Thursday, May 15, 2014
I don't think I can say things any better than Kim did. She hit the nail on the head, precisely.
For me, what gets me down about diabetes is the mental and emotional side of things. As a person living with diabetes and mental health issues, life gets pretty rough sometimes. Diabetes + disordered eating + anxiety + depression = one hot mess Jess.
Sometimes it's hard to tell where diabetes ends and my mental health issues begin. They are all so completely intertwined. That's not to say that every day is awful. Because that's not true. I have good days and bad days. And the bad days seem to come in clumps. I'll have stretches of bad days. To be honest, I've been in the middle of a difficult stretch for the past few weeks. There's been a lot going on in my personal life. A myriad of smaller stressors that have left me feeling completely overwhelmed.
Stress can trigger my binge eating. Which triggers my anxiety. Which can trigger my depression. All of which can do a number on my blood sugars. It's all inexorably linked, like a spiderweb.
I may be a hot mess, but I've come a long way. This Mental Health Month, here's what I want you to know: you are not alone, and don't be afraid to seek help. Seeking treatment from a mental health professional was the best decision I could have made. Yes, I still have bad patches, but I've come so far. And things are so much better overall. I am better equipped to handle and process my feelings. The difficult patches don't last as long as they once did.
Like my grandma always said, this too shall pass. And depression lies.
Tuesday, May 13, 2014
Diabetes is strong.
Some days, it is a cunning villain
Taking me by surprise.
Other days diabetes plays nice
Lying in wait.
And other days, diabetes is a roaring dragon.
A foe so fierce I can barely stand.
One those days when I cannot stand
When I am losing ground
I cling to hope
I cling to those I love
Knowing I am not alone.
Diabetes is strong.
But what diabetes does not know
Is that I
I am stronger.
"The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places." - Ernest Hemingway
"If I could chaaa-aaaa-aaange the world..."
Anyone else have Eric Clapton running through their head right now?
Today for #DBlogWeek (technically yesterday- I'm a bit behind), we're supposed to write about a diabetes topic that gets us really fired up. I've written about my issues discussing complications before. And I'm working on being able to have a civilized conversation on the topic.
In doing some reflecting on why complications elicit such a gut reaction from me, I've realized something. It's not discussing the complications themselves that irks me. It's the judgement and blaming behavior that so often accompanies these conversations.
Judgement and blame can be found in all kinds of conversations about diabetes, not just complications. Your A1c went up? How did that happen? Should you be eating that chocolate cake? If you just eat right and lose weight, you can control your diabetes.
Unfortunately, these types of comments are not only from people outside the diabetes community. They can come from healthcare professionals. Family members and loved ones. From other people with diabetes. And from myself. Boy howdy, am I good at internalizing guilt and blame. Oh, my blood sugar is 340? What did I do to cause that?
Here's the deal. Nothing constructive comes from judgement and blame. These actions and feeling are not empowering. In fact, they're debilitating. Want to help motivate someone to take better care of his or her own diabetes? Complication scare tactics are not helpful. Nor is blaming them for having a rough time. We need to help empower people living with diabetes and their loved ones. Break things down into reasonable goals. Be encouraging. Remind people they're not alone. Kindness and compassion are empowering. When I'm having a hard time, a simple tweet or text from a friend can make a huge difference. The compassion and encouragement I've received from many in the Diabetes Online Community has changed my life. I mean that with all my heart.
Let's banish the blame game, and focus on empowering each other. Kindness and compassion, FTW.
Saturday, May 10, 2014
Well, he didn't actually EAT it.
Let me back up a bit. Vader has been almost a perfect dog since we brought him home. Other than having complete meltdowns when we pass other dogs on a walk, but I digress. (We're doing training for that one).
But at home, he's tremendous. Was already housebroken and crate trained. And he leaves our stuff alone. The only things he's chewed up are his own (two stuffed crate pads and a stuffed toy, but who's counting?).
Our furniture, shoes, and everything else is safe. Vader doesn't bother any of it. So I'm not mad. It's an extra pump clip that I left on the floor. Which he picked up and accidentally broke. And it's the only thing of mine he's broken.
Besides. How could you stay mad at this face?