We all need to get lost, sometimes. I’m not talking about wandering off in the wrong direction and losing your bearings, rather entering in to that magical place where you lose yourself entirely in a book or a day-dream, or you lose all of your peripheral attention to the one thing in front of you, becoming absorbed to the point that everything else simply melts away. Maybe it’s going for a run in the rain, or the feeling of a leaf in your fingertips, or a captivating project at work.
The photo below encapsulates all of the above, for me. This is Daisy, whom I have had the pleasure of photographing a number of times.
She is energetic, brimming with creativity and fun – she loves getting immersed in stories, being transported to other realms through play and imagination – this girl knows how to ‘get lost’, totally absorbed in adventures and magical worlds.
Her colourful and caring nature is always refreshing, and her energy is infectious. Daisy’s parents and school have cultivated a real can-do attitude in her, which has led her to all kinds of adventures including walking on tightropes (literally), travelling to far-flung lands and embracing all of the opportunities that life throws her way.
Daisy: “I like playing with George” (her brother)
If you were to read a breakdown of all of the adventures that Daisy has been immersed in over the last year, you would never guess that she also happens to have type 1 diabetes. This is an auto immune condition which destroys the body’s insulin producing cells, making it impossible to regulate blood sugar levels without taking life-saving insulin. My previous post about two sisters with Type 1 diabetes gives a small window in to how challenging daily life can be with this condition.
Daisy: “Diabetes is hard for me”
Daisy was the first of my subjects for a photoshoot to accompany the launch of the Good Diabetes Care in School Award campaign with Diabetes UK. Without the support of her family, her school and her hospital team, she wouldn’t be able to enjoy the same opportunities as every other child. She needs those around her to be well informed and trained to support her in managing her condition, so that she can skip across the tightrope of diabetes management without it pulling her away from all of the opportunities that her peers enjoy. It’s perhaps even MORE important for a child with a chronic condition to be able to ‘get lost’ as often as possible, to be able to forget their challenges as they become absorbed in a world of play and learning, while letting those around them share the weight of it.
Below: Daisy spends time with her family, who show ongoing commitment to improving her diabetes management so that she can enjoy life to the full.
Just last week in clinic, my own diabetes consultant encouraged me to put more of my energy in to creativity. She understands just how important it is for me to be able to ‘switch off’ entirely from the physical and emotional pressures that diabetes can bring. For me, the simple act of shooting a roll of film invites that total immersion in to a world inside my head yet outside of my body. It allows me to be totally distant from the stresses of the day, and also a million miles from any nagging health struggles. To ‘get lost’ is invigorating – stimulating even – and when I re-emerge I am refreshed, with a little more motivation to take on the challenges of the juggling act called diabetes.
Below: Daisy walks the tightrope and I capture it on 35mm film. In this moment, each of us ‘forget’ we have diabetes. Daisy: “If I had £1000 I would buy a big slide”
Managing type 1 diabetes is not unlike walking a tightrope, constantly balancing the fine line between high and low blood sugars. Every child – no matter what their ‘struggle’, be it circumstance or health issues – deserves to be able to lose themselves in the activity at hand. When managing diabetes, this takes co-operation and understanding from all of those around them, and with this in mind Daisy’s parents will be entering her school for the new award, which will recognise the efforts of those schools who take especially good care of children with type 1 diabetes. If you have a child with type 1 diabetes and would like to acknowledge the great efforts of their school, you can register at www.diabetes.org.uk/school-award
I’d love to be able to bottle up the wonder and total absorption of kids when they are entranced by a story. It’d make a great tonic for us grown-ups, scurrying along on the hamster wheel of daily life and responsibility. I remember gazing in envy at a small child who stood mesmerised by a steady drip from a gutter. We DO all need to ‘get lost’ from time to time. What do you do to ‘get lost’? What captivates you to the point that you phase out of reality entirely?
Never stop searching for the ‘wonder’. You are worth it!
Below: Daisy with her head teacher. Look out for a picture of Daisy in this month’s Balance magazine.