Judging Insulin Therapy --By Rolf Kotar
After feeling out of sorts when told my diabetes has progressed to the point I must inject insulin daily, the following night I experienced a whopping nightmare. After acquiring a major mental illness and a serious anxiety disorder, a neurological disability (Parkinson’s), a serious bilateral eye disorder, and my diabetes, I thought I was at life's end. My dreams are frequently prominent, positive or negative, as I'm prescribed a tranquilizer called Serequel. The characters in my wild dream all represented parts of myself. After the actual few seconds of one particularly bad nightmare, I awoke shaking. In previous days, I'd been negotiating with my higher power for time taking the less damaging oral medicines. My thoughts mirrored Dr. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross' stages of accepting death as a final stage of growth. I now know recognizing the psychiatrist's description of these successive steps was an insight. However, at that time my mind was spinning in a frictionless circle, looking for causes of disabilities and people to blame. I was feeling low enough that punishment, even subconsciously to liken my doctor's actions to ordering electroconvulsive shock treatment (a treatment I'd helped psychiatrists administer in a local psychiatric facility as a teen). I couldn't have been more mistaken.
The reality is I have a wonderful internal medicine doctor. He's caring and quite affable with his patient manner. He's always respectful. Most of all, he's a devoted scientist. I'm different, less objective. Of course, I'm evaluating myself with bias. My thoughts can be critical of others and of myself.
For 22 years, I have had exceptional friends and co-workers. They aren't critical of me. I met nearly all of these people at the Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition. The most important aspect to me is who I am inside - my inner makeup and how people react to me. These friends and acquaintances generally accept others "at face value.” While most of these friends don't subscribe to a religious philosophy of total love, each person demonstrates a "live and let live" attitude. Perhaps because we with multiple disabilities have tempered our outward perceptions, we don't challenge others' behavior or feelings. Then, we're granted group membership with friends and coworkers, and we all feel other's warmth.
While I'm critical of others in my thoughts, I'm the toughest on myself. This is probably true of many. My "critical reinterpretation," that is, my superego gives my ego or "real self" nearly overwhelming flack. We must listen to counselors and friends. In addition to our close friends, professionals give patients "permission" to act in ways that feel good for the other person. A professional may say, "Why don't you be your own best friend, being kind to yourself, and figure a way out of problems?" "Stop beating yourself up!" is a frequent comment in my family. Creative expressions (writing and music performance) are my personal outlets. In obsessing as we all do, and critical reinterpretation, a totally human condition, seem fundamental. Perhaps showing ourselves the kindness we offer others will ameliorate some of our internal conflict, improving our outlook on life. Each of our health care teams aren't charged with punishing us for our transgressions, real or imagined. They simply want to help. Does this ring true for you?