Hurting for My Own Clients

This has been a tough past week or so. I am grateful that people have turned to me for help, comfort, support, or simply a neutral listening platform. I am lucky to have the opportunity to be a part of so many lives. I hope that I can be attentive, helpful, supportive, and I pray, of some benefit to each of these individuals.
I have walked in each and everyone of my clients’ shoes so far this past week. I have been scared, felt defeated, wished for understanding, angry at the entire existence of my life at certain points in time, and simply felt like a failure. This is exactly why I started The Diabetes Coach. I have been there. I am hurting for each of my clients this week. I know that I could have benefitted from someone like me during the years that I struggled so! I am not sure if I would have listened to a coach. I am not sure I would have immediately transformed after a meeting. I know however, that over time I would have liked to have it sink in that I wasn’t alone. Living with Type 1 diabetes as a kid or teen is tough! No doubt about it!
This week I have had to explain some basics. I saw the tears creeping into a grandparent’s eyes as I spoke. I saw the uncertainty of a teenager (completely bored and repulsed at the idea of having to meet with me in the first place)! I saw the guilt that fills a parent’s heart and soul of having a child with a chronic illness. No guilt should be felt, but it usually accompanies all parents at some point and time. I saw a teen literally needing to cling to the hope that they could feel better! I am sure that at first they thought only about emotionally, but I know that the physical creeps into those thoughts as well.
I had to talk tough to one of my clients. It was not the way that I usually work a session. It was a chance I needed to take at this point in our relationship. Scare tactics rarely worked with me as I grew up with diabetes. I was already scared. Would I admit such a thing? No. Did I truly understand the importance of maintaining my health over the long term? No. I knew that all the complications can be real, but I honestly didn’t focus on that part of my life with diabetes. I guess I was more focused on my day in and out life: school, family, friends, boyfriends, academics, sports, and anything I was involved in at the moment. I knew that the bad things could happen, but I had plenty of time and I wasn’t always living with the “bad” numbers! I was safe for a while, right?
I am sure that my family worried about all of the long term complications. They saw the daily struggles, but always the “horror stories” were in their mind. I see these fears in my clients and their families. I know that I have to tell them that it is just part of life with diabetes. Then someone asks, “If we just have to deal with it, why do we need you?” It is a legitimate question. If I can’t cure it, with what am I helping them?
I am not curing life with diabetes. I am helping each person frame or reframe their current position with their life with diabetes. The teen that is already feeling ashamed of lying about blood glucose (BG) levels or testing times, but can’t seem to make themselves stop the behavior is a common theme in my diabetes coaching. I am helping them identify with someone that has gone through and survived the same things. I am seeing parents scared and afraid of what the future holds for their child. I am seeing parents that are grown and mature. They are begging their child with diabetes to simply follow the rules! I mean, wouldn’t life be easier, better, smoother, and more healthy if their diabetic child simply followed the rules?
Sure it would. That would make for an easy and uncomplicated life. That lifestyle is fine for many. I am not saying I would rather have this disease than not. I am saying that it has made me stronger, feel more independent, made for harder and then better relationships with those that love me, and some inner security and confidence that few others I know, even begin to express.
I am hurting for many of my clients this week. It is hard, undeniably. I want to help! I want to “fix it” although I know that is impossible. I pray that they stay with me. We make progress slowly sometimes. Taking in each emotion, each success, each failure, each moment together. Nobody else “gets it” unless they have been there. I have been there. My life was tough, blessed, scary, funny, and unlike most people I knew. I grew up fast due to life with diabetes. There is no denying it. I needed as much support as I could get. I found it occasionally among friends, but I wish I had had a coach!
I am celebrating in the picture above. I am grateful for my life, the supporters that surround me, and the all the chances that have slipped by, been run over by, angered me, or made me stronger! I think about my clients throughout the day. It is hard to separate from my real life. My real life is life with diabetes. I struggled then. I sometimes struggle today. I think I get as much from my clients as I hope to give to them. I pray for patience, strength, and the wisdom to help as each individual needs.

The Diabetes Coach

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