Thank you Karen Gaffeo www.bittersweetdiabetes.com for coordinating #DBlogWeek Check out the awesome posts by spectacular PWD, blogging their way through the week by visiting Karen’s site.
The prompt for today: 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?
Gosh, this one is so wide and deep. So deep and dark that it seems better just to not go there! Can’t I just write another funny poem? But I’ll put my wimpy side aside and try. What brings me down? Feeling like a failure (even when I know I’m not.) I remember cringing, (and still do) when my HCP tries with such earnest determination to find patterns in the chaos of my CGM lines. After watching her furrow her brows for a while, I try to explain that there is no algorithm lurking behind those Jackson Pollock inspired graphs. It’s easy … I’m not doing what I should be doing, and I’m not even doing the “wrong” things in any kind of pattern that could be identified. Carb count accurately? Exercise regularly? Use the bolus wizard? Calibrate four times a day? All logical things and fairly straight forward for my rational brain, yet for some reason I don’t follow through. Guess-and-wing-it is my mantra. I feel like a failure.
And then I got it from my endo. “You are one of my worst patients ever.” as I topped the 10% mark on the HbA1c. Failure. (He really is a good guy, and I chalk this comment up to a diabetes-inspired demon getting the best of him.)
This was two years ago. And this feeling sucked. To top it off, not only did I feel like a failure, I was pretty convinced that nobody else understood or even could understand. Isolation.
Failure + Isolation = Not good for your mental health
And then I found the Diabetes Online Community. Cue the bright lights and organ music. Through a year of lurking online and reading the few books out there that seemed “real” about diabetes burnout, I’m feeling like my feet are more under me. I’ve dipped my toes into the deep pool of #dlove in the #DOC and feel an instant connection. These people get it! Isolation, be gone. And by trotting myself off to the doctor for a monthly HbA1c, I’m seeing the feedback on my efforts (or lack thereof) more frequently. HbA1c’s are headed down, and I’m proud to say I’m in the 7-8% range.
Ah, but what to do when you sense the pendulum swing in the opposite direction? When you realize the pie chart of your brain is way too d devoted? When you start to think you might qualify as a professional diabetic, your fingers hurt from constant testing, and you go back to measuring the milk in your coffee? All in pursuit of the elusive HbA1c, lower than the last? Not good either (or at least from the mental health perspective.)
I’m in search of equilibrium. The Goldilocks state. The “sweet spot”. Aren’t we all?