Guest Post: Blood & Honey by Jaimie

On December 1, 2010 by Cherise Shockley

Last week I was able to attend an event for the film “Blood & Honey”. I hitched a ride with George (@Ninjabetic) and his friend Clay. Clay was a trooper as a ‘type 3’ listening to the D-talk all night. We only caught him *drooling* in the corner once!

Blood and Honey is a documentary film in pre-production and explores the psychological side of living with diabetes and touches on other chronic illness as well. Jessica Bernstein is the Executive Director and a Doctor of Psychology focusing primarily with the diabetic community. She is also a type 1 and knows firsthand the roller coaster we all experience living with diabetes. We were able to watch a couple of sample reels which are available on the website and then discuss openly our opinions or thoughts about the film.

I have always thought that having diabetes has given me many strengths and made me much more empathetic to not only people with diabetes but other chronic illness as well. “Normal” people do not understand the 24/7 cycle of endless thoughts, what if’s, preparedness and so on. The point that was brought up in discussion is that sometimes we get so wrapped up in our care that we don’t realize the invaluable coping skills and strengths we have learned along the way. That ‘wisdom’ we acquire not everyone will ever be able to understand unless they walk in our shoes. We went on to discuss that we need more modern day ‘elders’ in the community to pass down this ‘wisdom’. In many cultures having an illness is seen as an initiation of sorts and the ‘elders’ are valued teachers to be looked up to. What happened to teaching our children and our community about the “battle of life”, “it’s not always going to easy”, “life won’t always be in control”, “talking about fear”…

On the sample reel Susan Wendell author of ‘The Rejected Body’ talks about an Oprah episode where Oprah stood up and stated boldly to the audience “When you don’t have your health, you have nothing!” The audience went wild clapping. She goes on to say that she is SURE there had to be someone in the audience at that moment living with a chronic illness…Diabetes, Cancer, Lupus…of course there had to be! Does that mean that I have NOTHING because I am living with the big D? NO! …it may not be ‘perfect health’ but… I have A LOT! … a whole lot… my kiddos, my family, the DOC… I can ‘manage’ my care and do everything a “normal” person can except I have to manage my diabetes first.

We also discussed the issue of ‘Control’…Can we ‘control’ our Diabetes?…This word comes up all the time from doctors, community, advertising…

…hormones…stress…carb counts…exercise…

We can do our best to manage our care but some things are just out of our control PERIOD. Should we start to change the dialogue with our doctors and others? Ask them to use the word manage or care? How are you managing your diabetes? How are you taking care? Words are powerful and when using the word ‘control’ especially with children we are teaching them good vs. bad numbers which then through association translates into the emotional side to a good vs bad person. We all have been there feeling the guilt over the numbers on our machines. Maybe we should be teaching newly diagnosed it is best to try to ‘manage’ numbers into a certain grey area but we should also teach that it will be ‘normal’ to have a certain percentage of numbers that will be out of range and that is OK too. Doctors don’t ask someone with cancer, tourettes, depression etc…Why are you not in ‘control’ of your disease?…

There is a lot we can learn from the film Blood and Honey. I really hope that someday the funding will be able to make it to production. It would make an excellent learning tool for others to understand the emotional side when dealing with Diabetes which unfortunately is not touched upon enough.

For more information you can visit www.bloodandhoney.org. Jessica is looking for volunteers to help get the word out and also fundraise. There is a newsletter sign up on the site as well.

Follow Jaimie on twitter @jaimieH

2 Responses to “Guest Post: Blood & Honey by Jaimie”

  • This sounds amazing Jaimie. Thanks for bringing awareness to it. I wish meters and databases could convert the data we use into a format that doesn’t make us feel like we’ve failed when we step across the lines of our target range. If you’re using tools like these it’s hard to get past the good and bad categorizations even when you’re referring to them as just high or low. But it’s true we need to start somewhere and saying “high, low, in range” is somrthing.

    Lovely to see you blogging, btw!

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