Losing Sleep, Can't Seem To Accept My Diabetes Reality

I haven’t been able to sleep much this past month. Almost every single night, without fail, I lay in bed thinking, thinking, thinking of myself and my life without diabetes. I feel as though I am obsessed and I don’t know where to direct this excess mental/emotional energy. I cannot let go of the person I was up until 2 1/2 months ago. Her life looks so much more glamorous than mine. I can’t stop thinking that I took it for granted, and I should have done so much more. I am dredging up old memories that I had let go of, simply because I so desperately want to cling onto my former self before diabetes. I look at photos of myself as a child, with my family, or recently before diagnoses. This is a dangerous thing for me to do, because I feel like I won’t be able to be that person again. I feel like I am in mourning. I try and fill my days with various activities, including social activities, exercise, quiet meditative time, creative time, etc. But, at the end of the day when it is time for me to go to sleep, I just lie there. I can’t get comfortable and I can’t stop thinking. It is to the point where I try and turn my thoughts off, I tell myself “just don’t think about it, no, stop now”!

Just now I was looking over my food diary and came back to the day of December 16th, 2010. I was diagnosed that day. If I go a day prior, to December 15th, wow-it’s like I am there again. A young woman WITHOUT type 1 diabetes. Lord, when I even think about it, of the reality of it, I am instantaneously filled with tears and sadness. I don’t know what the experience is like for others, I can only relate to my own experience right now and it is a hard one.

I was an independent young woman, with freedom and the ability to do what I wanted when I wanted. I was living an ideal life in San Francisco and had just traveled around Europe by myself for 4 months. I had a job and money in my bank account. I was able to control my body weight through healthy eating and exercise habits. Now, I have diabetes and so many other aspects of my life have changed (whether as a result of or in coincidence with).

I can’t afford to move back to San Francisco, so I live with my mom in a suburb of Seattle. I spent the first two months of my life back in the states dealing with diabetes and didn’t have the energy to look for a job. 4 months later, I still haven’t been able to find one. I am suffering from weight gain as a result of the insulin therapy (even though I am on a low dose and eat low carb/exercise regularly). I am emotionally exhausted and extremely depressed most of the time.

I already feel like giving up, 2 1/2 months after diagnoses. So how can I possibly cope and learn to live with this for the rest of my life? I feel such extreme panic, my heart hurts and I get anxiety just thinking about the real real realness of it all. When I do finally get to sleep at night, I wake up several times throughout the night in panic, and then remember that I have diabetes.

I am struggling with taking my insulin because it causes me to gain weight, and I have a lot of issues surrounding body image and self esteem. This, coupled with my depression is causing me to be alienated from my family as well as myself. I am not my true self right now, and I want her back so badly. When I read inspirational words or watch videos posted by people who have learned to cope with, accept and live with this disease, I want that so badly for myself. But I feel so far away from accepting it.

My 13 year old sister wrote an essay for her English class about her “older sister with type 1 diabetes”. It broke my heart to read it. She talked about how when I first came back from Europe, I was so fun to be around. I bought her chocolate every day, we cuddled often and I laughed a lot. Now, she wrote, “she is depressed and cries every day”.

I don’t know what to do, I honestly don’t. I am in therapy, which helps a little, it pulls me through that day. I have my good moments here and there. But mostly, I am an emotional mess and so filled with anxiety that I can’t think straight.

You do need to accept that you have diabetes, it will never go away. Somehow it became easier for me once I accepted that truth. Get yourself something nice to wear, or have something cleaned and pressed so you look smart and together and go out to look for a job. Try to stop thinking of yourself and think of your family instead, they must be worried out of their heads about you. Good luck!

You have only recently been diagnosed so the important thing is to keep your head up…in time you will accept it and it will move into the background of your life not requiring a second thought.
Diabetes will be a part of your life…you had nothing to do with getting it and you can’t change what happened. What you CAN do is live your life to the fullest and don’t let it define who you are.

