Diabetes is a condition that affects more than just our bodies, it influences our emotions as well.
It can sometimes feel harder to cope with the emotional aspects of diabetes then the physical demands.
With that in mind, we revisit the “Diabetes and Mental Health” chat from July 24th and ask: What can a parent of a child with diabetes, or a person with diabetes, do to help reduce the emotional impact of caring for diabetes?
This question hits very close to home, and not just because I happen to be a person with diabetes, but also because this is a topic that has been on my mind for quite some time now. I do find that dealing with, living with, or managing diabetes, however you’d like to view it, is a difficult job. One that I probably would not have signed up for had I been given the choice. So, I am doing the best with everything I have. Like previously stated it’s not just the physical demands that can wear you out, it’s those emotional battles as well. Even though you see a smile on my face, and I am proclaiming from the rooftops that my blood glucose levels are phenomenal, that does not mean that I am stress free, that I am so far above the emotional roller coasters.
On the contrary.
To stay on top of everything, to continue to be healthy, I almost need to be an emotional wreck. If I want to ensure that things are going as smoothly as possible I need to be prepared for just about anything. The upside is that I know when I need help. I understand that though this disease may feel like I am walking a lonely walk, I’m actually not. It’s helpful to have the DOC on my side but it is even more beneficial to have supportive family and friends. My husband doesn’t have diabetes but he lives like he does right along with me. No, he doesn’t inject insulin, or test his blood sugar, but he is up in the middle of the night with me when those lows get unbearable. He is chasing those high numbers back down right next to me. Bringing me water and insulin. His support and understanding is what makes the emotional wear and tear of this disease a little less of a burden on my shoulders.
I vent to him and I lean on him and that makes the emotional impact of this disease a little more bearable.
I think in order to help someone with diabetes get through any sort of emotional roller coaster that person needs to first realize that not every day will be the same, no matter how “routine” you try to make it. They need to be understanding, compassionate, and able to be a listening ear and shoulder to lean on. They also need to know that, though they really wish they could, they can not just will this disease away from their loved ones body.
So, be patient. Be alert. Be there. That’s all.
From a personal view in order to help myself get through the stress of maintaining this disease I have to try, difficult as it may be, to not beat myself up. I have to realize that today is right now, yes, but tomorrow is a new day. I need to know that it’s alright to want to punch diabetes in the face so long as I keep up the good fight and never let it defeat me. I write when I get frustrated and don’t feel like “bothering” others with my gripes. I allow myself the time to take a step back a breathe. I tell myself, Own it or be owned.
I am very thankful for the people in my life who ask questions, who show concern, who allow me to vent about diabetes even if they don’t always know what it all means. Just knowing that I can turn to someone helps me get through the highs and the lows.
“This post is my August entry in the DSMA Blog Carnival. If you’d like to participate too, you can get all of the information at http://diabetescaf.org/2013/08/august-dsma-blog-carnival-3/“