*I just want to warn everyone that this post talks about a sensitive issue and my own battles with mental illness.*
Diabetes is a full time job. You think about it 24/7. Did I bolus for that meal? Did I bolus enough? How many carbs are is this meal? Will I go low over night and not wake up? The list goes on and on. We balance it on top of school and work and relationships. And then to add more to the pile, there’s the financial stress that surrounds this disease. Diabetes is overwhelming and it’s even more overwhelming when you feel like you’re alone.
After hearing about Kate Spade, I reflected on my own dark time battling this disease and the mental health issues it brings to light. It was a year post diagnosis. My A1C was high despite being put on a pump. I had just had a relationship end and I was living in a new city. Financially diabetes was taking a toll on me, and it seemed like I couldn’t get control over my blood sugar numbers. At one point, I got in such a dark place that there were a few times when I got low, and I thought about not treating it. (For those of you who don’t know, not treating a hypoglycemic episode can lead to a loss of consciousness, seizures, and death.)
I would remember feeling low, and checking my sugar. The number would always pop about the same: 44, 56, 39. I remember sitting on my couch and thinking: I could just not eat a piece of candy, or I could just not get up and drink juice. I remember thinking that if I didn’t treat my low, I wouldn’t have to deal with all the stress of diabetes anymore. While I never chose to not treat my lows, the thoughts were there, and eventually I talked to someone. I didn’t talk to my mom or my best friend. I didn’t choose to lean on one of my sister’s shoulders or my group of close friends. Instead, it was a friend who I don’t see or talk to on a day to day basis anymore. His name popped on my phone one day and he asked if I was okay. Almost like a sixth sense that he knew that I wasn’t. I broke down and told him. For me, once I told someone it was like a weight was lifted off my shoulders. Admitting to someone else that I wasn’t okay made me realize that is okay to not be okay. That doesn’t mean I was magically out of my dark place though. It took time, and some days, it still feels like there’s that dark shadow trying to creep up behind me. I can’t explain how I got out of my dark hole. It’s different for everyone and there’s no one quick fix. One day I woke up and that dark shadow wasn’t quite as big.
Life is a lot. Life is a lot for anyone sometimes, working pancreas or not. It’s okay to not be okay. It doesn’t matter if you think it’s just a small issue or if it’s making it seem impossible to get through the day, you are not alone. Someone has gone through what you’re going through and is there to listen. 💜
- People with Type 1 Diabetes are more likely to have mental health problems such as depression and anxiety.
- 1 in 5 adults–43.8 million people–experiences mental health illness in a given year.
- 1 in 25 adults experiences a severe mental illness in a given year that substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities.
Mental illness is more prominent than you think. It can affect anyone. It does not discriminate. Be kind to the people around you. Just because you don’t see it, doesn’t mean it’s not there. National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255
These statistics were taken from the National Alliance on Mental Health https://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Mental-Health-By-the-Numbers