After I was diagnosed, I found things very hard. I think many of us have had these sorts of feelings. I felt like I had died and looking back, I think I sort of went through a grieving process. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross wrote about this, describing it as 5 stages, D’Nial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance. I went through all these feelings, not necessarily in order and not quickly either. I still have flashes of D’Nial and Anger, but mostly Acceptance. You need to give yourself permission to go through this process. You have a right to these feelings and you can’t just turn a switch and make it ok. You did lose somebody, you lost your old carefree self who didn’t have to worry every hour of every day about diabetes.

It is ok to mourn. But you need to also need to remind yourself that while you will never go back and be the person you were, you will have a bright future, you will grow to accept things, you will move on and you have every opportunity to have a full, healthy happy life, just different.

Sorry you feel that way. I felt the exact same way for about the first 6 months. I wrote about my experiences as well (http://diabeticallymindnumbing.blogspot.com/2011/01/im-■■■.html). I was diagnosed last May, so I know what you’re going though. I was talking with a very good endocrinologist friend of mine and he said that being diagnosed with T1DM is similar to the death of a close friend/family member and the stages of grief that one must go through before finally accepting the reality (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K%C3%BCbler-Ross_model#Stages).

After this talk, reading the stages and thinking about it, I realized that (for me) it was very true. Now I am as happy as I have ever been because I’m so much more in touch with my body, my family and myself. I still don’t stop to smell the roses, but now I at least notice they are there.

Everything gets better with time, it’s just that you have to see the good in life again. Hopefully you will have a watershed moment like I did on New Years that really put everything into perspective. I think that’s already happening because you can see what is going on with your own eyes. You see how it is affecting you and your loved ones. This is good, because this is part of the acceptance of what your reality is.

Keep up the good fight! I think you’re going to be just fine!


Yeah, I just read what bsc said. Should have just said, I agree with bsc. lol!

Hey, we all get over-whelmed over this disease, especially in the beginning. I promise you that it gets easier. I am in my 5th year with D and the first 3 I was in denial.

Maybe some medication can get you thru the anxiety for a while, you don’t’ have to take it forever, it is something to discuss with your doctor.

Diabetes does not have to ruin your life, or run your life. You can learn to control and make it a part of your life, not an enhancement, but just something you have to do. It does become second nature, even with injections. I poke myself 4 times a day with insulin at a minimum and in the beginning it was awkward, but now, it is just there, like combing my hair, same thing with testing, it is just something I need to do.

Coming to the forum and sharing your concerns is a great way to get some stress relief, keep coming, keep posting, keep reading. If you don’t feel better though there is no shame in seeing your doctor for a little help.

I was diagnosed in 2008 and I’m still in shock, but I decided to take it head on…really there is no choice. I try to look at it as a change in my lifestyle, as another adverse wall I have to scale, it will only make me stronger. I too look at photo’s right up to when I was diagnosed, sure there is sadness, but really things haven’t changed much. I still have fun, do all the things I did, drink my wine…I just take a few meds, some insulin if needed, and deal with it. If I feel I’m starting to gain a little weight, I’ll just cut some of the calorires. It’s not the insulin that makes you gain the weight, it’s what you put in your mouth. Anyway, hang in there…believe me I know this thing sucks!

Gosh, dear Frankie, I feel for you! And I think I’ll end up feeling exactly as you do if it ever turns out that I have LADA (I’m still sticking to the orginal type 2 diagnosis) Pastelpainter, I have never found it helped when anyone told me I have to accept something. Everyone has their own speed of grieving on loss. If I don’t want to accept something, I’m not gonna, no matter what logic is given to me. I’m just stubborn, I suppose.

Okay Frankie, now that you’ve had your time to mourn the loss of innocence, let’s put our big girl pants on and deal with the facts that you are a diabetic whose life, health and welfare depend on you being that big girl. A little tough isn’t it? Yep sure is. But you know…you could have had anything else and not had the advice, concern, and medical care to deal with it.

First, I would highly recommend getting some counseling to deal with this… You are NOT dying. AND if you take care of yourself, you will live a very long and productive life. Why can’t you be that person you were 2 1/2 months ago? And don’t you dare blame it on diabetes. Because, you can be. You can go to Europe again and be on your own…you just have to make a few adjustments. Diabetes is not a death sentence, a challenge yes. But if you went to Europe on your own, this is just as much a challenge as that.

