My thoughts on a diabetes journal

I think most of us recognize the value of keeping records. Some can argue that the simple act of logging improves diabetes management. Most may argue that logging is a pain and difficult to do long-term. In my personal experience, there is nothing more exhausting than recording all of the variables that go into my diabetes management.

When I hear the words "diabetes journal" I have two trains of thought.

  1. Logging and keeping records (blood sugars, insulin doses, food and activity)
  2. Feelings, emotions, challenges, successes, and everything non-logging related

Is it even possible to keep a diabetes journal?

I struggle to find a happy medium between recording enough information to help and recording everything in the world. I swing from extreme (not logging at all) to extreme (logging too much and burning out). My doctor appointments are too short to make any difference unless I have my information in a form that the doctor can make sense of quickly. Each device I use has its own report and speaks its own language, leaving me with all sorts of separate information that doesn't do anyone any good.

We don't have the time to sift through three or four different sets of records trying to piece together a complete picture of my diabetes.

I have yet to find a system that makes both my doctor and I happy. Everything I've tried yet either takes too much energy for me or doesn't give my doctor the information he needs to make therapy adjustments.

Journaling can be therapeutic

I am a big believer of using journals for the sake of sorting out my emotions and keeping track of things. Life with diabetes fills my head with so much noise that I need a way to work through it. That's why I started my blog in the first place.

The exercise of assigning words and phrases to the thoughts and feelings I'm having is incredibly therapeutic for me.

I was diagnosed at a very young age (5 years old). Using writing to deal with all of the mental and emotional stuff that has bubbled to the surface as I've grown has been extremely helpful. The fun thing about writing is that it can become whatever you want it to be. It can be a record of medical events, milestones in your life, challenges you're working on, all of the above, or none of the above.

For the sake of your emotional health, give some thought to using writing as a tool to help you, and make it what you need it to be (and don't be afraid to let it change as you change).

About Scott K Johnson

Scott K. Johnson was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in April of 1980. He has been writing about his struggles and successes with diabetes since late 2004.

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