There is not one day that goes by where I’m not affected by this internal bully of a disease. More like an annoying, know-it-all friend who won’t shut up. It feels like no matter what you say, you’ll never be right, even if you really, truly thought you were. Not to mention that they’re always challenging your knowledge and throw a wrench in your plans, and the next thing you know, you feel like you’ve been through an emotional roller coaster and you don’t know what tomorrow will bring.
It’s almost like a bad relationship. Neglect leads to fights, which lead to emotional bouts in your head, leading you to cry tears of frustration, feeling like you don’t know what you can do to fix it and eventually dreading the future with your partner. You get tired and burn out. There is no relief, there is no consoling or anyone to tell you it’s going to be all right, because honestly, you don’t even know it’s going to be all right.
Don’t forget the good days. Those are a double-edged sword. You celebrate the wonderful communication, the fact that it all worked out for the day, and you hope that in 24-48 hours, you feel the same way: happy, warm and balanced.
The internal conversation is messy. If anyone else heard it, they’d think you were nuts. You blame yourself for things that sometimes are truly out of your control. You try to think ahead to guess on what the outcome will be in four hours only to be incredibly off kilter with what your “opponent” is trying to do to you. Yes, it feels like it’s out to get you and throw you off on purpose. “We’re on the same team!” you scream at yourself. “Why is this so hard?”
Don’t get me wrong. Diabetes is sometimes my best friend and we get along. Other times, I bitch about it like there’s no tomorrow and yet other times, I want to punch it in the gut and leave it agonizing over what it’s done to me. Fortunately, for me and diabetes, it is not a person who I can harm.
When you feel out of control, sadly, shame comes upon you. I’m telling you, the more I think about it, having a chronic disease is really like having a bad partner. At times you don’t want to even talk about it for fear of what other people are going to say. “Why do you do that to yourself?” “Why isn’t it working?” “Maybe you just have to take a step back and breathe.” That’s what I think to tell my friends when they’re having relationship issues and it applies to me as well. Ridiculous, huh?
However, this comparison also goes to show you just how emotional and psychological diabetes is on someone. Though it might not seem that bad or you think it’s linear and systematic, it’s not. Every day it’s something new. Whether it’s administrative like ordering prescriptions, verifying insurance, having organizations say they don’t want to cover you or worrying about what you have to pay out-of-pocket to miscalculating carbohydrates, eating too much fruit, having your tubing kink, running out of strips or explaining what the beeper on my hip is for, I deal with some aspect of my diabetes every day.
I’m not complaining. I’m really not. But between letting it out and trying to stay balanced on my own, I really want a break. Other times though, when I’m feeling low and lonely, I’ll settle for a hug.