We think a lot about the physical component of diabetes, but the mental component is just as significant. How does diabetes affect you or your loved one mentally or emotionally? How have you learned to deal with the mental aspect of the condition? Any tips, positive phrases, mantras, or ideas to share on getting out of a diabetes funk? (If you are a caregiver to a person with diabetes, write about yourself or your loved one or both!)
I'm taking a break from reading yesterdays blogs to type this. Because Australia is often the first country to participate each day, I find that the best catch-up time for me is the next day, when the rest of the world has woken up to share their thoughts.
I think the best way to answer this topic is with a question of my own. How doesn't diabetes affect me mentally and emotionally? The emotional side is the part of diabetes that I struggle with the most. I don't like needles, set changes, finger-pricks, blood, insulin, hypos, hypers and all the rest that comes along with diabetes. But all those aspects are much easier dealt with when I take away the mental and emotional side of diabetes. They're all just actions really. It's when I start to think of how each action I take, each number I see, each set I change, each change to my bolus or basal insulin affects me that diabetes really begins to...affect me.
I have developed a way of coping that I am not sure is really conducive to my health, but it gets me through each high and low reading, so I'll share it anyway. I tell myself that tomorrow I get to start fresh. Its probably a little bit of denial about the bad things that happened to my diabetes, but if I forgive myself for the things that didn't go right, I can start the next day wanting to try. If that doesn't work, a good old cry in the shower or rant about nothing usually does the trick. You just have to get through now to get to the next moment when you can feel good about yourself and happy again.
In an odd twist, diabetes has in fact aided my mental health. Pre-diagnosis I struggled a lot with anxiety, to the point I would pass out. In forcing myself to forget the consequences of whatever I did to make my BGLs behave as they do, and telling myself it was ok to let go for now, I have had more control over my anxiety. I still get anxiety - and sometimes it is diabetes related - but I am much better at knowing how to control it and move myself on quickly. I haven't passed out once since diagnosis.
The mental aspects of diabetes will never go away, so long as diabetes keeps insisting on following me around. I have just learnt not to let them get me down for too long.