Our Tupperware at home is housed in a large lower drawer in the kitchen, loaded with different sized containers and their corresponding lids. Everything fits in there, but it has to be organised a certain way otherwise it’s just a jumbled mess. There are times that we forget the way it needs to be sorted, or we just don’t have the time or energy to carefully stack the different pieces as they need to be, so random bits of plastic get shoved in there however they fit, and we find ourselves pushing the drawer shut, hoping it closes and doesn’t jam.

And, inevitably then when we get more Tupperware, we need to unpack everything and start again, trying to rearrange the already overflowing drawer, finding room for more, when really, we should think about getting rid of some of it to make way for the new. Or – even better – stop bringing any more plastic into the house.

We do that with life too. We have our family, friends, work, social life and latest Netflix binge and everything else to try to fit into the limited space we have. And those of us living with a chronic health condition have to find room for that too.

The room for my family never gets shifted around because that is what keeps me grounded and anchored and is the most important thing in my life. I probably should find more room for them, and I do when I can. But it never feels enough.

I find room (most willingly) for my peers and the friendships I have formed thanks to diabetes, happy to arrange and move other things around to accommodate these friends because while they may take up room, they actually help reduce the burden and anxiety of diabetes – meaning that burden takes up less room.

The thing is, it’s never about finding room for ‘just diabetes’, because there is always so much around that. I have to find room for all the other bits and pieces I need to do to try to keep demanding diabetes contained. And on top of that, I need to find room for the emotional toll which varies from day to day. Sometimes that needs a lot of room, other times, it can squeeze in between other things.

I need to find room for all the things I have to remember – the doctors’ appointments and those relationships. I find room for the admin of diabetes – prescriptions, supplies, drivers checks, complications screenings…That space is like a filing cabinet – full, overflowing and, most of the time, in need of a good clean out.

I find room for numbers and results, and watch them trickle down into the cracks, filling up the spaces because those numbers connect me to my diabetes management and remind me that I need to do more, or that I am doing enough. I need to find more room for telling myself that I am doing enough – for the positive self-talk rather than the negative.

I’m trying to get better at getting rid of stuff, because not everything I’ve found space for needs to be in there. There are things that were once important that are no longer needed. There are bits and pieces that were once whole, but are now like a Tupperware ‘Heat and Eat’ container without the lid. I should get rid of those, along with the things that I’ve been finding room for that are negative and only serve to cause me hurt, pain or anger. Often they are hard to let go of – I feel a sense of failure because perhaps they didn’t turn out the way I wanted.

Back in January, (that seems like an age ago, right?), I decided my word for the year was going to be ‘reset’. The idea was that I was going to try to be more meaningful in my decision making and in what I spend my time and attention on. I’ve done that to a degree this year. A couple of instances of making conscious decisions to stop and evaluate something and make a decision that has felt deliberate and measured.

It’s felt good. I’ve tried to let go of the guilt that seemed to take up so much room. I am never going to be perfect; my diabetes is never going to be perfect. I am never going to be the perfect anything. And that’s okay. Because no one else is, either. I’m doing my best to stop worrying if others think I have disappointed them, because really, most of the time I am doing the most and the best I can and maybe it’s not really my problem if I don’t measure up. I’ve tried to let go of the ‘what ifs’ that sometimes became the soundtrack to my day. Posing questions about how things could have been different or how things may turn out was pointless. I consciously have thrown out those thoughts.

Metaphorically, I stood back and cleared out some unnecessary Tupperware that was broken and doing nothing for me. It felt good. I should have done it a long time ago. I realised there were things in there that I was holding onto for no good reason. It allowed me to rearrange a few things, refocus and reset.

Trying to fit diabetes into what is already an overcrowded space is really tough. I often wonder how much extra room I would have if so much of my efforts were not taken up by diabetes. What do people without diabetes do with all that room? I think that perhaps my low tolerance of rubbish behaviour is partly due to not having room to deal with it. Or it could just be that I have no patience. That’s probably more like it.