This was originally posted to my blog, Diabetes Odyssey.
Lately I have encountered a lot of diabetics who are struggling with the emotional trauma diabetes can bring. It’s normal, most, if not all, diabetics go through it. I’ve rarely met a diabetic who wasn’t emotionally traumatized by their diabetes in some way, and those that say they’ve never struggled emotionally I tend to suspect are just burying some level of hurt.
Most of the time a diagnosis of diabetes comes as a sudden surprise. You go to the doctor because you don’t feel well (or are having a DKA emergency) and the next thing you know the doctor is giving you a diagnosis of a life-altering, incurable disease.
Who wouldn’t struggle emotionally with that?
It doesn’t matter your age, it doesn’t matter if it’s type 1 or type 2, what matters is that it’s happening to you, it’s sudden, and you can’t run from it or just take some pills and be over it in a week or two.
Then comes the learning. And the life changes. Learning to prick your finger several times a day, learning to poke your body with needles (if you’re on insulin), learning to eat right, learning to balance everything so your blood sugar doesn’t go too high or too low, dealing with doctor visits, lab work. Dealing with all the money and insurance involved.
Who wouldn’t be overwhelmed?
Learning about all your risks is most definitely frightening. Being bombarded with warnings and precautions over possible complications of heart disease, neuropathy, retinopathy, amputation, blindness, kidney failure…and so many other things.
“Take care of your BG or you’ll die of kidney failure.”
“Be good or you’ll go blind.”
“Eat healthy or you’ll lose a leg.”
Who wouldn’t be depressed, angry, scared?
The feelings of failure become a huge weight. Always being told to keep your blood sugar in line as if it’s actually easy to do. Every time you go too high or too low you feel like the worst failure on earth.
And it happens a lot, because it’s not easy. It’s practically impossible to have a normal blood sugar at all times when you are diabetic. No one can be perfect! If we were then we wouldn’t be diabetic!
But no one seems to understand that. So we just go on feeling like failures.
The feelings of loneliness are the worst. No one understands diabetes unless they are diabetic. No one understands how it feels, no one understands the constant work involved, and no one understands that it affects mind, body, and soul.
You just feel so alone in your suffering. But you aren’t, believe me, you aren’t. There are many, many of us diabetics out here that feel the same way you do. We go through the same struggles you do. And we’re here to go through it with you. We’re here to listen, and we do understand.
I feel you.