1. Get the Diabetes Forum App for your phone - available on iOS and Android.
    Dismiss Notice
  2. Guest, we'd love to know what you think about the forum! Take the Diabetes Forum Survey 2021 »
    Dismiss Notice
  3. Diabetes Forum should not be used in an emergency and does not replace your healthcare professional relationship. Posts can be seen by the public.
    Dismiss Notice
  4. Guest, stay home, stay safe, save the NHS. Stay up to date with information about keeping yourself and people around you safe here and GOV.UK: Coronavirus (COVID-19). Think you have symptoms? NHS 111 service is available here.
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Find support, ask questions and share your experiences. Join the community »

Does the proliferation of technology, information and forums encourage obsession?

Discussion in 'Ask A Question' started by tim2000s, Jan 23, 2015.

  1. tim2000s

    tim2000s Type 1 · Expert
    Retired Moderator

    Messages:
    8,914
    Likes Received:
    11,783
    Trophy Points:
    198
    Devices that allow you to keep a constant check on your glucose levels such as CGM and FGM, the massive availability of information on the Web, forums where you can discuss the minutiae of your diabetes and all your personal symptoms, and others who are sympathetic and understand your condition will listen and widespread dispersion of management techniques such as Bernstein's law of small numbers.

    All these encourage introspection and greater observation of one's condition.

    A comment @donnellysdogs made on a different thread I posted set me to thinking.

    Is this a good thing? Whilst it in theory encourages better control and a longer life with fewer complications, does this come at a cost of paying attention to the now?

    Due to spending time focusing so much on managing and talking about diabetes, do we start to miss out on life as it goes on about us, and the obsession starts to allow diabetes to manage us insidiously, rather than us manage it?

    You can see where I am going with this. What are your thoughts?
     
    • Like Like x 9
  2. Flowerpot

    Flowerpot Type 1 · Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    424
    Likes Received:
    1,362
    Trophy Points:
    158
    I have also been thinking about this recently @tim2000s

    I've used CGM for 4 years due to losing all hypo awareness and as a means to warn me of impending hypos and protect me it is a priceless technology. However, it has made me slightly obsessive with the impact every type of food, activity ,illness has on me. As I suffered from anorexia in my 20's I worry that I am veering towards this type of control again, trying too hard sometimes to micro manage what happens. I get cross when my lovely in target graph line deviates and feel as if I am failing for only getting 78% of my readings within target.

    However, better technology and management does allows us to pursue a healthier life and hopefully avoid too many pitfalls. I can only enjoy the now thanks to the amazing medical technology I have access to and by taking care by all possible means. For me thanks to sight loss and other complications the balance is tipped in favour of diabetes managing me, I can't ignore its impact for any waking moment but technology allows me to address some of that and feel more in control. I'd much rather have too much to help me rather than the lack of any instant information as when I was diagnosed in the 70's.

    Information on the web, forums etc has increased my knowledge of different types of diabetes, management techniques and complications I was previously unaware of and given me a bigger picture. It has also caused me to over think a few things but the outcome is that I am much better controlled and a lot more aware of my diabetes. I'll happily take that outcome at the expense of being slightly obsessive.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  3. novorapidboi26

    novorapidboi26 Type 1 · Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,831
    Likes Received:
    1,857
    Trophy Points:
    178
    I think that this does happen and to a lot of people on here.............

    I think I have a good understanding of what its needed for good control and do carry it out but I am aware that life needs to be lived and enjoyed also........otherwise what is the point...........

    ;)
     
    • Like Like x 2
  4. czj

    czj Type 1 · Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    139
    Likes Received:
    72
    Trophy Points:
    68
    I've been thinking about it a lot too. I read some of the posts re newly diagnosed youngsters and think to myself how hard diabetes has become. When I was first diagnosed there was no blood testing, and neither did I carry my insulin with me. Nothing to compare to others. Though I knew it was a life altering diagnosis, on a day to day basis I was carefree.

    Nowadays it seems to me there is great deal of pressure. Some if it is self imposed, but some of it has to be caused by people comparing their results and finding themselves wanting.

    Going back to obsession, I gave up testing my blood so often when I realised I was behaving like a friend who had an eating disorder, She weighed herself many times a day, and depending on the result would eat lots of chocolate or jump on the exercise bike / take laxatives. I saw myself doing much the same - eating a bit or taking a small drop of insulin. The constant tinkering was unhealthy for me, both physically and mentally.

    I do worry about those who are newly diagnosed and don't know it doesn't have to be like this.
     