Second, get yourself to a nutritionist. If you have your mom go along with you, two people can hear what she/he has to say and then your eating the diabetes way won’t be so hard. Can you go out with friends, why not? Can you dance, exercise, have a job, of course. As long as you take care of yourself and I believe you are strong enough to do that.

Third, check in with your doc as often as you can or need to, set up your own plan, who are my key people on my “D” team? What do I need to do to stay healthy? What kinds of things do I want to do with my life? Will I have to change any of them or adapt any of them…

Frankie, you are in shock, welcome to the place where we all start and then move from there. You are healthy and that is a good way to start…now go from there. Come here, listen, talk and tell us what’s going on.

You can kick diabetes in the ■■■, or you can let it kick you…but it’s your game, and you decide who wins and who just watches the game of life from the bleachers.

Frankie, I went through the same thing when I was first diagnosed in 1987. I was a high school wrestler at 135lbs and lost 17 pounds in 2 weeks. Went to the doctor based on my coach’s analysis and I got the great news. In any case I rejected it for a while which I regret today. I had many, many episodes of ketoacidosis in the first two years. I was in the ER getting saline iv’s more than I can remember. When I finally accepted it, my life turned for the best. Don’t let it get to you. Be strong and PATIENT…It will take time for you adjust and understand what I always said for years’ WHY ME? GOOD LUCK and God Bless You…

It is normal to go through all these emotions at the beginning. I was quite relieved actually have a diagnosis though it was a wrong one. They put me down as Type 2 because of my age, but really I was Type 1 and only found out after a really bad episode during a chest infection - when the doctors asked me why I had not been taking my insulin! The relief was because it explained a lot of ailments that I seemed to be having that never seemed to be resolved! At least now I had something concrete to work with and these illnesses were not all in the mind!

What you need to do is to sit yourself down, either with your doctor or whoever is caring for your diabetes and tell them exactly how you are feeling and if they suggest a course of antidepressents, take them. I have just started a course and they are beginning to make a difference.

Then take every day one at a time. Your sugars will go up and down until you find out what works for you - we are all different though you will find lots of helpful tips on here.

Try to do something enjoyable each day, meet with friends, join a hobby club or whatever takes your fancy and aim for that.

I have just returned from a trip to San Francisco - completely on my own. It takes a bit of forethought in that you get yourself organised with supplies, a small box of candy (I use those little boxes you can buy cheaply) - they weigh less than a sugary drink, a bottle of water and some kind of slow release carbohydrate, a sandwich or something.

There is absolutely nothing you cannot do when you have diabetes. I have a feeling that what is stopping you is the depression and anxiety. You could travel to Nepal with a bit of forethought! You will feel better eventually. Keep up the good work.

I remember my own diagnosis, a long time ago, and how I cried, and obsessed over it, with a lot of self-blame, low self-esteem, anger, frustration and bitterness. Basically, I think you are suffering a terrible grief reaction, and I think that’s normal for the place you are in. It’s really a terrible shock to be diagnosed with a life-long, serious chronic disease with so many terrible risks for complications! I’d be surprised if you weren’t having such reactions.
And I think it’s OK to cry, but I’m glad you are seeing a therapist – you really need to talk it out, but it’s going to take time. Strong feelings like that don’t evaporate overnight. Some people find medications helpful for sleeping problems, but you need to talk to your doc about whether that’s suitable for you, and make your own decision about it.
Meanwhile, just keep on talking, and listening, and doing your best to live your life. It DOES get better, but you have to have patience. One day at a time.

There’s no “right” or “wrong” speed to go through the stages of grieving, When my brother passed away from cancer, my mother didn’t speak to any of us for eighteen months. It took almost four years before we could talk about good memories of him and laugh about funny things he said or did. That’s just…what it took for us.

Being diagnosed with diabetes probably won’t take as long to accept as an actual death, but it is a kind of mourning, as you already know.

