It is not easy to see diabetes as something that comes with blessings. But it does, and the people who live with it know it. Here are a couple of pieces that pretty much sum up how we, in the diabetes online community, feel that we have also gained something positive from dealing with our condition.
At Suite D, we were asked if there is something we are thankful for.
At Huff Post’s Healthy Living, we shared the good things about diabetes.
It makes me happy and proud to belong to a community where people inspire each other every day.
I want to thank Amy, Mike and Allison at Diabetes Mine for giving me a chance to be a guest post writer today. I’m proud to be a diabetes advocate, but mostly grateful for having found passion and purpose helping others to cope with what life brings.
The diabetes online community is full of inspiring people. We are all inspiring to some extent, we all have something share and there will always be someone who is touched by our stories and experiences. That’s the most wonderful thing about the DOC, you never know when you’re going to make a difference in someone else’s life. And that’s why we’re here. But there are people who work hard every day to be a voice for everyone, to make everyone speak, so we can be heard. One of those people is Kim over at Texting My Pancreas, who came up with this wonderful idea called You Can Do This, a project I have yet to participate in because I’m extremely camera shy.
According to its creator, “You Can Do This is a growing community of videos, created by and for people with diabetes, with the aim of providing validation, hope and encouragement through honest talk for the diabetes community.” — And the project is 1 year old today! Congratulations, Kim! And thank you for giving the DOC a place to make a difference. And a big thank you to all the people who have participated and have words of encouragement for every PWD regardless of what type we’re talking about.
Maybe this anniversary will give me a good reason to be less camera shy. We all can do this!
Living with diabetes (or caring for someone who lives with it) sure does take a lot of work, and it’s easy to be hard on ourselves if we aren’t “perfect”. But today it’s time to give ourselves some much deserved credit. Tell us about just one diabetes thing you (or your loved one) does spectacularly! Fasting blood sugar checks, oral meds sorted and ready, something always on hand to treat a low, or anything that you do for diabetes. Nothing is too big or too small to celebrate doing well!
One great thing I do for myself is forgive my mistakes and remind myself that we all have bad days. All my life I’ve dealt with a lot of self-blame for everything that happens, and diabetes makes things a little bit harder. After all, there is a lot of stigma when it comes to type 2 because “we did this to ourselves.” Can I have a better control of my diabetes and make better choices? Absolutely. But like Karen’s introduction says, we aren’t perfect.
I think living with diabetes and interacting with the DOC has increased my sense of compassion because I really try to put myself in other people’s shoes regarding the many frustrations that come with this condition. I care, a lot! That is my one great thing… the need to connect, the need to understand, the need to remind people that it’s OK to mess up because every day is a new beginning.
I like to sit with people like Marie, who have a positive attitude toward life’s challenges. We laugh at her Dexcom and I ask her to teach me how she manages her type 1 diabetes. I care, I want to get to know people and see how things work for them.
This morning I woke up to an email announcing me that there was a ping for one of my blog posts. I surely wasn’t expecting to be Victoria Cumbow‘s announcing Cranky Pancreas was featured in the Best of the ‘Betes Blogs winners for the month of March.
I can’t take credit for it, though. The category is “Best Post by a Type Awesome” and that would be my husband’s work. He’s always willing to share his thoughts, he wrote about living with a person with diabetes, and I’m glad his post got recognized.
Thank you to everyone in the DOC.
Last night’s DSMA chat on twitter was about dealing with other chronic conditions related or not to diabetes. At the end of the hour everyone was talking about depression and how difficult it makes to manage any condition that requires us to care about ourselves and keep some kind of discipline. The biggest question was if we thought mental treatment should be required for people who have to live with a chronic disease like diabetes. And this is what I think…
While I don’t think mental help should be required for people who have diabetes (and other chronic conditions), it should be greatly encouraged by health professionals. I understand that not everyone wants to be open about depression because it’s so stigmatized, but in my personal case I thank my endocrinologist for making treating my depression a priority. Let’s go back to November and we can see a big 8.6 A1C result because I was in such a rut I just didn’t have the will to live. Forward to now, after I listened to my doctor and went to seek for help (again… because my depression is recurrent) and my A1C last week was 6.4.
We all need motivation to accomplish things in life. Now add to that the fact that you have to live and deal with an illness every single day… you tend to fall off the wagon quite often (at least I do). Imagine all your motivation just goes down the drain and it’s so much more than just a bad day. Weeks pass and you don’t feel better, your whole body aches, all you want to do is crawl on the floor and you feel like you simply don’t belong. Imagine the impact that kind of episode can have in the management of a condition like diabetes that requires so much discipline?
