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 was going to talk about burnout for this, since it's something I'm struggling with a little at the moment, but then I realised I don't really know what to say, and I think lots of people have posted about this, so I thought I'd talk about something a little different, and since the topic is the other half of diabetes, I thought I'd talk about *my* other half and his relationship with me and my diabetes.
So, my husband has a fairly severe phobia of needles, which he's had for a long time. And I'm not talking about the "oh I don't really like needles" (I mean, who does?) type of thing, but the passes out when having vaccinations, gets really queasy even thinking about them kind of phobia. So you can imagine that it's not easy then having to face that phobia on a daily basis.
He has a couple of other friends with diabetes, who had just moved away shortly before he met me. Now, we met online, and there was nothing in my profile about being diabetic, and it never really came up, until one day we were chatting online (before we'd actually met) and I mentioned something about blood sugars. At which point, I realised I hadn't actually said anything about being diabetic at roughly the same time that he came to the realisation that I was. And then he tells me about the needle phobia thing, and I wondered if that was going to be the end of things there and then. But we talked about it and he said that he had ways of dealing with it that he'd worked out with his friends, that mainly involved warning him any time I was going to be doing anything with a needle.
We've been together for seven years now, and there have been many
diabetes related things for us to deal with. I was on MDI when we
started dating, but have since moved onto a pump. I've started using CGM, and I had
two seizures due to low blood sugar (one of which happened in our
flat). I've had laser for retinopathy (that was fun. Not.) He's considerably less freaked out by my needles now, and he's
had to learn all the "wonderful" aspects of living iwth diabetes that you just don't really *get* unless you're doing it, and it's been a learning process for both of us - I've posted before about how I'm usually quite private about my day to day diabetes care, and it's taken a while to be able to share that with him. He's learning when to offer help and when to just offer sympathy, when to let me vent and when to step in on my behalf. He knows where all the hypo stashes are, and how frustrating some diabetes professionals can be. He's been to a diabetes conference, and is going to another one in June. I think it's opened his eyes to a whole other "normal", and he's I've learned that I don't have to do this alone. I can't imagine it's easy watching a loved one dealing with the ups and downs of diabetes, particularly those times when there's nothing you can do, and I'm always grateful that he's willing to go through this journey with me, both of us learning as we go.