  5. Charles Robin

    Charles Robin Type 1 · Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    570
    Likes Received:
    1,112
    Trophy Points:
    158
    The information around you can be as useful or inhibiting as you let it. I monitor as much as I possibly can in relation to my diabetes. It hasn't taken away from my job as a piano teacher and accompanist. I have only had what I consider 'good' diabetic control for the last year, since starting low carb and keeping a constant eye on things. It's also the year I achieved a lifelong ambition of writing a first draft of a novel.

    That said, it's a good idea to keep things in moderation. My wife and I have been making small changes, hopefully for the better. We don't use our phones at meals, or when out socialising. I still definitely check Facebook more than I should, but that's the next challenge :p. Technology is a fantastic tool, but so is the ability to switch it off sometimes.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  6. equipoise

    equipoise · Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    269
    Likes Received:
    529
    Trophy Points:
    113
    In the end, Information is Power. if it is used effectively. And in medical matters. Ignorance can mean Death. Anything can be addictive, and of course one should not obsess about diabetes. But the idea that regulating diabetes means one is obsessing, and missing out on enjoying life, is what I always hear from people whose diabetes is out of control. That is the far more widespread and far more dangerous problem, I feel.
     
    • Like Like x 4
  7. Brunneria

    Brunneria Other · Moderator
    Staff Member

    Messages:
    21,600
    Likes Received:
    34,957
    Trophy Points:
    298
    If someone has a tendency towards obsessive behaviour, then they will find an outlet.
    It may be diabetes, or controlling behaviour, or birdwatching.

    Does the technology encourage this? I don't see how it can.
    The obsessive urge comes from within, then uses the tools it finds.
    The tools themselves are inert.
     
    • Like Like x 2
    #7 Brunneria, Jan 23, 2015 at 4:39 PM
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 23, 2015
  8. Adelle0607

    Adelle0607 Type 2 · Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    456
    Likes Received:
    1,044
    Trophy Points:
    158
    On a positive note, I've found that it's good to have that knowledge from the net and forums, otherwise, I wouldn't be able to control my symptoms and cure myself of other health problems I had in the past :) I've allowed myself to absorb all about it for the first few months to learn more about what works for me. I think others do too. I pop into DCUK forum with my phone app so it's just like sending a regular text message to friends :) it's good to have people to share your experiences with (because your friends/husband can't understand, unfortunately because they can eat ice cream and sweets lol! ) and having a solid support group. :)
     
    • Like Like x 2
  9. Neo88

    Neo88 Type 2 · Active Member

    Messages:
    41
    Likes Received:
    21
    Trophy Points:
    48
    I'm not sure it encourages obsession, I think some people just 'like to know'.
    If someone's glucose levels are running high or you are newly diagnosed then the information can be beneficial and to a certain extent it will benefit them to be obsessive about managing their condition and finding a routine that works. If glucose levels are relatively stable, then fixating on it could potentially give you nightmares!!
     
  10. Robbity

    Robbity Type 2 · Expert

    Messages:
    6,312
    Likes Received:
    16,104
    Trophy Points:
    198
    Knowledge is power...:p

    I agree with @Brunneria, It's how you use the tools not the tools themselves that can cause obsessive behaviour.

    Having said that, I probably test rather more than absolutely necessary (a) because I like to know what's a going on in my body, and (b) I spent the majority of my working life in a job where record keeping was a major part of the job, and it's become second nature... But I neither get upset if my test results are "not good enough" or if I neglect to test occasionally...

    Robbity
     
  11. tim2000s

    tim2000s Type 1 · Expert
    Retired Moderator

    Messages:
    8,914
    Likes Received:
    11,783
    Trophy Points:
    198
    Those who have answered, do you think people compare their results with others in public forums or in the Bernstein programme and maybe beat themselves up when they don't achieve what are often perceived as "as good" results?
     
  12. Brunneria

    Brunneria Other · Moderator
    Staff Member

    Messages:
    21,600
    Likes Received:
    34,957
    Trophy Points:
    298
    Personally, I only compare myself to myself.
    But I have never mustered an obsessive impulse in my life.

    I obviously can't speak for anyone else.
     
  13. cold ethyl

    cold ethyl Type 2 · Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,211
    Likes Received:
    10,737
    Trophy Points:
    178
    I do find that some days I can get a bit obsessive with the testing. And the comparing to others on here. My rational head says I may not ever have turned in results that low even when a long way off being diabetic but every so often the imp on my shoulder says " not good enough " or " you're not trying hard enough." I value the encouragement and support that instant access to this forum has afforded me, but given I've suffered with OCD and low self -esteem all my life, it has a downside too at times.
     
