Staring me in the face

I expect this is a known psychological effect, or maybe it’s just me. But I think it’s a psychological effect.

When you have two options to solving a problem, and one of them feels out of the question, you can sometimes forget it’s still an option, no matter how bad the problem gets.

Take Type 2 diabetes for example. Most people are terrified of insulin injections, so they will choose diet/exercise/tablets and forget that insulin is an option... no, wait, they won’t. Bad example.

It’s more in situations without an inevitable ‘last resort’. For example, if a person hates the idea of a teacher’s wage, and becomes a lawyer or software developer but ends up unhappy with their job, there’s a good chance that it won’t even occur to them that they can change careers.

So here’s what happened to me.

Thanks to Lamictal, I shot up from being so crippled I could barely work, into an intense, high-stress job in the space of a month. An absolute miracle.

Due to the stress, I didn’t feel I could handle giving up the comfort of my favourite foods. Due to the fast-paced job, I couldn’t afford risking a loss in energy, cognitive function, mood, triggering epilepsy, or changes to my medication needs.

So low-carb was considered, and deemed absolutely out of the question.

Makes more sense than diabetes

Diabetes was pretty terrible. Teaching has the same effect on blood sugar as sporadic bursts of exercise—which for me are disastrous. Stress levels were up and down, and we all know that stress hormones are not easy to measure. My general routine was unpredictable. And I comfort-eated. Ate. Whatever.

Low carb had already been discounted. Didn’t even occur to me. I just got on with a roller coaster of bolusing and correcting and CGM alarms and crappy sugars.

This got worse and worse. Stress built up. Diabetes got harder which created more stress. I had a day here and there of extended exercise, each time making diabetes wash out for a week. Possibly worst of all, my intramuscular injections gradually became ineffective.

Low carb was still off my radar. I was trying to problem-solve some diabetes related thing with Bianca’s help (as frequently happens) and suddenly it hit me. Low carb was an option.

It became apparent that the status quo had become more out of the question than low carb. Impossible, right?

So, grudgingly, I switched. Having done it years before, I knew what to expect food-wise. And how limiting the options were for eating out.

Nothing bad happened. My cognitive function and energy levels did not decline. My epilepsy seemed to be fine. It’s a pain to cook and clean up, and food is much less fun. But in the last few weeks my sugar has stopped being so out of control.

I do feel that, had a new option become available, I would have jumped at it. But since low-carb was old and dismissed, it didn’t even register. Well, for quite a while, anyway.

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