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? (Thanks go out to Scott of Strangely Diabetic for coordinating this topic.)
Click for the What Brings Me Down - Wednesday 5/14 Link List.
I could write a book on this topic. It would be my topic of choice if I did write a book about D, something which I would seriously consider in the future.
There is so much to come to terms with when you have T1D. It's overwhelming. The testing, injecting, the carb counting, the supplies, what to carry with you from now on, the testing, the injections etc. Diabetes can be less of a medical condition and more of a constant freaking annoyance. Those things I mentioned are really just the practical side of it. What is it about these things that turn Diabetes into an emotional waterfall as well? I think it's the idea of living with a chronic medical condition. Knowing, and getting used to the fact that this is your forever. There's also something about knowing that everything you do may possibly impact your Diabetes Management. Want to exercise? Have sex? Relax? Have more sex? Yea, they all can affect your Diabetes in some way. OR. They could not. It could be that some of the things you do, don't actually change anything. It could also be that the one piece of exercise you do on Monday, can have a completely different impact when you do it on Tuesday.
I could go on and on. It's relentless. Sometimes you can figure it out. Sometimes you know that you've incorrectly counted the carbs in a meal. Sometimes you don't. Sometimes no matter how much investigation you do you'll never know why you have that wacko blood sugar. Just writing this blog post has made me tired. Living with it is even more tiring.
There's also those wondrous times when the physical impact of Diabetes can cross over into the emotional impacts - those high or low blood sugars that make you snap, cry, yell. The emotional side of Diabetes is very very very real. But why? For me, I've swung between depression, acceptance, a fierce need for independence, a recognition I need help. I'm fiercely independent. There was a time sometime after starting University when I discovered that if I didn't tell people about my Diabetes I wouldn't get all those over the top worry warts all of the time. So I stopped sharing with people. And then it got to be an obsession, going so far out of my way to hide it from people that it was ridiculous. Going to my bedroom in my very own home to test my blood sugar or inject because I didn't feel comfortable doing it in front of my flatmates.
It wasn't a healthy, emotionally stable way to live. What changed? I did for one, my work load got lighter and I really wanted to tighten up my management. So, I started seeing my CDE at the local hospital and we worked on the puzzle of my Diabetes Management. I did some googling and found the DOC. There's definitely a causation between my better controlled blood sugar levels and my discovery of the online community. But I think I was ready to take a leap and change my mind set.
Diabetes will always be relentless but it is a part of me, not some medical condition I have on the side. Once I accepted that it paved the way for better things.