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Life Coaching on Diabetes
When I, Jeanine Austin, was asked to write a four part series on diabetes, I knew I would contact Don Mario Ramos, the well respected and talented hypnotherapist and life coach for men and who happens also to have Diabetes 1.
Support for the Diabetic
It may be important to remember when supporting someone with diabetes, possibly yourself, that diabetes affects the whole person and all of her aspects of daily living and layers of self. Consequently, a person needs to be supported in a holistic manner.
A popular way and overly simplistic way of perceiving diabetes is that it is a disease that precludes someone from eating sugar. While this is true, the care of a person with diabetes includes many aspects of a person’s well being. Mind, body and spirit will be impacted by diabetes and the awareness of this fact will help to navigate the complexities of diabetes. Simply being in tuned to or aware of these issues can make anticipation of their resolution more readily successful.
For example, it may be important to be mindful of the fact that the added stress of having a potentially life threatening disease such as diabetes can be very stressful to the person with diabetes and can be taxing to their relationships.
Perhaps many women can identify with feeling that food is their enemy. Those who struggle with eating issues, eating disorders and weight issues are often very conflicted about their relationship to food. Perhaps very much in keeping with these feelings but possibly in a much more exaggerated way, diabetics know that food can be a venom that can actually kill them.
A positive way to support a diabetic, or to support yourself as you deal with your own diabetes, it to develop a passion and enthusiasm for learning about diabetes and connecting and communing with others who have the disorder. Educating the community about diabetes can be especially empowering.
Don Mario Ramos says that people often compliment him for his calm and even temperament. What he feels that people might not see is the hidden challenge of the stresses of diabetes. He gives a wonderful example of someone who goes to the park and is liberated completely from their responsibilities for a few hours. A diabetic is never completely unencumbered even in a situation like the aforementioned because she still needs to be aware of blood sugar levels and always must have insulin at the ready. Ostensibly, the often “hidden challenges” of a chronic condition may cause significant unseen stress.
One of the best ways to support someone with diabetes is to ask what they need and to listen to the answer. If you are someone with diabetes, or you care for someone with diabetes, it is important to note that every person’s support in a diabetic’s family and community constellation is valuable and can impact the life of a diabetic in a profound way.
The Gifts of Diabetes
It may be interesting to note the diabetes is the master hormone; the first hormone created that actually joins cells. When this hormone goes missing, a primary and fundamental function of the body cannot take place. Like any profound loss, there are always gifts, although they may not be easily seen.
People may ask “Why is this happening to me?” when they are diagnosed or dealing with the challenges of diabetes. When we ask why we often never get an answer. As Don Mario says “There is not a good reason.”
Good life coaching is often predicated on great questions. When dealing with diabetes, we may want to ask empowering “how” questions such as “How can I navigate diabetes in such a way that I feel even more empowered than before the diagnosis?” or “How can I live most optimally and help others to do the same?”
Some good news about being a diabetic is that it may offer an opportunity to connect with others who have also been impacted by diabetes. Don Mario Ramos offers that “While it might not be more profound to connect with other people through suffering than over joyful experiences, there can be real communion in joining to overcome grief and loss.”
Further, when I asked Don Mario Ramos about whether diabetes was the pivotal experience which helped form his value of compassion for others he shared that his passion for Native peoples has also helped to shape his character, but having diabetes has definitely influenced his passion for helping others.
“When you have a disease such as diabetes, you come to realize that you are part of the web of humanity, part of the tapestry of life, affected by the ecosystem. You are at seat of the soul” he says.
A particularly profound experience Don Mario Ramos had as a young child (he was diagnosed at age 9 with type one diabetes) was when he realized that many of his peers were afraid of needles and the pain they caused. He felt a certain affirmation in knowing that he had to use needles to manage his disease. He was able to relinquish some of the burden he had of having a “dis-ease” and began to embrace feeling good about the “ease“ of his mature management of his condition.
Thoughts for the Diabetic
There are many nuances of the diabetic condition that may go unnoticed or unrecognized.
“Because diabetics need to be very aware of their bodies and any changes that are taking place, they may be more emotionally or physically sensitive” says Don Mario Ramos. Indeed the genesis of this sensitivity may come from the acute self awareness diabetics need to employ daily for optimal wellness and even survival.
Furthermore, a popular conversation that often takes place these days among those who are committed to healthy eating is the acid vs. alkaline intake of food to create strength in the body. Don Mario Ramos suggests eating a fresh and natural to create harmonious alkaline conditions in the body.
Moreover, it has been well documented that protein stabilizes blood sugar levels. A move towards protein and away from sugars also helps with sugar cravings and stability of blood sugar and mood.
What Does it Mean to Be Diabetic?
When someone is diagnosed with diabetes it certainly means that there will be a change in the diabetic’s life and this change will also impact those around them.
Diabetes certainly is a way of life. A diabetic will need to become vigilant about their health and any vicissitudes that occur in their health.
“Diabetics can strongly benefit from being very organized” says Don Mario Ramos. “Their life is dependent on it. They need to be very structured in terms of the food they eat, when they eat and the provision and management of insulin.”
Because diabetes is a chronic condition, it will be important for the diabetic to be surrounded by people who understand the demands of diabetes.
“Rather than focusing on disease and limitation, it has been most helpful for me to be surrounded by those who share my enthusiasm for healthy eating and healthy living” says Don Mario Ramos. “As a child, it was pivotal for me to attend a diabetic camp where others had an emphasis on optimal living for those with diabetes.”
Initially when first diagnosed, a diabetic may feel depressed and hopeless. It is important to know that there are many people who have diabetes who live optimally such as the television and film actress Mary Tyler Moore and wise Latina U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.
Don Mario Ramos observes “It is fundamentally important to offer hope to the diabetic and their family.
Don Mario Ramos, C.h.t.
Jeanine Austin, Ph.d., C.Ht.