Treat yourself with the patience, kindness, support and caring that you would treat a friend or family member going through a similar mourning process. It’s OK to cry and it’s OK to reassure your sister and family that you’re just going through something that will take some time, but you’re going to be OK.

Frankie, I’ve had diabetes for a while now… I just realized it’s going on 13 years! and I was 15 when I was diagnosed. One of the things that really helped me as I moved through college and my young adult years was finding other people my age with diabetes. Your old friends will probably be your strongest support but having a friend who understands when you want to throw your meter at the wall (I suggest purchasing a good case before doing so but they are fairly sturdy) or who understands that sometimes at an inopportune time you need to grab something to eat or take a second for a test is priceless. Right now most of my diabetes friends are on facebook and it can really help to just put up a crummy (or triumphant) blood test and have people who care and know respond. To meet others with diabetes you might want to check with the Diabetes Education and Camping Association (DECA) at diabetescamps.org. Often they’re looking for young adult volunteers for their camps and they have also started hosting annual young adult diabetes retreats. Acceptance is a hard thing (I’m still working at it) but it’s good to have both online and in person friends to help you!

Frankie, I feel for you. I remember what it was like when I was first diagnosed. And I was much older than you are when I got that diagnosis. I cannot imagine how I would have handled it if I acquired it when I was your age. It is a huge thing deal. But you are doing everything right. You are in therapy, you are here talking to people about it. I think a support group would be helpful too. i can promise you there are better days ahead. You’re going to find a stride with this that makes it second nature and, therefore, less dominating in your life. Of course there are going to be ups and downs. Right now you’re in that acceptance/denial phase. I assure you a day will come that you will look back on where you are today and say – wow, I am so far beyond that now. This is not something that should stop your plans. It’s just something to take into consideration as you plan. I think the very fact that you are taking the diagnosis so hard is an indication of the seriousness you will take the control of the disease. My guess is you are ultimately going to be a role model for others with the disease.

Hey Frankie…while you think and feel your a mess right now your doing what almost all of us did. I think your actually ahead of the curve. It took me a full year to overcome all those issues and feelings that you mention. My date is January 23, 2008 an like you I would lay awake at night worrying I would never see my kids grow up or be there to see them graduate school, get married or all the life event we are suppose to look forward to. I put myself in my own prison for quite some time and it is only natural to do this but if you are posting this on TuD you’ve started the process on getting out of that place your in.

It’s been just over 3 years for me since I found out and almost a year since I went on a pump but I don’t think about it like I did at the beginning in fact with what I’ve learned and the technology that is out there I now feel that it is something that I have control of and it helps me with my mind set and attitude. I spent a lot of time here at the beginning and my wife even questioned why I would spend hours at a time on this site and I explained that it was because the people here know what I’m feeling and it was my way of getting those thoughts out of my head and getting help to understand that it will be ok…I wish you the very best and truly do feel you are heading in the right direction…it will get better!! ~Schmutz

Everyone has such lovely, supportive and helpful things to say. Thank you. One day, one step at a time!

It is a bit like a ballroom dance - some steps forward, some steps backwards and some to the side, or diagonally. You will get better at it and wonder what all the fuss was about. There will be good days and bad days and some in between days but just take one day at a time! Diabetes is a fickle thing. There is no set pattern!

Frankie, I understand exactly how you feel. While I don’t have type 1 myself, my 2 1/2 year old son was diagnosed two months ago. He is too young to take care of himself, so the responsibilty falls on mine and my husbands shoulders. It is overwhelming, depressing, and difficult to say the least. I felt too like my life revolved around his diagnosis for awhile. I have found that educating myself about diabetes and reading anything I can to help me manage my son’s diabetes is extremely helpful. Knowledge is power! It makes things a little less scary. Obviously having diabetes is not a walk in the park, but there is nothing you can do to change the fact that you now have it. It sucks! Now you have to pick yourself up and get on with life. It is not worth being depressed over. You don’t want to miss out on all of the wonderful things your life still has to offer because you are missing the woman you used to be. It is great to talk to everyone on this site, because everyone is so helpful and knows how you feel. We are all here to help support you! And even if it doesn’t seem like it now, It WILL get better!!!