Recently, I've been thinking

A dangerous pastime. I know. Always thought Beauty and the Beast was one of the better Disney films…

Anyway, a lot of the recent blogs and discussions that I’ve been reading around the D blog-sphere have gotten me thinking a bit more about my situation and, in particular, the way I feel about diabetes.

I’ve had people ask me about how I feel about having diabetes before and I usually just give kind of an odd look. I’ve had it so long, that while I get frustrated with it some times, I also get frustrated that I let myself get sunburned a few weeks ago. Like the color of my eyes, it just is.

Then I started thinking about what I remembered as a child finding out I had diabetes. About the only strong memory I have from being diagnosed at age 7, was that I had a disease. I would have this disease the rest of my life and that it would probably kill me by the time I was 25. It was “the sugar diabetes” and it was all bad.

I doubt that was a conscious decision, but I think I stopped dreaming about my future goals somewhere in all that.

I used to say I was going to be a fireman or an astronaut when I was a kid, as so many do. But after I got D, I have no memories of ever having that type of dream again. Even as I became an adult, I never really reached for anything for myself. I seemed to be living in the present only. Having children changed that some because, as any parent, I want my children to have a better life than I’ve had. I’ve always worked hard to give them a good life and have been rewarded for that work, but I never really had a goal of being in management, it just happened. But besides that, I really have no interest or even desire to really dream for something past the day-to-day we all go thru. Maybe, I have a subconscious dream to see grandchildren or just to outlive those folks who told me that all those years ago.

Today, 20 years after I was supposed to be dead, I find a reason to get out of bed every day (mostly because I don’t want to be jobless, living under a bridge in a box). But everyday, I fight a battle. At best, that battle will end in a draw. But, realistically, I’ll probably lose. Yet, it goes on, I’ll be fighting for another 20 years, I simply do it. But I think I’ve lost the ability to have those dreams. I’m sure my depression has alot to do with this as well, and in fact, my depression may largely stem from being told those things. I don’t know.

I’m not even sure why I’m writing this or if I’ll even publish it. I guess it’s therapeutic, maybe I’m just too pragmatic. Life seems to be a long series of compromises. Maybe my compromise for diabetes was that I’d stop worrying about my dreams so I can worry about today.

Don’t make that compromise.

Been there, done that, a thousand times over.
I grew up in an extended family of over 30 types 1’s - I think we’d all be second cousins to each other or something like that. My g’ma had 8 siblings and it was the grandchildren of these people who got the D - nobody outside of that generation.
By the time I was diagnosed in my late teens, I had personally witnessed several people dying long, slow deaths from horrible complications. (Bear in mind this was 1974).
I took it for granted that I would not live to see my 20th D anniversary, so pulled out all the stops and did nothing to take care of myself - what difference would it make?
I never pursued a career of my liking - just took the first job that would hire me - back then there was a lot of discrimination. Never saved for the future, etc.
Well, it’s a freaky feeling to look back on 35 years of db being lived as if each day were your last. I was just simply planning to die, I guess. …sigh.
So now I’ve even lived long enough to feel the effects of aging that normal people my age do. That’s even weirder.
I was at Target the other day and they already have 2010 calendars. My first automatic thought was, “where will you be a year from now, health-wise? don’t forget that a lot can happen diabetes-wise in a whole year - better not buy that calendar yet”. Every major holiday I still have a few minutes of thinking it might be my last - last birthday, last Christmas, etc.
I suppose we could look at this as db teaching one to live fully in the present moment. And, I do get a lot of satisfaction from the simple pleasures. But shoot, it was hell wasting the entire decades of my 20s, 30s and 40s being preoccupied with death and disability. Want to come to my pity party, or shall it just be for one?

I want to thank you, Scott, (and Jim and Kathy) for sharing this perspective. Depression and the struggle with our mortality are other closeted features of diabetes that we don’t talk about enough.

You hear so much about depression and diabetes, but I wonder if the incidence of depression in diabetics is higher than the incidence among other people with chronic diseases.

My theory is yes. If db can affect the nerves, then why not the neurotransmitters - the chemicals that conduct the impulses between the nerve cells?
Plus the stress of the demands of daily self-care doesn’t help set things right either.

Kathy, you won’t have to party alone at the pity party! I’ll bring the hats and streamers.

I suspect that conditions that result in constant physical pain, such as rheumatoid arthritis, are likely to have more incidence of depression. I bet there aren’t all that many studies of type 1 and depression!

