We think a lot about the physical component of diabetes, but the mental component is just as significant. How does diabetes affect you or your loved one mentally or emotionally? How have you learned to deal with the mental aspect of the condition? Any tips, positive phrases, mantras, or ideas to share on getting out of a diabetes funk? (If you are a caregiver to a person with diabetes, write about yourself or your loved one or both!)
What a consideration, the mental component of diabetes. It's like a small buzzing noise in your brain that you can't switch off. It's always there. Always. Let's consider the impact of the average day - the mental component kicks in before I get out of bed, blood sugar. What is it? Do I need to do anything with the number I get? Am I happy with the number? Breakfast? How many carbs? Bolus? How much? Straight in? Over half an hour? An hour? 50/50? Am I exercising this morning? What time will I eat lunch? Am I going out? What should I pack? Do I need snacks? At lunch time the blood sugar and bolus vs carbs debate kicks off again and then again at tea time. We also have those lovely set change days just to add some variety to the mix. This doesn't even consider blocked infusion sets, stress, illness, unexpected exercise or when someone eats your lunch! On top of all this recently I really also had the experiences of pregnancy hormones and the impact of post natal alterations! All this inside my head on top of the everyday stuff.
So how do I cope?
I'm lucky in the sense that I have people to offload to. Depending on what I need though depends on who I chose as often it's other complications having an impact on my condition and causing waves.
Firstly I have the best DSN going. I mean my diabetic nurse is amazing. She is exceptionally supportive, she doesn't tell me off or judge and yet somehow she makes me realise what I need to be doing. She helps me be the better person I know I need and want to be.
My family. My husband has learnt the art of 'yes dear'. If I need to vent and I just want someone to listen (or appear to be listening) he's the man for the job. He also knows when to back off and say nothing. When not to pull the Tigers tail, very often this is when the tiger has a low blood sugar.
I also have a very straight talking sister who is good at listening but also very blunt in giving you the bottom line of how things are. No sugar coating just the truth. My mum is also a rock, I can tell her literally anything and often I'm sure share to much information. But she always knows what to say. How to calm me down. Once I'm calm it's easier to deal with problems.
So family and professional aside what's the best option? My friends. I have two amazing friends who will know she they are if and when they read this. They listen, don't judge and ask questions which help me work through whatever situation I've worked myself into. They make good brews (or know where to find one) and give good hugs. They could probably finish most of my stories for me now and yet they don't. They listen as the same crisis rears its head for the fifth time! Over the past few months they've listened as I've laughed, cried and felt like my world was darker than I've ever known. They've listened and helped me far more than they realise. Meeting for breakfast or sitting talking late at night when I'm panicking is helping more than they know. I may not see or speak to them everyday but when we do it's like we're never apart.
So how do I cope?
Don't be told what to do, be part of the decision
Don't be mean to yourself.
Always focus on what you've done right that day
Remember no one else is perfect
Be kind to yourself, and let others help you.
Find something to do where you can get peace (I like a walk in the rain as the dog is a fab listener). This brings me to the important point TALK. Talk to people you're comfortable with. People who don't mind hearing the same problem over and over. People who can advise without judging. Remember you can handle whatever gets thrown at you with the right skills, sometimes you need your team to have all the skills. I like to think of my friends and family as a deck of cards, I've got kings, queens, sixes and sevens that come in red or black, we even have a joker or two but when one of theme missing my deck doesn't work. ❤️