Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Diabetes Blog Week - What Brings You Down

May is Mental Health Month so now seems like a great time to explore the emotional side of living with, or caring for someone with, diabetes. What things can make dealing with diabetes an emotional issue for you and / or your loved one, and how do you cope? (Thanks go out to Scott of Strangely Diabetic for coordinating this topic.)
This post is actually inspired by one that Rick wrote on Monday at TuDiabetes.

It doesn’t matter if I’m happy, sad or angry; emotions always come out of me in the form of tears. As I was reading Rick’s post yesterday (I’m super behind on reading all the DBlog Week posts) I couldn’t help but break down. I don’t think I ever realised before how angry I am that I have diabetes.

I’ve heard a lot lately on how depression and diabetes go hand and hand together. It’s never been an issue that has affected me. I’ve had a lot of people in my life that have struggled with depression and dealt with it either through therapy or medication or both. I’m so glad that those options are available for people that need them. It’s just never been an issue I’ve had to deal with. Most of the time I’m a regular, happy person. I’m just angry.

Before I do anything, my first thought is how it will affect my BG’s especially with all of the big moments. When my husband and I got married, I had to figure out how I was going to give myself a shot of insulin (I was still on MDI) through my wedding dress. I hadn’t experimented on giving myself injections other than my stomach, mostly because I didn’t realise it was possible. I’m angry that my diabetic team at the time didn’t tell me about it. If they didn’t know, why not? They’re supposed to be the experts. Why didn’t they take the time to educate themselves?

When we started thinking about having a baby, not only did I have to educate myself on what having a baby meant but I also had to research what would happen to my diabetes and because I have diabetes, what would happen to the baby. When I got pregnant, my every thought went into “how will this affect the baby?” I’m angry that I couldn’t just be excited that I was pregnant. Instead I spent the whole 9 months wondering and worrying if everything I did was hurting the baby.

I’ve blogged before about my son’s heart issues when he was born. I’m angry that my first thought when I learned that he had ASD and VSD was that it was my fault. Even though the Doctor said that this was not genetic, that it occurs by chance and with no clear reason why it occurs, I was angry that my diabetes could have been the cause. I thank the powers that be everyday that he is a healthy average boy with a tremendous amount of energy and is able to run everywhere he goes. But I’m angry that it’s still a possibility that I caused it in the first place.

I am so angry that as soon as my 2 year old son drinks a higher than normal amount of water, I have to check his BG immediately. My first thought is always going to be “is it diabetes?” It’s gotten so bad that as soon as he sees me advancing on him with my lancet in hand, he runs away from me. He already knows to associate it with pain.

I’m not depressed or sad that I have diabetes. I’m angry.

The second part of this question topic is “How do you cope?” Quite frankly the only thing I can do is try to move on. All stewing about it does it hurt me.


  1. Wow - thanks for writing about how complicated (and angry!) our feelings can be when it comes to our diabetes and our kids' health. I'm angry too (though also feel all of the other things at times) - and I'm angry that my daughter also has T1. Moving forward is good -- you have to live your best life and not let diabetes get in the way of that. But, blogging is good too -- saying/writing out loud that you feel angry is good for you - I'm glad you did.

  2. I know the feeling about wanting to test your child's blood sugar at any hint of a symptom that could mean one of a thousand things. Though I didn't carry my kids before they were born, I did contribute to their DNA, and I have that exact same fear, quite often.

  3. Great post. I understand that seems to be the emotion I experience the most with diabetes as well.

  4. Beautifully written, you, along with every other T1 is so brave continuously. Thank you for so openly sharing how this disease effects your day to day life, especially with pregnancy. I can't imagine how difficult that all was for you, and am so happy that you have found the outlet of blogging about it. Keep up the wonderful writing!

  5. Erin, I loved your post and I connected with it at so many levels. Primarily, I also don't struggle with depression (except when I'm low...) but there is still frustration and, if I'm honest, underlying anger. Like you, I don't live there, I'm way to practical (it sounds like you are too) to invest all that energy into being angry at something that won't change. However, there are those days when it overwhelms and I have to acknowledge the emotions I'm feeling. But, again, compared to some of the struggles I see other diabetics go though... it's very mild.

  6. Incredible post, Erin. Thanks so much for sharing this emotional and so very personal post. I'm not in the parent-role at this point, and so can only imagine those feelings as to how diabetes may or may not have been at play when it comes to your child. That's something we are dealing with in terms of having kids at this point, and so I can only relate to it from that perspective. I appreciate the brave post, and being willing to share your feelings with all of us here in the DOC.