But because diabetes is one of the few chronic condition that comes with so much behavior modification and daily positive and negative feedback (those handy little blood glucose meters), I wonder how that plays into depression in addition to any chemical problems that may affect neurotransmitters?

one of the newest T2 drugs works on dopamine in the brain to help reset the “body clock”. Dopamine figures heavily in depression and I though that was a very brilliant approach

Yup. The three basic brain chemicals that antidepressants work on are dopamine, seratonin and norepinephrine. Lack of dopamine also causes Parkinson’s and something else that’s hard to live with --> restless leg syndrome.
Shoot, stop to think about all of the stuff that’s going on in one’s body and how just a tiny tip in the balance can throw everything off. Makes my head spin.
Scott, do you currently take an antidepressant? I have for about 6 years. It takes the edge off and I don’t have what I used to call “crazy woman melt-downs” anymore.

yes, anti-depressants for a long time…

constantly a work in progress… was on cymbalta for several years, but recently came off it. that was a rough one, coming off it. now on welbutrin, but still feel depressed alot

I tI haveook cymbalta for a few years also and then it lost it’s effectiveness. I now take celexa.

Scott - which drug are you talking about? I’d be interested in knowing. Also, I’m thankful you wrote this post. It makes a lot of us feel “normal.” So - yay for courage! And it has to be therapeutic for you!

The big bummer about depression drugs (unlike insulin) is that they don’t work right away, so even if you get on one, it takes at least 6 weeks to see if it works, then you gotta taper off and try another one.

I have supported a close family member through chronic depression. So far, talk therapy (an underused “med” in my opinion), effexor, an anti-anxiety I can’t remember the name of, exercise, and a major change in career has worked really, really well for my loved one. But we’re talking many years of figuring out what works. I am grateful my loved one has reached a good place, but keep my “constant vigilence” hat on.

Dear Scott, I would never have guessed that you were ever depressed by looking at your pic. I’ve had blouts of depression several times and like most people you decide to get out of bed because of responsibilities. So now when I’m starting to feel bad I tell myself ‘GET OUT OF BED AND LIVE LIFE TODAY TO MAKE THAT GOAL HAPPEN TOMORROW!’

It usually works all the time. We all find ways to be therapeutic to ourselves, but don’t give up tomorrow. What I do today is for tomorrow’s treasures. I hope you find what I’m talking about. You are a great guy, and always there for us. Let us be there for you too.

Your friend always, Patti

i hear ya brother,from the time i was little my goal was to join the army & stay in for atleast 20.after i got diagnosed,no matter what branch of military i tried to go for i got the same old bs.for someone looking to go army airborne ranger,getting turned down by the coast guard is a hit below the next was trucking.i soon found out that type 1 people just arent good enough for that either.i went from panning what i’ll be doing at 65 to living moment to moment at 28.the past 12-13 years have been a drag to say the least.keep writing though man,it really is it all & turn it into a book.doesnt matter if 5 or 5000 people read it,as long as 1 understands its worth it.

There is so much here to respond to but my first thought was that striving to deal with not being able to take for granted that you even have a future, when other young people are feeling immortal, and then fighting to keep yourself healthy and alive are pretty hard and worthy goals in themselves. Being a good person, father, provider…putting smiles on the faces of others, not too shabby.

First of all Scott thanks very much for honestly sharing your thoughts and feelings. There are probably many others in the same boat, and this is one of the many great avenues available through tudiabetes. Before I came to tu, I started ablog on Oprah’s web site and she has one of the coolest sayings at the top of the page that I will share with you now and it is as follows.

“Live your best life” If you are familiar with her past, she had a lot of reasons to do many other things that would not have lead her to where she is today. There is an ebb and flow to all things in life and we must all, always be mindful of this. Thanks again and I wish you continued success. Hang in and hang on!!!

Love Always
The Anonymous Diabetic.

Thanks for all the kind words everyone, I appreciate them! It’s good to know other people have experienced similar things and are willing to share.

“Live your best life” I like that one. One of my favorite sayings is a much more cynical version “Sometimes you just have to make the least worst choice”. LOL, sentiment seems the same tho

I’ve been in talk therapy, but always seemed to be resistant to it. Heck, I can’t even read a self-help book, they always just seem to annoy me. Old and set in my ways, I suppose. One of the biggest issues for me is really negative thinking. I try to be aware when I’m thinking negatively and then try to be more realistic about what the situation really is. And it is ok to give yourself an “attaboy” once in a while.

Wow - I can sympathize with this one!

Diagnosed at 15 - I never connected my diagnosis with my lack of goals and aspirations. I also grew up in a church that referred to us as the “Countdown Kids” - assuming the rapture would occur well before I’d be grown, married, a parent, an employee, etc…

Now I wonder which one had more effect… As it is, since the birth of my child, I’ve suddenly realized - I’m in remarkably good condition for my condition! :wink: and I resent the heck out of the constant litany from the doctors of - “you can expect to die early, after amputations, kidney disease and generally being a burden on all those you love.” Just shut up and tell me what I can do to make it better! Otherwise - I’ll stick to talking to those who’ve been there.

Thanks for “being there”… and talking about it.

I think everyday finished with this disease is a win. We are all going to lose in the end whether we have diabetes or not. But to me it’s not a loss. I’ve been able to enjoy so much in this life and I’m thankful for every day. Live those dreams and shoot for those goals! Be alive! Don’t let this or anything else get you down. Life is too short!

(sorry so sappy)

Thank you, Scott! I think you should write more! I bet you have some great dreams still.