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.