Today’s prompt gives me the chance to explore what brings me down about my diabetes. I took a great deal of time to reflect on what makes diabetes an emotional issue for me and my loved ones, and how we cope. I think I can boil it down to the physical aspect of diabetes.
What do I mean by this? I’m referring to diabetes when its effects are most visible. For the most part, diabetes is unseen. People are often surprised when they learn that I do have type one diabetes because I don’t look sick. They don’t realize that diabetes does not make itself known until the extremes of it occur. I’m talking about the horrible highs and the lousy lows, the accompanying shakes, sweats, and mood swings. When these symptoms pop up, I am all too aware of how it impacts not only me, but those around me.
For example, my parents and brother have seen how infuriating and draining a low can be when it’s taking too long to come back up. When my mom or I experience a bad low, I know that my dad and my brother feel helpless because they can’t really help us. We have to rely on glucose tablets or juice to fix the problem. Meanwhile, they watch as we deal with feelings of disorientation and annoyance as a result of the low.
My boyfriend goes through the same thing. There were a few times throughout the semester when I woke up with a low blood sugar in the middle of the night. Even though it may have happened at 2 A.M., my first instinct still was to text my boyfriend so he could talk me through it. Of course, most of the time he would sleep through the text message, which made him feel even worse in the morning when he woke up and read about my poor night of sleep.
High blood sugars can also affect the emotionality of diabetes for me and my loved ones. Sometimes, I find myself blaming my snappy attitude on a high blood sugar. I become irrational and it makes it difficult for people to deal with me when I get like this. I know it isn’t fair, but it’s my emotional reaction to a high blood sugar. It causes tension when it happens, and it increases those feelings of helplessness that my loved ones feel because they know my insulin is the only thing that can truly remedy a bad blood sugar.
Even though the physical effects of diabetes are major emotional hurdles, I find that my loved ones and I help each other cope by talking through them. In the past, I’ve talked about how important it is to me to have a support system, and I’m lucky enough to have one that is strong and within reach when I need to discuss my diabetes. People say communication is key regarding many arenas in life, and I believe that diabetes is one of them.