Category: Depression

The emotional side of diabetes

The Emotional Side of Diabetes

The Emotional Side of Diabetes

Today let’s revisit a prompt from 2014 – 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?

The emotional side of diabetes is what I tap into often. Everyone has their own way of dealing with diabetes, and not one way is wrong.. because every journey is different. I’ve had some people tell me that my viewpoints are often depressing or negative. While I do like to share all aspects of this disease, the emotional side is what releases my mind.

Now in real life, besides the lows and highs that come with this disease, I manage pretty well. Or as best as I can (of course) with the lack of a working pancreas. But I wasn’t always doing so “good”. When I was diagnosed at the age of 12, I thought my life was over. I didn’t want to be labeled or seen as different. I didn’t like the idea of the possible complications or sudden death that could occur from this disease. I just wanted to hide, ignore it, and pray it would go away. I was scared, and I had no one to talk to about my fears or doubts. On the outside I looked fine, but on the inside — I was battling my inner demons.

Along the way, many years of only talking about my diabetes to family and close friends — I eventually started this blog. It was my time to talk about what’s not being discussed. To start conversations and show the reality. The things that many struggle with but are difficult to express or understand. I would say I’m living proof that you can go through hell and back and come out of it even stronger. I know there are many people who are going through what I’ve gone through, and I want to share how bright the future really is.

I would say the emotional side of diabetes is harder than the physical. The needles don’t bother me, the blood sugar checks, the long nights, or the constant monitoring of data. What bothers me now is that I have a family of my own and there is no cure for my illness. Now as I’m trying to teach my children about it, I’m also trying to teach the rest of the world through my blog. It’s open to anyone to share how diabetes has impacted them, because someone, somewhere, is most likely going through that RIGHT now.

I think my biggest accomplishment with diabetes is letting myself become vulnerable. Not caring what everyone thinks, embracing who I am, and who I’ve become — weaknesses and all.  I believe by doing this, I’m able to cope with the emotional side, because I no longer fear, I just live.


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My Journey With Diabetes And The 5 Stages Of Grief

My Journey With Diabetes and The 5 Stages Of Grief

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.

Denial

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.

Anger

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.

Bargaining

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.

Depression

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.

Acceptance

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

diabetes burnout

Dealing With Diabetes Burnout: How It Is Different For Everyone

When hearing the phrase “Diabetes Burnout” the first thing that comes to mind is a form of severe distress. But when having type 1 diabetes for so many years, I know this isn’t always the case.

How can we directly define what dealing with Diabetes Burnout means for those that are diabetic? How come we pinpoint the exact symptoms or signs of having Diabetes Burnout?

We can’t. It’s not a one-size fits all scenario.

Just like how diabetes affects everyone differently, so does the effects of feeling burnt out by the disease. This disease is an everyday, lifelong battle. With no days off, no vacation – it’s a full-time job.

There’s been a time in my life where I would go days without checking my blood sugar – aimlessly taking insulin – and consciously avoiding my diabetes.

That is what I would consider some the worst effects of being burnt out.

Now at the least, from time to time. I feel unmotivated and inconsistent with my diet.

All of which I would consider feeling “burnt out” by diabetes.

Does feeling burnout mean you’re a bad diabetic? Absolutely not. With anything in life, things can become too much to handle at times. But with diabetes, there’s no escaping it.

While battling ourselves, it’s also easy for others to judge. By making assumptions without knowing the actual demands and sacrifices that consist of having diabetes.

I’ll admit it’s hard to break free of feeling burnt out. I’ve battled with feeling helpless, depressed, and overwhelmed with caring for my diabetes.

diabetes burnout

But how can it be avoided? Dealing with Diabetes Burnout is not easy. Are there ways to help bounce back from it?

I went ahead and asked some diabetes groups of how to prevent or reduce the effects of feeling diabetes burnout. Here’s what others have suggested:

1. Taking vitamins.

By taking vitamins such as B-12 has helped others boost their spirits, energy, and helped them stay motivated. As well as Vitamin D, which helps boost your mood. Vitamins can help our bodies where we have a deficiency.

2. Exercising and staying active.

Exercising helps to lose weight and increases serotonin in the brain. Serotonin helps enhance mood, which helps to make you feel good.

3. Getting involved.

Participating in support groups, volunteer events, fundraisers, charities, and diabetes advocacy are all great ways to support the cause. By being involved helps you stay focused and determined to make a difference. Not only are you making a difference in your life, but others as well.

4. Setting a goal.

When setting goals, it’s important to be realistic. Making small changes can help achieve those goals, rather than] setting expectations too high in a short amount of time. Whether it be lowering your A1C, losing weight, or making certain lifestyle changes.

5. Starting from square one.

Sometimes the best thing to do is start from where you began. It’s a task to break bad habits and develop new ones. But it can be revitalizing to start fresh. By re-evaluating how to manage diabetes, re-educating yourself, and essentially gaining a new perspective.

diabetes burnout

This journey we’re on is a crazy ride. What I’ve learned from having diabetes, is it’s a lot of trial and error. Seeing what works and what doesn’t. Our bodies, minds, and our diabetes are each our own. By identifying and accepting our flaws, we can make improvements for the better.  I’ve taken the unnecessary pressure off by knowing there is no such thing as perfection with diabetes. “I am human after all“. All I can do is strive to be better. Strive for improvements in my life. That’s my success story.

“Maybe life isn’t about avoiding the bruises. Maybe it’s about collecting the scars to prove we showed up for it.”