I for one I’m glad I listen to my doctor. And I’m glad that my psychiatrist told me my antidepressants are just another medication for diabetes. I’m glad that I started doing something for myself because now I have the energy and the motivation to do what I’m supposed to do every single day. And the most important thing is that I have a clear head to understand that I don’t have to be perfect to take care of myself.
So if you’re dealing with depression, please share it with someone who can shed some light so you’re not so lost in the dark. More often than not other people will tell you they’re going through the same thing. If you are capable of being outspoken about depression and chronic diseases, then speak out loud for other people to understand they’re not alone. And if your doctor recommends you to look for help, just do it… you’ll be grateful.
You don’t know how badly depression can affect your management of a chronic disease until you’re out of it and you can look at the situation objectively. 2011 was a very difficult year for me, mostly because there was such a huge imbalance of chemicals in my body that I simply stopped caring about everything. Things I used to enjoy became an annoyance and I had this horrible feeling that nobody even acknowledged my existence in the DOC. The Diabetes Sisters Weekend for Women conference went by and I felt like a zombie, I barely attended the sessions and I was a total stranger to the lady I shared rooms with. Then I was in San Diego for the Roche Social Media Summit, and while I tried really hard to participate as much as I could, I still felt like I was in a parallel universe of sorts. I thought I was some kind of joke for calling myself a Diabetes Advocate, when I wasn’t actively doing anything… I wasn’t even posting on twitter.
Then November came and I went to see my endocrinologist, told him about how horrible I felt, and he sent me to see a psychiatrist who could help me figure out why depression came to kick me in the butt again. After a long talk with the psychiatrist, who I have to say I liked very much, he decided to add Wellbutrin to my Prozac and see how it went. So far, so good… It’s even helping to control my appetite, and that is always a plus when you are obese. I will meet with a health psychologist on Wednesday and she will help me trace the map for the changes I need to implement in my life so I can grab diabetes by the horns and manage it more efficiently.
Along with my medical resources and my wonderful husband also comes the DOC, in which I’ve been trying to participate more actively and I know it will require a little bit of effort to make myself known to everybody, which is my goal. The fact is, if it wasn’t for the DOC I would probably not care about my diabetes as much as I do and I wouldn’t educate myself about diabetes like I do. I’m very happy that I finally took the time to go to blogrolls and I found a bunch of type 2 diabetics I can relate to.
So with this renewed motivation I hope to FINALLY take the right steps and stay on the right path for a healthy life. And what better way to help yourself than sharing with others. So I revamped my blog, got my a funny domain name and I’m reading d-blogs with discipline and interest. It feels wonderful! I missed me.
Diabetes + Depression. It’s a constant, double struggle. You need motivation to get your life and health in order, and there’s this extra weight on your shoulders pulling you down. Been there, done that… still deal with it every single day because my depression seems to be as chronic as my diabetes. It makes things harder in every sense with the lack of energy, the low self-esteem that comes with it and the feeling that it doesn’t matter what I do things will never get better. So why bother?
Sometimes I wonder if I’m just lazy with my diabetes, but then I figure I’m not the only one who wakes up some days wishing it’s all gone so I don’t have to work on it because it’s darn annoying. I look at myself in the mirror and I see (I know!) I have to do so much better than this and stop using excuses. But for me, it’s not only about food choices, exercise and taking my medication… I struggle very hard to keep my sanity as well. I know that if I forget to take my happy pills everything else will fall apart. Then it becomes a vicious cycle: my diabetes and my weight issues make me depressed, and my depression takes away my motivation. It’s so much fun… NOT!
During the Roche Social Media Summit I had the chance to listen to Dr. William Polonsky from the Diabetes Behavioral Institute. He basically said we need to take a vacation from diabetes from time to time and do it smartly. I wrote some about it in my previous post. At the end of the session people started sharing personal stories and I was afraid to talk. First because I’m stupidly conscious about my accent, and second because I avoid public speaking like the plague, especially when it’s about feelings and personal trials and tribulations. But then I gathered some courage and I told everyone in that room how I feel: Sometimes I think I’m not worth it. Sometimes I think it wouldn’t be a big loss if I wasn’t around. I heard all kinds of “What are you talking about? I’d miss you! You’re wonderful!” — I technically know all that, but my depression speaks too loud sometimes.
After I was approached by several people to thank me for saying what they feel but are never able to express, I felt like some of that weight was lifted off my shoulders. I’ve always know I’m not the only one dealing with depression and diabetes. But knowing that I can openly talk about it and ask for help and support certainly makes things easier. Especially when I can related to those who have to fight the diabetes dude every day.
I know that my health will greatly improve when I start making the right choices, not just for a day but for a life. But in order to achieve that I need my mental checkout from time to time. And happy pills it is.