Most days if someone would ask me how I feel about diabetes, I would say it’s fine, no big deal. Everyone is dealing with something, and diabetes happens to be where my goat is tied.
But some days it is too much. The nonstop worry, guilt, stress, fear, and questioning overwhelm you. You need a break that will never come. You feel inadequate and unable to master this disease and thus your own fate. You wish you were cursed with anything else but this.
A few years ago I sat in on a workshop about de-escalation and learned one of the basics was to acknowledge what the person in crisis was feeling. It makes total sense.
Unfortunately as diabetics we deny ourselves this all the time—the acknowledgement that it is a lot to handle. It isn’t cancer, it isn’t a terminal diagnosis, and it’s manageable. We want to minimize the stress and fretting of our loved ones, so we carry on and try to normalize it. At least I do. I don’t want to bring anyone down, as if my vulnerability is their burden.
But living with this condition is significant. It’s always there. It dominates my thoughts around every meal and every workout and every drive and every date and every time out with friends.
It’s hard, and we should give each other that much. Which is why I really appreciate Thursday’s topic and posts relating to Mental Health Month and coping.
On the worst days, some of the things that bring me down are thoughts (if irrational) like this:
- Having to deal with this when none of my friends do is the worst thing in the entire world
- I am alone and no one understands
- I am failing at BS control, and the resulting complications and/or death will be my fault
- Diabetes has made me an inferior person
Dark stuff, right? What I do to conquer these feelings and move on is at first acknowledge them. I accept that it is okay to feel them and confirm that I am facing a challenging situation. In other words, I revel in self-pity.
After that phase has concluded I try to do things that make me happy and calm. This can be very hard to do at times because I’m having so much fun with the self-pity phase, but I know it works every time so it’s just a matter of getting out and doing things such as:
- Taking a walk
|Walks are nice. Always.|
- Playing with my cat (or any animal that is readily available)
|Someone super hates her Christmas accessories, which only serves to make it more endearing.|
- Making a delicious but somewhat healthy meal that makes me feel like I’m back on track
|Curry would be super healthy but for the can of coconut cream that has basically a week's worth of calories. YUM!|
- Seeing family or talking with friends
|Bonus: hanging with loved ones AND a furry animal!|
- Writing or journaling about what’s going on
- Going online to listen, learn from, and share with the wonderful diabetes community there
Diabetes won't give you a break, but you certainly deserve one. Go for it!!