May is Mental Health Month so now seems like a great time to explore the emotional side of living with diabetes. What things can make dealing with diabetes an emotional issue for you, and how do you cope? (Thanks go out to Scott of Strangely Diabetic for coordinating this topic.)
After Diabetes Blog Week 2013, I drifted off and didn’t feel like blogging for a while. A few weeks became a month, and then three…then six…and…here we are, a full year later. But what I didn’t want to acknowledge was that something else was going on as well. Quite a few things, actually, and most of them either were directly related to diabetes, or indirectly impacted my diabetes the way every. freaking. living. thing. impacts my diabetes in SOME way, because it does.
What was that something else, that made/makes dealing with diabetes an emotional issue? Let’s see…
The best medical care I’ve ever gotten for my diabetes was in the “Sweet Success” program for pregnant women with diabetes, and a few women with type 1 in the preconception stage (like me). I’ve been seriously grieving the loss of that expert, kind, diabetes medical attention ever since I had to stop going to the program because I…
Couldn’t get pregnant, and realized that I’m not ever going to be able to get pregnant, and surprisingly enough, I couldn’t blame diabetes for that one – that I’m aware of, anyway. Nope. I did everything diabetes-related preconception-wise perfectly. But my body decided to play yet another cruel trick on me. No babies for this body.
It made – and still makes – me so incredibly sad. I was ready. I was going to do anything I had to do, to take care of my diabetes and my body and me, in order to safely and healthily carry and birth a baby. Success story? Well, as much as anything could be under my control, and plenty of it wasn’t, but the rest of it? The diabetes preparation? I was ON it. That’s all it was supposed to take, right? Right? I was supposed to want it bad enough that I’d take good care of my diabetes, and THAT would make the difference – that was what everyone (books, blogs, doctors, random others) said!
So I did. I cared and paid attention to my diabetes like I had never done before. I whipped that fucking blood sugar into shape – 5.8 HbA1c? 6.0? 5.9? DONE. Weight? Lost it – 20 pounds of it. Everything else they threw at me, I handled. Except it didn’t matter.
So much of this diabetes life is straddling the insanely fine line between THIS IS ALL MY PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY AND IF I JUST BALANCE IT A LITTLE BETTER AND IMPROVE MY SKILLS AND LISTEN TO THE DR. AND COUNT THOSE CARBS AND START EXERCISING AND TESTING MORE AND…AND…IT’S ALL UP TO ME, TO DO IT RIGHT AND MAKE SURE NOTHING BAD HAPPENS.
and on the other, completely opposite hand:
NONE OF THIS FREAKING MATTERS AND NO MATTER WHAT I DO, IT’S ALL A CRAPSHOOT. RUN THOSE NUMBERS ONE MORE TIME AND SEE THAT EVEN IF I AM PERFECT, ANY OF THE AWFUL THINGS ON THAT LIST OF COMPLICATIONS OVER THERE COULD STILL HAPPEN. MAYBE THEY’RE HAPPENING RIGHT NOW. WHO THE HELL KNOWS? NOT EVEN THE FREAKING DOCTOR.
I’ve hit the point in my diabetes journey where I’m honestly terrified that complications will set in tomorrow. And also incredibly guilty, because I haven’t experienced many of a very severe level…YET…It’ll be 34 years on June 13, and I *should* be grateful and happy and accept how lucky I am.
But I don’t trust that I’ll be one of the so-called “lucky” ones who hit 50+ years without diabetes complications.
There’s the big bad, right there. I don’t trust diabetes not to whack me, or my loved ones, upside the head. I don’t trust that bad crap isn’t going to happen due to this crappy disease. Diabetes, and then infertility/endometriosis, really drained my trust away.
Fear. Anxiety. Grief. Pain. Worry.
Whether associated with big-picture diabetes life, or the day-to-day chronic diabetes disease management life…they’re there.
(Don’t worry – tomorrow’s post will be brighter, and I’ll remember to talk about the coping then too. Thanks for letting me release all this and just GO this far down – it’s a little scary, but I needed to saywrite it.) xoxo
or a certified diabetes educator, or any other type of medical professional. I do not have a medical degree or license. please consult your own health care provider with regard to your own diabetes management practices. what I describe and discuss on this blog is my own life experience with type 1 diabetes, and should not be considered medical advice.