It’s day three of Diabetes Blog Week. Today’s prompt:
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?
Most days, I am positive. I face the world with energy and don’t let diabetes hold me back. I don’t let diabetes dictate how I feel or what I can and can’t do. But on the days that it does, I feel down.
A few weeks ago, I took a hike on one of my favorite trails. It was a windy day, but it felt good to be moving outside. Toward the very end of my workout, as I was almost to my car, I suddenly felt low. With shaky hands, I tested my blood sugar: 45. Shit. I shoved glucose tabs into my mouth as I crumpled into the car. I tried to text my fiancé, but the mountain in front of me refused to let the message go through. I waited to test again, praying my blood sugar was going up and kicking myself for not testing during my hike. I should have known better, I told myself. After 15 minutes, I was safe to drive and headed home. Despite my “normal” blood sugars the rest of the day, I felt awful. My head hurt. My body ached. I felt defeated.
On other days, persistent high blood sugar gets me down. Doing everything right – exercising, eating well, counting my carbs and dosing the correct amount of insulin – doesn’t work. I’ll feel sluggish and irritable, but have to power through my work day with a smile on my face. Or I’ll be at a social gathering where I have to forego the pizza/cake/beer/anything with carbs for fear of my blood sugar climbing even higher. These days aren’t fun.
In the moments when I’m recovering from a nasty low or riding out a stubborn high, my emotions can range from terrified to angry to depressed. Along with thinking through the incident at hand, my mind wanders to the future. What if I don’t catch the next low in time? What if all of these highs lead to complications?
I wish I had a great coping technique, but other than taking one day at a time (more tomorrow), I don’t. I tend to deal with my emotions quietly on my own, not letting on to the people around me. Which, of course, can lead to feeling even more alone.
***Check out other Diabetes Blog Week day three entries here.