It’s day 4 of the eighth annual Diabetes Blog Week. The idea is that bloggers sign up to write about a set topic each day for a week, and readers get a variety of perspectives on each topic. Here is today’s prompt:
Today let’s revisit a prompt from 2014 – 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?
This is such a tough one to put into words, and I apologise if my thoughts are a bit scattered today.
If history is anything to go by, I tend to get emotional when diabetes doesn’t go right.
I remember times where I would go low for the third time in a day, and urgh. Oh my God. I would close the door to my room, and smash my fists into the wall until they hurt. I would rub my eyes in frustration, and bury my face in my hands.
I wasn’t very good at diabetes for the first couple of years. I was blindly plodding along, making wild guesses and accepting exhausting swings. I was isolated. I didn’t talk about diabetes with my family and friends. I lost touch with my healthcare team. I wasn’t online. I wasn’t engaged in diabetes, or peer support.
So yeah, when diabetes got tough, it definitely produced a lot of emotion.
When I started out on insulin pump therapy a year ago, I felt this enormous pressure to get things right. I felt like it was my last chance to get my diabetes into some sort of marching order.
But I didn’t get things right straight away. There were site failures, frustration around setting basal rates, high blood sugar levels, burnout and disappointment in my first hba1c result post pump. It was naturally, a huge learning curve. Those emotional moments repeated themselves.
Then there are simply the times where life feels overwhelming and exhausting. And then, hey, there’s my child diabetes that’s still screaming for my attention.
So, how do I cope?
When I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed or emotional, usually it’s a sign that I need to slow down and take some time out for myself. I switch off my phone, or turn off the WiFi connection. I try to get a good night’s sleep. Or curl up on the couch with a good TV show. Or go for a walk. Or read a book. Most of the time, that fixes the problem.
I also frequent #OzDOC chats on Twitter every Tuesday night, where we discuss and share different aspects of life with diabetes.
There’s my friend Bec of Sweet and Sour Diabetes, who I can just message and say hey I feel like crap today. And she just gets it. And even though she’s 2 hours ahead of me, she tends to stay up late so I’m never really bugging her.
Then there’s my group of YAC legends, and they are legends. I only met these guys earlier this year, and it really does brighten my day to get Facebook Messenger notifications filled with questions, theories, problem solving, meter shots and guess the carbs pictures.
Then there’s my family. They have been behind me 100% since day one. They have helped me out enormously with the financial side of things, and have given me unconditional support with my diabetes management. I wouldn’t be here today without them.
I always say that diabetes gets better with time. Over time, you add more bricks to the wall. Bricks of wisdom. Experience. Tips and tricks. People, and support networks. Over time these bricks simply cement together, making the wall so much harder to knock down.
To read other responses to today’s prompt, click here.