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As I get ready to represent the You Can Do This Project at Friends For Life next month, I'm reading back through the posts, emails and comments that shaped what the project is all about. I'm reliving the emotion, candor and relief that was felt when people let their guard down a bit more and shared, "I'm really struggling. This is so hard. I want to give up some days. I hate this."
But when we're not? When we're really far down that rabbit hole? Those particular videos might not help. They actually might cause more harm - because they feed the illusion of "fine".
It seems to be a common human reaction - to say we're fine, when we're not. We say it because it's easier; because we don't want to "get into it" with that person; because it's the expected answer. We say we're fine because if we told people the truth - the ugly, unvarnished, raw truth - they wouldn't know what to say in return. We can't be honest because that particular sort of honesty makes other people uncomfortable, and that discomfort creates more challenges for us. When we're not fine, the last thing we need is more problems.
Admitting that "fine" is a facade takes a huge amount of bravery, but that one act can permeate the lives of so many others who feel that way, too. Living under that facade of fine can feel crushing. Making a You Can Do This video is a chance to step away from that put-together version of ourselves that we tend to show others. It's an opportunity to say "You know, I actually don't have this all figured out. I'm struggling, too", and show someone else that they aren't the only one. That it's okay to be "not fine". That, sometimes, you fail spectacularly as well - but you keep on trying.
You can help lift that weight for someone else.
My original intent with YCDT was to create a safe place for people to talk about the really tough stuff, and I think we're doing just that. You'll find videos covering depression, high A1Cs, guilt, shame... a lot of people have really put themselves and their experiences out there. I love that.
What I'm hoping is that people with diabetes will continue to share the tough stuff. I know there are struggles out there that haven't been thoroughly covered yet, and I recognize that people wish there was a video for this or that particular topic.
I wish that too. It's up to you to be that resource.
It's up to you to share your story.
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I'll have a wrap-up of "how the booth went" tomorrow. Promise. :)