Click for the What Brings Me Down – Wednesday 5/14 Link List.
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? (Thanks go out to Scott of Strangely Diabetic for coordinating this topic.)
from bittersweet diabetes
Well, I just have to say that May being mental health month was something I was aware of long before diabetes entered our lives. I try to stay away from talking about my bipolar on this blog, because, well, this blog is supposed to be about diabetes. And plus, I have a whole other blog dedicated to my journey with bipolar (Which has been sadly neglected the last year or so).
But, I feel like today would be an okay day to blog about my bipolar and our family’s overall mental status in regards to T1D. It’s been over a year now since Angelina’s diagnosis and I feel like we are in a good place. I’ve made being a diabetes expert my life’s goal (joking, sort of.) and even being relatively newly diagnosed, I am quickly reaching expert status. Angelina’s endo actually called me an expert at her check up two weeks ago, that was weird, but made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Part of my mental issues are that my version of reality is something grossly WRONG compared to other people’s. I tend to question and second guess myself often because of this and then swing wildly the other way and believe that I know better than almost anyone else. It just reminds me of the totally cheesy 90’s commercial for Sure Deodorant. Anyone remember those? That is me on a daily basis, except I’m not worried about damp armpits.
So, I come off being either totally arrogant, or neurotic and wishy-washy.
On another note, bipolar and diabetes have a lot in common. When you’re out of your “normal range” you may act oddly and have little control over it, you may be cranky and irritable, you may want to just lie down and sleep all day, you may want to eat everything in sight, or maybe not ever eat anything ever again. You may realize that you are high or low and try to do something about it, only to find yourself plummeting dangerously in the opposite direction, seemingly spinning out of control. Or, you may not recognize when you are high or low until someone else points out that you are acting strangely. Sometimes highs or lows (blood sugar or moods) happen for no apparent reason and may stick around stubbornly despite your best efforts to try to control them. Sometimes you get stuck in a rut and just give up on trying to control it, despite the consequences. Sometimes you put in no extra effort and things are wonderful.
Moods and blood sugars can both be affected by: food, hormones, stress, exercise/activity, weather, medications, illness, other medical conditions, changes in routine or sleep, your support system (or lack of), proper professional support (dr, therapist, etc) and education.
Both conditions are subject to being misunderstood and stigmatized by the general population. Both conditions are often the brunt of jokes or flippant statements that are only loosely based in fact, if at all. Neither condition has a cure. Both conditions are very serious and require intensive management and treatment to avoid immediate and future complications. Both conditions are prone to not be taken seriously unless you have them or are very close to or a caregiver for someone who has either of them.
On the other side of that coin, they are different. T1 has a very medically measurable physical cause, bipolar doesn’t usually. T1 is more physically painful with all the pricks and pokes and is often more publicly visible. Bipolar is more mentally and emotionally painful and often is “invisible”. While T1 is a physical disorder and bipolar a mental disorder, they both effect the mental and physical side of a person. Neither are easy.