if he wants to remain healthy and be around as long as he promised me he would be when we got married.
I can’t blame him. His side of the bathroom counter looks like a pharmacy counter now.
But all that stress and fear and frustration has been showing up in ways that have been doing serious damage to my ability to remain optimistic and positive. I desperately need some recharge time, and it’s not anywhere on the horizon at the moment.
Talking helped. Hubster admitted his fear, which was a great first step. And I listed the things that I am dealing with that he seemed to be unaware of.
For example: If he’s worried about our son’s behavior and food issues, I am the one making his lunches every day, monitoring his snacks, planning menus, reminding his teachers and coaches, etc… If he is taking several medications every day, I’m the one reading about each one to make sure that he’s not being overprescribed or eating/drinking anything that would interfere with the benefits of each one, and refilling his prescriptions… If he’s eating better at lunch and at home, I’m still reminding him which foods are starches and what calorie and carb load they contain, and sitting on the floor in Barnes & Noble reading dozens of diabetic cookbooks (I’m not kidding… DOZENS) to decide which ones I should buy.
These two, in case you’re interested:
So I guess the bright side is still visible, but I feel like I’m experiencing a loooooong twilight like they see in northern parts of Alaska. I’m ready to get back to some sense of balance so that I don’t lose track of my own health in all this.
How do you stay optimistic?
Look for Laurie’s fitness tips and updates on her personal health-focused journey every other Friday on nwaMotherlode in Mom Blogs. Send questions or input to her at mamas@nwaMotherlode.com. Or click on the comment button below and share your thoughts right now! To see previous installments of Getting Healthy for Good, click HERE.