Two diagnoses + Two Careers = One Good Life

Ok, this may sound nuts, but today I’m actually glad I’ve been diagnosed with diabetes. It’s actually made me think about my diet and exercise. And, it’s resulting in my being healthier.

It also gives me a ‘trump card’ to play when random people try to play with my schedule.That Schedule thing is actually kind of important for me. First off I’m a child of German ancestry and a military family (you figure it out). Second… I deal with attention deficits (which is sometimes different from what people think it is).

The second diagnosis

Last I checked the formal diagnosis is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) but the American Psychological Association is driven by economic, political and ego factors (in addition to science) so they may have changed it (while I wasn’t paying attention…). ADHD is a fairly common diagnosis and one that can be difficult to pin down a cause for. I’ve heard metabolic explanations (which make sense); neurological explanations (which make sense); behavioral explanations (which make sense); and “I don’t want to parent my child” explanations (which make me mad, but… make sense!).

In my case the best explanation is one that I ran into in grad school. My ADD (ADHD but people hesitate to call a fat guy hyper active…) is kind of like being at the opposite end of the bell curve from the autistic folks. They are over stimulated and I crave stimulation… this has potential for good and the potential to get me in trouble (note for others diagnosed with ADHD and those who love them: it’s a personal experience thing. Your experience (and mileage) may vary).

Over the years I have developed skills to modulate my environment and situation to help control for my stimulation needs. Believe it or not diabetes has helped with this. Not only does it give me a reason to stick to my schedule, but treating diabetes gives me tools to control my ADD behavior internally. Now that I’ve gotten my blood sugar under control I can really tell how fluctuations in my blood sugar affect my ability to focus, attend, and get stuff done. I like to go  get stuff done.

Career the first.

It’s no secret that I’m a writer. I write fiction, non fiction, blog posts, and poetry (as much as I hate to admit that!). Writing is how I express myself best (unlike many prophets of scripture I am more mighty in writing that speaking). Writing is a way to support myself (financially and as therapy). Writing is just what I do. I tell stories. I figure things out and tell people about them.

Writing is therapeutic for me. I’ve been monitoring my blood sugar levels when I’m stressed and unstressed; writing and not writing (for you research people that makes four categories in the complete model). The reality is that when I am under stress writing helps me keep my blood sugar low. And, keeping my blood sugar under control helps me write.

Some days cyclical is good, but one can not live by text (or bread) alone.

Career the second.

I also make shiny things with metal, stone, glass and other materials. I am a sculpturist/smith/jewelry artist. It’s a different kind of thinking, very concrete and 3D (as well as symbolic). It is also a lot of fun (and a pain in the $#@#$@%#!@$@!!! some days). There is a lot of tactile sensation involved (which can be good for the whole ADD thing). There is also some good cardio (which can be good for the diabetes thing).

Like the writing, bending metal and grinding stone can be very therapeutic, and it’s another way to express myself.

Putting it all together.

So I have two diagnoses which force me to monitor myself, take care of myself and stick to my schedule (which I wanted to be on in the first place). They also encourage me to dig for answers (research) and try new and different things (experience).

These two diagnoses actually support my twin careers making things in word and deed. All though I am very aware of the stance and rulings put in place by the Americans With Disabilities Act, I don’t really consider myself disabled… on a good day my ‘disabilities’ help me do what I do better. On not so good days my experience with these ‘disabilities’ gives me a range of options and controls that I know work and I know will help me to move toward a better day and a happier life. I can always turn on the radio; turn off the radio; use a snack or other shift in my diet to change my blood sugar level; get some exercise to get my blood (and glucose) flowing, and a range of things that make me a better and happier me.

It feels like not having (or knowing…) my ‘disabilities’ would make me less able.

That’s it for this post dear reader.

Till next time: what ever happens in your life, turn it to good.

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