the mental weight of diabetes

It is estimated that psychological conditions, such as depression, anxiety and eating disorders, occur in about 41 per cent of people with diabetes. In turn this is linked with poor blood glucose control and higher risks of developing serious problems. Facts like this terrify me and it is hard to admit that when you’re a diabetic. As more and more people become diabetic, people appear to fear it less. People understand that it doesn’t have to be a death sentence and seem to have taken this information and walked off to the other extreme. Now for many people ‘it is only diabetes’. For some that means they think all diabetics are type twos and don’t you just take a tablet for that? For others it is the more hurtful phrase of ‘hey, at least it isn’t cancer’.

It seems like many feel that we don’t have a right to feel frustrated or hurt or angry about things because at least we’re still alive right? For now. But I am frustrated, hurt and at times very angry about things. As much as the various medications I’m on help things I’m frustrated that they can’t solve it completely. I’m frustrated that I have to get up at 5am every morning to take novorapid because basal insulin doses won’t work and it is the best time and insulin to try and stem the blow of the dawn phenomenon. I’m furiously angry that even that doesn’t work and I still spend most of my day feeling nauseous and sick. It hurts that I’ve spent so many years doing well and trying hard and then something inside me just goes ‘nope’ and it all falls apart.

It is very difficult to share and express that though. There is a lot of pressure to feel and be strong at all times. ‘It could be worse’. Yeah, but it could be a lot better. If I have days where I’m sad and upset I’m ‘giving in’ to the depression in the eyes of others who don’t have to live with this. Diabetes is a horrible disease but it isn’t the only one I have and my diabetes isn’t following the rules. For a lot of people one unit of bolus insulin means they come down by 3. Not me. I have a list as long as my arm where the doctors say ‘well this should happen and for me it just doesn’t. But ‘they’ say I have to be strong, be grateful for what I have, not let it get to me. I am grateful for what I have but I’m upset too. ‘They’ just outnumber me. I have friends to support me but the ‘they’ shout very loudly. I have always loved the quot,

“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow.”

Sometimes it is just hard to hear the quiet voice over the rabble. It has been a long journey for me to realise that it is ok to have weak moments and days where I hate having these issues as long as I don’t let it consume me. Bottling it up inside because ‘they’ say I can’t feel it or let it out doesn’t help either. I can have my days where I feel I haven’t managed, as long as I try again tomorrow. That is all anyone has any right to ask of me, and more importantly all I can realistically ask of myself.

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