This post was written earlier this year and understood by many. Things have improved for the most part but diabetes and depression seem to go together far too often…
At the beginning of the year I posted about people living with diabetes, depression and/or burnout and addiction treatment online. As parents, we ache for our children going through this each day and do our best to relieve some of their burden. Many parents go through a depression or period of mourning at diagnosis but I wonder how many feel that they may have developed depression in part because of diabetes moving into their homes?
When my son was diagnosed, it took me months before I sat and cried. Initially I was so happy that he was alive that I didn’t think beyond that. As he grew stronger, my focus was on learning and the fear of “what if”. After months of testing and injecting, it hit me one night…I would never make him better. I would continue this routine until he would do it himself but he would not be cured. I sat alone in the dark and cried.
I moved on after that. I took control where I could because diabetes had left other parts of our lives so out of control. I found an amazing online support group. I met some local people who became friends. They understood my life and it made me feel less alone. I plowed through and worked on a variety of issues. I tackled the federal government and had them change the Disability Tax Credit, making it more fair for people with diabetes. I joined groups and committees. I advocated for change in a variety of areas. I organized diabetes walks, created a website and eventually began this blog.
Despite all of these great things and the encouragement of many, I always had a sense that I was not doing enough. I was inadequate. Change was slow. Rewards were gifts to the heart. Because most of what I did was volunteer, there was very little, if any, financial reward. Money is what makes the world go around and if you have no financial worth then what is your value? People would tell me that I should “get a life”. I should “get over it”. I needed to “get a real job”.
In my heart, I know my value. I know what I have done as a parent, a mother and an advocate are very important. These comments still haunt me however. They still make me wonder. I know the good things that I have done and continue to do. I see my son’s A1c when he is with me and I know that I am important to his health. I know the real value of that gift When I begin to forget my worth, I often receive amazing emails and comments that truly light up my day. The value of these comments and the friendships I have made are well beyond a financial measure to me.
And yet there are some days this knowledge is still not enough to see me through to the next day. The demons, the comments, the fears, the exhaustion–they are all there in the back of my head. They lurk, telling me that I am not good enough–as a pancreas, as a parent, as a person. The depression takes over. A black cloud hovers overhead.
Its a cloud that I cannot quite seem to easily escape. I look at myself and ask, what gives? I have a lot of blessings in my life. I have a lot to be thankful for. What is my problem?
I wish I knew. I have to fix it. I have seen many victories from many battles over the years–both personal and in the diabetes world. I should be happy with my successes. I should not be sad, depressed, blue, fearful or lack any self-worth. Perhaps its a shift that I need to make within me–to focus on the positive and push back the depression and feelings of inadequacy.
Diabetes has taken over a lot of our lives. It has brought many changes and has brought me many blessings. It has changed me. It has enhanced me. It seems to have also brought a friend called depression but I won’t let it win any more than I will let diabetes win.