We think a lot about the physical component of diabetes, but the mental component is just as significant. How does diabetes affect you or your loved one mentally or emotionally? How have you learned to deal with the mental aspect of the condition? Any tips, positive phrases, mantras, or ideas to share on getting out of a diabetes funk? (If you are a caregiver to a person with diabetes, write about yourself or your loved one or both!)
YOU CAN DO IT! Sometimes when dealing with the frustration that comes with silly numbers that are not in within that narrow little passage doomed “in range,” you need a cheerleader. The point you need a cheerleader in your frustration will vary from person to person, as much as our diabetes varies from person to person. It usually takes a lot for me to get to that point. I tend to be pretty happy go lucky.
I am very fortunate. I now have three options to disclose my frustrations with my Type 1 diabetes (T1). In the past three years, I have come in contact with several people in the Diabetic Online Community (DOC) in which I frequently will vent/rant to. In this safe environment of a six person group chat, I know I can literally discuss anything and rant about what is really bothering me. (#targetlowsarereal) In addition, I have a close friend that will let me just unload my frustration. Although he has no connection to diabetes, he certainly has an empathic ear and he will let me just vent. Just voicing those frustrations can be very liberating. If you have not tired it in a safe non-judgement environment, I highly encourage you to seek your own little group.
Lastly, there is my husband, my dear love of my life. I tend not to vent too much to him about this stupid part of my life. I know he worries. I know he is concern. I catch him pulling my continuos glucose monitor (CGM) numbers up on his phone. I hear him click Dexcom’s middle button in the middle of night. I see him glancing when I test. But on really bad days-those days where my numbers are being particular stubborn-those are the days I turn to him. Those are the days, I will simple tell him my day is done. His simple words of I understand and his reassuring words of it will be okay are all I need to hear. He is after all, my biggest cheerleader.
Mentally, this disease can turn major tricks in your mind. It is relentless, time consuming and a balancing act of trying to stay within the lines of a very narrow parameter. It never stops. Even when your parents use to take care of you, you still felt the impacts of lows and highs. It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that all of us at some point and time will simple burn out because of the many steps in the day it takes for us to be safe in range…day after day, week after week, year after year, decade after decade. Not to mention to stay within that range is almost impossible. Sharing your frustration with someone can have a huge impact on your mental health well being. Again, I highly encourage it.
But, the best advice I ever got came from individual from TuDiabetes chat room. I don’t even remember what we were discussing. His elegant words came across the screen and it hit me hard. “It is not your fault. Nothing about diabetes is….EVER.” And you know what? He is right. No matter which type you have.
Most of us feel a mental sting when we start thinking about our numbers. You know, that silly little number that pops up on a glucose test. That number we all tend to focus on. Here is a secret: It is just a number. A number that tells you what to do so you can make your best effort to stay within the narrow strip of “in range.” There are no “good” numbers. There are no “bad” numbers. It simple tells you if you need more insulin, more carbs, or status quo. As hard as it is, try your best not to judge that number. Although I admit, when that number pops up at 100, I feel like I just ace a test! All those years in school have impacted me.
It is not your fault and you can do it. Empowering words. I wish we all could hear those word in our head whenever diabetes throws you a curve ball. I wish we could all know that we are incredible bad@$&es when it comes in dealing with everything diabetes throws us, no matter what type of diabetes you have and no matter what number pops up on that little meter.