It’s been about 24 hours since I returned from my most recent travels. Africa. Europe. Driving across the US. Lots of ups and downs both in terms of topography and diabetes. Going into this trip I felt like I had things pretty well sorted out in terms of my diabetes. Then, somehow my control started slipping and suddenly my sugar won’t come down despite repeated correction injections. Then, out of nowhere on some days, my sugar decides to plummet with barely any provocation.

It’s been 14 years–almost 15 now. Shouldn’t this be getting easier?
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Diabetes is a mental challenge with a physical manifestation. I don’t struggle with the physiology of diabetes. I struggle with the psychology of this condition. Yeah, I climb mountains for fun and I like steep places. I know that diabetes doesn’t have to stop me from anything I want to achieve. I also know that since I am in control, my ability to flip that switch on and accomplish seemingly significant feats is only a hairs-breadth away from a complete lack of desire to try and the utter acceptance of defeat–and when I fall into that rut, I can really wind up taking a beating–even in spite of the massive outpourings of love and support that have come in the last week or so–depression isn’t rational–it doesn’t need a reason to kick you in the shorts.

It’s a fine line to walk. I use diabetes as my motivation but some days, I just don’t want to play this game anymore. Today I wallowed in absolute despair as my blood sugar skyrocketed to 295 as I sat at the computer, trying to cobble together a workable climbing project for 2014 that will leave room for training and the Project365 film tour this fall/winter. Suddenly I just felt like I wanted to start updating my resume and cash in my chips. The documentary is finished, or just about. We have that paid for and that means we finished what we set out to do, right?

It’s really hard to be yourself sometimes. Maybe I lost myself in Project365 and I don’t know how to function with bigger projects and the knowledge that people are watching. Maybe caring too much about succeeding is the problem. Or maybe, I have been too focused on what I “should” be doing and what people expect of me. Maybe it’s time to just get back to basics. It may be a little self indulgent but I feel like I have slipped away from just being myself and really sharing my struggle through this blog. It’s become more business-like and “what’s new with LivingVertical” and while that’s all well and good, it’s not…me.

I finally stepped away from the computer this afternoon to go for a walk to check the mail and bring my blood sugar down. I managed to hate every square inch of the sidewalk between home and the post office and it made me realize that I am upset with myself and that it is my own complacency that has caused a lot of these issues. Once the project ended, it was easy to be lazy. I had earned that right…but once you fall into that routine, it gets harder to get back on the wagon.

So now, it’s back to square one. I get to go through the process of building myself back up and seeing how high I can reach. I know a lot of people see the summit photos and that’s their takeaway as to how I live my life with diabetes. For me, those summits are the bright light at the end of the tunnel that make it worthwhile for me to get out of bed and keep fighting what feels like an impossible battle.

It’s not easy to be yourself when you don’t know who to be or what you are. But I know that I usually wind up making sense of things when I fling myself out of the frying pan and into the fire. So…that is what I am going to do. I am not a businessperson, or a blogger or an artist or an advocate or a spokesperson. Im Steve. I have diabetes and I climb things. The rest is just details–so I have to get back to being me again, because none of this was supposed to be easy in the first place–it just has to be worthwhile.