Have you ever:

  • Not been able to find your blood checker when you need it, despite putting one in many frequented locations like your house, car, desk at work, etc?
  • Opened your last vial of insulin and left the empty box sitting on the counter to remind you to refill it, only to forget to do so until you squeeze the very last drop out of that vial and pray that it will last you until the pharmacy can refill it ASAP?
  • Hardly ever remembered to pre-bolus for a meal or snack, because your pump is on your belt or under your clothing and thus out of sight, out of mind?

If so, you might be like me, fighting against a useless pancreas AND a brain riddled with attention deficit disorder (ADD) or attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD). Whenever Dana gets after me for my non-compliance, I almost always respond, “ADD and diabetes do not mix!” Diabetes requires a great deal of self-management and discipline, while the ADD brain fights against that at every turn. It is like fighting a battle on two fronts at once, and it can be exhausting.

Through great trial and error, I am finally finding some things that help, aside from medication for both conditions. Setting reminders and lists on my phone helps me remember important things like refilling my prescriptions when I walk away from those empties, and before I run out, usually. “Breaks” from routines for both conditions help by letting me relax a little, whether some Dairy Queen with the family or mindless TV. Of course, the key is not too many breaks. Lastly, practicing regular mindfulness meditation often helps calm the raging waters of my mind to at least a flowing stream, giving me greater mental bandwidth to actually thrive with managing my diabetes and all else that I carry in my mind.

Dan Elmore lives in Carrollton, VA with his wife and two teenagers. He teaches history at Smithfield High School and is an avid Virginia Tech Hokie. Dan’s pancreas quit on him during his college years, and the psychologist said he’s a poster child for Adult ADD-inattentive type.