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?
What a great prompt! Really, I think we need to acknowledge more the emotional impact of diabetes.
What things can make dealing with diabetes an emotional issue for you?
Um, how about anything and everything? I know this might have more to do with my female-ness (yay) but sometimes the reality of this constant companion overwhelms me and I am forced to my knees in grief and anger. Moments like this don’t happen often but when they do I am careful to allow myself them, to allow myself to feel all the feelings flowing through me without shame or remorse. Because?
Really, it does. Do I constantly reminisce on my lost food innocence or the fact I can’t comfortably drive long distances without unexpected bouts of fatigue? No. In reality I am very healthy emotionally when it comes to my diabetes. I can’t stand drama so this is it, no constant looking back, no belaboring my grief, no eternal whinging of this life I was given. But when those moments do happen, when it just hits me like a emotional dump truck of feels, how do I cope?
Go to someone who understands.
Thankfully I have several people (diabetics) within grabbing distance who I can call and vent to when I just need someone to say, “I feel you… just the other day–” and share a crazy story of their own to make me feel better.
Have a moment.
Anybody who knows me knows I am very practical, slightly no nonsense, and very rarely get emotional (aka angry, upset, etc.). But when I say, “I’m just having a moment” you better be ready to just sit and listen. When all logic goes out the window, I don’t want to be fixed, and I just want to wallow in my puddle of self-pity or anger or frustration or whatever, that, my emotional friends, is a moment. Don’t try to make me feel better, don’t tell me I’m wrong or I shouldn’t be feeling that way, I’M JUST HAVING A MOMENT. And then I’ll get over it. But you should just listen and maybe validate my feelings. Having moments is very healthy. Living in them? Well that’s another issue.
Take a break.
Sometimes I need a break from diabetes. A break from the counting, the carbs, the numbers, the trends, the stress. Take that break. However you can unplug from your diabetic life, do it! One day of slacking will not ruin your marathon of care. It’s okay.
Another thought to consider…Often we feel then most stressed, the most upset, when we feel out-of-control. What can you do to feel more in-control of your diabetes?