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?
Living with diabetes is hard. It is harder than I ever thought it would be. When I was diagnosed I tried to just be as brave as I could. I accepted that this was the new normal. The odd time I would get stressed out or feel defeated, but before I knew it I was picking myself up again and carrying on as if nothing was wrong. I did this for a long time, a real long time. Forgetting that part of taking care of myself, was mentally and I was failing hard.
I wanted to be the 'inspirational' helper in the diabetes community and I didn't want to have to rely on anyone else to help me be that person. I didn't want to tell anyone that I was struggling just as much as they were. I wanted to appear calm and collected. At my diabetes appointments, each time I'd promise myself, this time you're going to tell them that you're stressed out, that you think you have mild anxiety and that the passing of your uncle, who had type 1 really bothered you and effected the way you saw your own diagnosis. But, each time I left the appointment to scared to say a thing. I would think, "this appointment is going too well, I don't want to kill the mood with my problems."
I have been an advocate for people to seek help, speak to others, share their feelings, join together and be brave, yet I was doing the opposite for myself. I was leaving everything inside and the pot would soon begin to bubble over at the foot of my bed one night, or at my cousins wedding when I had just one too many tequila shots. This was my reality that I was keeping so quiet just to save face.
But, I have learned that I am not alone in my struggle. That many people with diabetes or not, are overwhelmed and over worked. We spend so much time trying to please others and make things aesthetically pleasing that we forget about taking care of ourselves.
Take insulin, carb count, keep your weight stable or lose a few pounds. Lower your a1c, make sure you get your blood work done. Don't forget to log your blood sugars. Pack some low supplies, don't drive low. Change your site and your battery too. Leave some juice boxes beside your bed. Change your basals, bolus for dinner....
but also breathe.
Just take time to breathe and to find that person, that something, that thing you want to lean on, talk to, take a break with. Just don't forget about what is inside that needs attention.