Wednesday, 14 May 2014
D-Blog Week Day 3: What Brings Me Down
Our topic for today is What Brings Me Down. May is Mental Health Month so now seems like a great time to explore the emotional side of living with, or caring for someone with, diabetes. What things can make dealing with diabetes an emotional issue for you and / or your loved one, and how do you cope?
If I were to have written this post during the first 12 months after my diagnosis it would be written very differently than the one I am about to write. Being diagnosed at the age of 32 sent me for a complete 360. That first year was a complete whirlwind of emotion for me. Fear, devastation, denial, anger, frustration, confusion and a lot of sadness.
Fast forward to today. I have been a Type 1 diabetic for over 2.5 years and definitely struggle with it on a mental level, just in a different way. My emotions are not as raw as they once were, but they are deeper. I no longer feel angry at the world and I no longer pity myself. I do however have a lot of anger towards the disease, anger and frustration. I get angry when I am ready for a run/bike/swim and my blood sugars are too low or to high to go. I get angry when I cannot get a high blood sugar to come down and my head swims in a fog and I cannot focus. I get angry when I have a low blood sugar completely out of the blue and have to stop everything and wait for my insides to stop shaking and for my brain to start working. I get angry when I have to eat when I am full just to get my blood sugars up and I get angry when I am hungry but have to wait for my sugars to come down in order to eat. I get angry when I have to argue with my benefits company about how many test strips I should use in a day. I get angry that I have to practically carry a suitcase with me everywhere I go to lug all my diabetes stuff around in. I get angry that there are many people in this world with Type 1 diabetes that do not have access to the type of care I have, that some go without up to date insulin, can only test once or twice a day, have never seen a specialist.
I also feel frustrated for many of the same reasons. In fact I get frustrated when I get angry and angry when I get frustrated!
Fear is something that has worked itself inside my brain. When I go to bed every night I am scared that I might not wake up. It is usually a quick thought, but it is there. I fear what the disease is doing to me inside. I look, feel and act well, but I know that each and every day with Type 1 diabetes takes a toll on my body. I wonder what it is doing to my organs, eyes and nerves. I get scared that one of my beloved nieces or nephews may end up being Type 1 diabetic. I know there is nothing I could do to stop that from happening, but I worry about it. I worry about being a burden on my loved ones.
I also often feel exhausted Not exhaustion in the sleepy way (although the 3:30am blood sugar checks do contribute to that feeling), more of being exhausted of keeping the disease in check 24 hours a day. Not an hour goes by in my day where I don't think of diabetes. There is the many blood sugar checks a day, the 3:30am checks every day, calculating of carbs, dosing of insulin, predicting what will happen during exercise, treating highs and lows...and the list goes on. It can be very daunting.
I know this all makes it sound like doom and gloom, but it's not. These are feelings that do surface a lot, sometimes I dwell on them, most of the time I don't. They come, they pass and I move on.