Today is Day 3 of Diabetes Blog Week and the topic = 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? (Thanks go out to Scott of Strangely Diabetic for coordinating this topic.)
To me, this is probably both the easiest and the hardest topic to write about. The easiest because there is just so much that goes into managing diabetes psychologically so the material is endless. The hardest because sometimes it just seems simpler to not confront the negative emotions that come with dealing with it day in and day out.
I think what brings me down the most was seeing first hand all the complications from T1D my father endured for years, ultimately losing his life from it all. There is not much more heartbreaking than losing a parent, especially losing them to the same disease you yourself live with. However instead of dwelling on those dreadful, heartrending, painful details I focus on the life that I am living. I have had T1D for over 32 years already. And while I have started with minor complications, they are minor. I am extremely fortunate to have access to tools and resources that help keep me on top of my diabetes as best I can. Early detection is critical which is why I have routine exams with multiple doctors. While I’m fearful of complications that may occur, I do not want to encourage the progression of those complications by discounting them. My father was diagnosed during a very different era of diabetes management and I need to remind myself of that. He also went undiagnosed for a long period of time based on symptoms. I on the other hand, was diagnosed very early, thanks to the knowledge he and my mother possessed.
I try my hardest to focus on the positive. I take one BG at a time. I take one doctor visit at a time. I strive to accept the things I cannot change and since I cannot change having T1D, I need to accept it. If I let it, the fear and weight of his suffering and his loss would consume me. So I choose to not let it.