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 a loaded topic. There are so many things on a day to day basis that can get people down whether they have diabetes or not. There isn't a day that goes by that something doesn't happen that could make a person blue.
Who hasn't had a proverbial Monday on any day of the week?
- The fuel light on the car turns on the morning you're running later than usual to work.
- While walking into work the elastic on your slip breaks and proceeds to end up around your ankles right as you walk in the building.
- Your child's school calls to let you know that they have been caught doing something they shouldn't.
Dealing with diabetes on a daily basis just adds to the possibilities of downers.
- You drop the bottle of insulin you've used once, and it shatters on the kitchen floor.
- Your insulin pump gives you the "low battery" or "motor error" warning just before you sit down for dinner.
- Your insurance company limits the number of test strips they will cover.
- Purposely poking my finger multiple times per day.
- Really wanting to be able to sneak a cookie from the pantry but knowing I can't without someone knowing about it and me paying for it later.
- The amount of time each day that I loose because of checking blood sugars, dosing insulin, calculating carbs, taking pills, etc.
- Usually being the last one to sit down to dinner because I'm bolusing for what is on my plate.
- Always having something attached to me to monitor, or control, my health.
- The amount of money that is spent to keep me alive instead of on a family vacation.
- Knowing that my family worries about me more than usual. Am I not answering my phone because the battery died? or because my blood sugar is very low and I am unresponsive?
- That long stubborn high that you can't explain and can't bring down no matter what you try. The ones where you look at your pump cartridge after filling it and wonder if even that would be enough insulin to bring you back into range.
However, staying down is not an option. Taking a deep breath, and quite often a nap, helps a lot. Watching the sunrise or the sunset and sitting there peacefully taking it in. Reminding myself that it really could be worse. That I've been blessed, not by this disease, but because of the disease. I have been blessed with having to learn more about how my body works than what is considered the normal. I have been blessed with the knowledge that many people love me, and they show it. I have been blessed with the opportunity to befriend a world of people that I would have never had the chance to even meet.
These blessings, and a whole lot of other little GOOD things that pile up faster than the bad things, is what helps me get through the bad days. Some days it works, and other days I go to bed add to my prayers a request for a better day tomorrow and I sleep. I know that when all else fails, God doesn't.