My Journey With Diabetes and The 5 Stages of Grief
Throughout my journey, I’ve experienced and endured the five stages of grief. The hardest part about this disease is the emotional aspect. If only I could have accepted the diagnosis from the get-go, adjusted to the life long changes, and lived happily ever after.
But unfortunately, that’s not how the journey unfolded.
Having to give myself insulin injections every day for the rest of my life seem painful, but that’s the least of my pain. Checking my blood sugar every day, all day, throughout the night, seems daunting, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg.
It’s almost been fourteen years since the day I was diagnosed. I was 12 years old at the time. Granted, I was old enough to grasp the idea that things were now different but I couldn’t process it to the full extent. I thought I would get home from the hospital and things would go back to normal. Or I could try to ignore it and it wouldn’t affect me.
I was in “denial”. Denial that I was different than my family and friends. Denial that I now had to use syringes to inject myself with insulin to or I would die. Denial that I wasn’t okay. Denial that anything bad could ever happen to me.
I felt invincible, and I could just skim through life untouched. I was only a child. I didn’t want this and I couldn’t accept something I didn’t understand.
My denial towards diabetes went on for a few years until I had severe life threatening run-ins with diabetes and I soon realized I couldn’t avoid it anymore. My emotions started pouring out. I felt sad, desperate, and angry.
I was angry with my family mostly. I inadvertently took in out on them in desperation for help. I was angry for not feeling understood. I was angry for feeling helpless. I was angry that I couldn’t change this. I was angry in the fact that I didn’t want to be angry at all.
I didn’t want to be bothered. I didn’t want to be asked about what my blood sugar was or what I was eating to fix it. Or if I took my insulin. I didn’t want diabetes.
I finally reached a point where I was desperate for answers. I was experiencing grief over the life that I envisioned I would have without diabetes. I see all my peers going to class, dances, and after school events without the fears and thoughts that I constantly carried around.
I hid my diabetes from others. I would go to the bathroom to eat a snack or give myself insulin injections. Nobody knew that I had diabetes. But after awhile I started fearing for my future for how I was taking care of myself. I was constantly being reminded of the inevitable truth.
I know that I wanted a family one day, with my limbs, eyes, heart, kidneys, and myself intact. Whether I wanted to face it or not, this is what I have to deal with. I felt cheated, as to why I had to carry this burden. I just couldn’t figure out how to get where I needed to be.
I was fearful of the highs, more so than the lows. I was using a life-saving yet deadly drug known as insulin, to try to save the long term effects but not thinking of the short term amplifications. I was bargaining by trying to find peace within this, but essentially just gambling with my life.
As time went on I realized that this fight, this disease just isn’t fair. Often feeling defeated, wherein areas I feel I was trying to improve, I thereby have a lack in others. I stopped caring. I stopped seeking attention.
I kept to myself for awhile and struggled with an eating disorder called diabulimia for a short amount of time. I battled with my weight and how I felt about myself. The depression also led to drinking to cope and thereby also having a seizure.
The depression I felt was so subtle, so easily overlooked. But the depression was there and it was real. I felt alone and that was the worst part.
One of the happiest and most pivotal moments in my life was when I was able to find the courage to let go of what I can’t change. I was finally able to reach acceptance with my disease in the five stages of grief.
Becoming a mother was what helped me see my life in a different perspective. That there is a reason that I’m here. I’ve been able to come out from the other side and see the beauty and strength in all that I do.
I was able to take my life back and love the person I’ve become.
To find purpose in my struggles and use what I was given for the good. To help others, to educate, to inspire, to empower, and show compassion. I believe the gift of life is to make others brighter.
I’m now able to embrace my journey, my success, my struggles, my weaknesses, my doubts, my fears, my hurt, my love, my essence and live on…