This was originally posted to my blog, Diabetes Odyssey.
My, oh, my, has this year been a frustrating one. But, hey, there was a lot of good to happen here at the end!
I tried really hard to start the year out happy. I was determined to get my health under control. I forced myself to think positive. But I wasn’t happy, I had zero control over my health; my body was doing its own thing and it wasn’t good in the slightest. I tried to be positive, but I was actually feeling hopeless.
Most of the problem was the fact that I was gaining weight and couldn’t figure out why no matter how hard I tried to lose I just kept gaining. I was utterly frustrated and depressed over this. I felt so lost.
It overwhelmed me so much that I just burnt out and shut down for a few months.
The first half of this year my anxiety and depression were very strong. I was on medication (Cymbalta) but when I realized it was no longer working and instead was making me not feel anything at all… well, I was feeling, but those emotions felt fake and detached. It was weird and unsettling so I stopped the medication. Once I was off the medication and other things in my life started improving the depression and anxiety shrunk to a level I can live with and function with.
Of course, the type 1 diabetes is always there, it’s never not there. No matter what happens in life, diabetes is there. There’s always that struggle. There’s always that need for constant vigilance, constant awareness, constant work. There’s never a break from diabetes and if you take a break anyway, it’ll bite you in the ■■■ big time.
Due to my thyroid problem - and the struggle to figure out why the medication made my labs look perfect but the symptoms still raged on - my blood sugars were massively high and no matter how much insulin I pumped into myself they just wouldn’t come down. This just added to the weight problem, the depression, and the anxiety.
And then there’s the agoraphobia. I don’t ever really go into much detail about it and I won’t here, either. I guess I’ll write a stand alone post all about my life with agoraphobia. I’ll say here that it is related to my other health issues, and very much to my anxiety. This year I had my ups and downs with it, but I think I did pretty well not letting it control me… for the most part.
I write this blog for two main reasons. 1. To reach out to other diabetics and people with chronic illness; we are not alone! And to reach out and inform others about type 1 diabetes and related complications. 2. As my own therapy, a way to ‘get it all out’.
I want to help others. I’ve always wanted to help others in any way I can. As a child I wanted to be a nurse or a doctor when I grew up. As I got older I learned that I love psychology and I am drawn to and fascinated by behavioral psychology. I then dreamed of becoming a therapist, especially for people struggling with the psychological and emotional effects of type 1 diabetes. I never made it through college, but the desire to help remains.
This year my desire to help has blossomed into other things as well. I find myself not only involved with the diabetes online community but involving myself with other charities and awareness campaigns as well.
It feels good to help however I can.
Getting back to my health issues, obviously my main struggle this year has been with my hypothyroidism. Once we figured out that I am hypothyroid and that that wasn’t going to ever go away, I started taking Levothyroxine (thyroid replacement hormone). The Levo worked great at making my labs look good, but it did ■■■■ to stop my symptoms. I continued to have all the symptoms of hypothyroidism but the two main symptoms were the weight-gain with inability to lose and the massive insulin resistance.
As time went by and the symptoms raged on and had a very bad effect on my life and sanity, I began to do my own research. I found that a good number of hypothyroid patients that take synthetic thyroid medication have the same problem I do, good labs but no relief of symptoms. I found that many of these patients when switched to a natural desiccated thyroid found both good labs and relief of symptoms. I went to my endocrinologist with this information and requested to make the switch. We did, and all of a sudden all my hypothyroid symptoms are either gone or greatly reduced!
Now that I am actually able to lose weight again this has rejuvenated my desire to do my part to be healthy. There is no motivation better than seeing positive results! I am back to eating right for my body’s needs. I am also working out a lot. This year has also been the year that I discovered how very much I love to dance. I am terrible at it, but I love doing it, so I chose dancing as my exercise of choice. I simply put on some upbeat music, grab a couple two pound weights, and dance my heart out until I just can’t go any more. As I build strength, energy, and stamina I am able to push myself a little longer, a little longer, a little longer.
It’s great. I feel great!
Some of you may remember my mentioning in a previous post that I was diagnosed with yet another incurable disease but I refused to talk about it. I still refuse to talk about it but I will say, although it will never go away, I do have it under pretty good control and am getting better every day.
I talked a good deal about suicide this year. It was just that tough of a year health wise. I have never been so close and long-term in contemplating suicide as I was this year. I can’t say that I’d never actually attempt suicide, but certainly can understand how it feels, what it is like, to be so hopeless, frustrated, so desperate as to think there is no other option for relief.
Please keep in mind that it wasn’t just the weight-gain and insulin resistance that lead me to thoughts of suicide. It was those and the type 1 diabetes, and the chronic nerve pain, and regular ol’ life struggles, and depression, and anxiety, and all my other illnesses and the impact they have on my daily life and the life of my close family…
But instead of suicide, I chose to search for answers. I turned to science and I found another, better, option. It took guts to try something that might not work. I was overwhelmed with thoughts of how devastating it would be if this other thyroid medication didn’t work. But I tried it anyway. Thank science it worked!
Just getting one illness under control took so much frustration and burden off of me that I can now handle the weight of my world again.
The year started out hopeless and is ending with more hope than I’ve had in years.