I was just thinking: when I greet newbies to this site I always stress how much I’ve learned from people here. I was DX’d for 20 years before I ever even met another person with T1 and just being able to hear what other people have learned, their practical and emotional and social ways of dealing with it, has been more helpful than anything I've experienced in the decades before I stumbled across TUD. So I was just trying to describe my feelings about that to my wife, who kinda rolls her eyes when the subject of TUD comes up (You spend too much time with this diabetes stuff), and as I was hearing myself speak I realized that “learning things” is actually not what keeps me coming back. “Learning things” is fine, I’ve picked up lots of tips and techniques, but that doesn’t get to the heart of it. Because whereas I sometimes come here looking for the answer to a question (4-year pump replacement angst at the max right now, help me decide, arrrrrghhh!), or to rant (G5 Self-test successful at 3am? You're waking me UP for this at 3am???), that really accounts for very little of the time I spend here. Ok, Doublets Game, but that aside, I realized that the real thing I'm hoping for when I click the TUD bookmark is a "Hey, I can help out with that" thread. It's about looking for a chance to contribute here.
I know for a fact this isn't peculiar to me, either. It's a repeated pattern: someone newly dx’d or with a newly dx’d kid shows up, they’re in a panic, lots of us rally around, reassuring them as much by our presence as by anything we say, that “Yes it’s scary but it’s not as scary as you think. You can do this!” From there it progresses to specifics. They’ve got questions, we’ve got answers: my kid’s BG’s are all over the map—what insulin regime are you using—pumps and their idiosyncrasies—insurance resisting your request for a CGM? here’s how to approach that—all those specific things. And they check back in and check back in, asking new questions, sharing results, relaying what their endo said… and then a month goes by, maybe three or four… and here’s that same person joining the initial swarm around some other newbie, saying "You can DO this," or sharing that tip about rolling your CGM over to another week that I remember someone else telling that same no-longer-newbie about just a few weeks ago.
So ok, there’s that transition from receiving help to the satisfaction of helping others. It's a common thing in life. But it struck me that what's happening here is NOT common. Because this isn’t about improving your golf swing or how to defeat the goblin that’s preventing you from getting to the next level in a video game. The goblin we're trying to beat isn't in any goddamned game. This was the thing that really struck me. These tips we’re sharing--the CGM roll over trick, the pre-bolusing trick, the how-do-you-not-drive-yourself-nuts trick (haven't mastered that one yet), the hundreds of others—are coming directly out of our experience of one of the most negative and depressing and life-threatening things in our lives. The longer we hang around here, the more we’re all doing this to some degree or other. Digging down into that really sh***y thing in our lives and bringing up something life-enhancing and life-affirming, transmuting that lead into gold, over and over. There are other sites that do this, to be sure—offer tips, affirmation. But somehow this one has always seemed to communicate the sense of that deeper dimension in a way I haven’t experienced anywhere else. More than anywhere else, people seem to understand it’s more than information that’s being transmitted here. Being able to share in that transmutation, keep it moving along and moving along, is one of the most important and healing things in my life. That’s why I keep coming back here.
Spousal eye-roll notwithstanding.