  14. Enclave

    Enclave Type 2 (in remission!) · Well-Known Member
    Retired Moderator

    Messages:
    2,602
    Likes Received:
    4,616
    Trophy Points:
    178
    No ... I just test to see how I am getting on ... Not getting stressed about the fact I am incontrol
     
  15. Alanp35

    Alanp35 Type 1 · Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    895
    Likes Received:
    894
    Trophy Points:
    133
    For me - no.
    I test regularly and provided BGs are within proscribed parameters then I am happy enough. If not then I check on what I,have been eating, how I am feeling etc. Surest doesn't help at all and with other health problems this is easily achieved.
    Just a case of monitoring and managing, and hopefully having good DNS and GP support.
     
  16. Robbity

    Robbity Type 2 · Expert

    Messages:
    6,312
    Likes Received:
    16,104
    Trophy Points:
    198
    @tim2000s

    I occasionally like to look at other people's results to see how they're getting on, but not to compare myself with, as the only results relevant to my diabetes are mine...

    I've taken note of the recommended glucose levels here to use as a basis for targets for me to aim for, (or beat!) and do actually sometimes adjust these down (or even up slightly) to help me keep on track. But I've learned over the last 13 months not to beat myself up if I'm struggling a bit, as I've seen that stressing over such things doesn't win my diabetic battles for me.

    Robbity
     
    • Like Like x 2
  17. killerkaz

    killerkaz Type 2 · Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    246
    Likes Received:
    1,669
    Trophy Points:
    158
    I agree that anything taken to excess can become obsessive. However, people like me who are newly diagnosed and find the world of diabetes a little alarming and confusing at times find these forums invaluable, as is the information given on websites like this one. It is then up to that person to use that information and advise to manage their own condition as we are all individuals and react differently to food, medication etc. I also think you have to have a slightly obsessive nature to allow yourself to become obsessed with diabetes morning noon and night. You are right in saying about the younger ones who can be more easily influenced into thinking it is normal to be obsessional about their condition and if I had a child or young teen I would strictly monitor their behaviour (without them realising) and steer them in the right direction (hopefully)
     
  18. Flowerpot

    Flowerpot Type 1 · Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    424
    Likes Received:
    1,362
    Trophy Points:
    158
    I don't compare my results with others, my personal battle is with my own control. I get annoyed with myself when I don't meet the targets my pump consultant and I have agreed to work towards. Reading others stories/successes is always interesting but what fuels me is the need to achieve the best control I can for a healthy future.
     
    • Like Like x 4
  19. mangobe

    mangobe Type 1 · Active Member

    Messages:
    33
    Likes Received:
    104
    Trophy Points:
    73
    I've had similar thoughts @tim2000s but I've come to the conclusion that since managing diabetes well (T1 especially) requires unusual discipline and an unnatural focus on controlling levels and measuring quantities etc, it just isn't humanly possible to avoid sometimes being rather obsessive if you want to achieve the best state of health. There is so much information to take in in order to be well informed enough to make the best use of the tools currently available, and then so many calculations that must be done, all day, every day, to apply the tools and information, that it inevitably takes up lots of energy and time whenever you are not just coasting along on automatic.

    For many years I worried about my tendency to swing from obsessive focus on multiple tests and 'diabeeting' all day, to being far too slack and not thinking of it at all beyond habitual routines and then not testing enough. I couldn't work out how to find a 'middle way' and castigated myself for that, thinking it was a personality failing - that I had a tendency to OCD, or was trying to deny the issue by not being able to keep focused on it, and that I should be able to fix this. But after 34 years (of pretty good control overall), now that I've been able to read about so many others experiences on forums, I accept that living with Diabetes just IS life that won't continue very happily without effortful control, control which will always seem unnatural and obsessive in comparison with the lives of those free of Diabetes. There's no choice, so no wonder periods of frustrated 'burn out' are common, but another benefit of forums is that we also share the inspiring and reassuring news posted by those who achieve great health, or happiness with their lot, motivating the rest of us to keep at it - managing this relentless condition. It's true that living as spontaneously as others isn't possible, nevertheless opportunities for living in the 'now' continue, as long as we are mindful. Perhaps a moment devoted to 'diabeeting' can be as valid a moment as any other in the day.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  • Meet the Community

    Find support, connect with others, ask questions and share your experiences with people with diabetes, their carers and family.

    Did you know: 7 out of 10 people improve their understanding of diabetes within 6 months of being a Diabetes Forum member. Get the Diabetes Forum App and stay connected on iOS and Android

    Grab the app!
  • Tweet with us

  • Like us on Facebook