2.23.16

Finding My Way Off Low Island (It’s Not Fun, You’d Want To Leave Too)

Low Island - Type 1 Diabetes Management

At any moment, we have the chance to join the current – that magnetic force of connectedness to something. Trying to describe the exact feeling it tough. I’m coming up short, but perhaps the force stems, simply, from mindfulness. In the moments where we feel that easy flow—whether it is on a hike by ourselves, during a night out with friends, or in conversation with the pharmacist—things just flow naturally out of awareness.

When in the current, I feel most like myself. This is not a continual existence, even with perfect blood sugar. More rare than constant, but something I look to join when the opportunity presents.

We’ve now reached the point in the post where the creeping thought of, “Isn’t this a diabetes blog?” is sounding alarms for you. Stay calm, here’s the point (and thanks for reading this far): when we’re low, we can’t join the current anymore. We get stuck on low island.

While hypo, I go inside, get defensive, pretty self-centered and lose the ability to open up, trapped by some kind of island of disconnection. It’s a weird sensation, and when I’ve yet to sense any physical signs of a low, that island sense is the first clue. I just can’t be me. The island isn’t a good time.

The Trial Reach Banner

Take two weekends ago. I walk a few blocks over in the neighborhood to hang with some friends. We’re all pretty close from school. No one has much to prove anymore. Yet, upon arrival, I feel dissatisfied. I try to listen but I’m having to try too hard. Things I’m saying don’t sound like what I wanted to say, coming out as choppier versions. About 20 minutes in, I find myself staring around the room thinking, Ya know, this looks like a really good time but I just can’t enjoy it. Glance down at the CGM and I’m trending down at 68. I’m island bound.

In time (and a Clif Bar), I find a way off the island but sometimes this can take all night or until the next morning—the feeling persisting even after reestablishing in the normal range. I go from flow to funk in an instant and the swim from funk back to flow is rough. That particular night, I made it back to shore, found the groove an hour or so later, and ended up having a great time. But for those few minutes in between, the current was completely lost. If there’s a silver lining to all this, maybe it’s that we (PWD) actually know that we lost the current.

Former co-founder of DiabetesDailyGrind, Ryan's mission is to motivate others with diabetes to live their own authentic life. Most days, when not in the hospital during his medical residency, you can find him on the bike, surfboard, or yoga mat. He believes in the power of clean eating, and loves his Dexcom.

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