I was diagnosed with T1D at the age of 3. My parents sprang into action, immediately getting involved with JDRF (an organization that funds T1D research). My whole family got involved: my mom, dad, and older brother Jay. We would attend events and fundraisers on the weekends and my mom became president of the Board of Directors. At one point, our living room was the local JDRF headquarters!
I remember being annoyed.
Weren’t 2 shots a day, 5 finger pricks, and the most restrictive diet in the world ENOUGH? I didn’t want to ALSO be reminded of my disease with all these events! Then, I’d beat myself up for those thoughts, thinking I was the most unappreciative, horrible child. I have the most AMAZING parents in the world, I felt so much shame for being so ungrateful.
I assumed this suffering was just part of having T1D.
It wasn’t until after years of being “dragged” to events that, in 2011, my dad asked if I wanted to do an event called the JDRF Ride to Cure Diabetes. It was a 100-mile biking event over a 3-day weekend. It seemed like a cool challenge, and a great opportunity to spend more time with my dad.
The Ride was amazing.
It was 3 days of bonding with other families affected by the disease who also trained their hearts out. There was something about accomplishing a feat I NEVER thought possible (biking 100 miles!), raising so much money (together my dad and I raised ~$30K!), and doing it with my dad, that was one of the most magical weekends of my life.
As I rode with my dad, I could feel a cosmic shift, and it hit me – it was MY time to step up and help drive this organization towards finding a cure. I joined the Board of Directors six months after returning home from the Ride, and I’ve been taking on leadership roles ever since. (I’ve also completed 8 Rides in total).
What a gift of time I had with my dad, because two years later, he passed away from AML Leukemia.
By the time I sought out life coaching, I felt unfulfilled in my career, I was mourning the loss of my dad, and STILL so frustrated over T1D. I was way over drinking, over thinking, feeling guilty all the time, and still in a self-shaming spiral. I tried changing my external circumstances to make myself happy.
I moved from one neighborhood in DC to another
I got engaged (I thankfully did not go through with the wedding!)
I changed jobs
Planned ANOTHER move from DC to the beach
Quit the corporate world to become a life coach — while this was a GREAT decision — this alone could not make me happy
Through the help of life coaching, I realized I could NOT solve my problems by changing external circumstances.
The problem was with my thinking AND my drinking.
I learned how to:
STOP drinking and be present in a way I never thought was possible
NOT beat myself up for my feelings
ALLOW and FEEL my feelings
Change my mindset around T1D so it doesn’t FEEL so hard
DECIDE to be happy
So, now when I change my external circumstances, like move apartments, it’s because I WANT to. Not because I’m relying on it to make me happy.