Diabetes is crap. However, despite being diabetic, I consider myself to be broadly well adjusted and moderately sane and I generally have a good attitude to life, the universe and everything.
Considering I have been diagnosed with a condition that I’ll have for life and could well contribute to my untimely death, I believe I get on with life with – on the whole – a nice, positive look out.
However, sometimes diabetes does get in the way. There are times where blood glucose levels go completely out of goose. Why have I had three days of near constant hypos? Why is my blood glucose ludicrously high when all I’ve eaten is a tiny plate of overpriced salad?
Sometimes diabetes has neither rhyme nor reason and every now and then I get to the point where all I want to do is smash my own head against a wall seventeen thousand times in a row at the sheer frustration and unfairness of it all.
But, like I said, I’m pretty well balanced and with the help of a supportive wife and a positive outlook, I soon get over it and life returns to normal.
I think I’m one of the lucky ones. I was diagnosed with type one when I was quite old – twenty eight in fact. So I didn’t have to go through the hormonal trauma of my teenage years with a failed pancreas. I also have great and knowledgeable support from family, friends and colleagues. Life is pretty therefore pretty good, despite the odd diabetes-induced wobble.
What terrifies me though is the thought of the zillions of people out there who can’t and don’t cope with the endless lifetime marathon of diabetes. People with diabetes who have been worn down by months or years of stress, misery and lack of support. Because they’re so broken they are now, in effect, invisible.
For example, most of the people who read, lurk and comment on this site – picking a poorly written blog at random – will inevitably have their ups and downs but at least they’re engaging with other diabetics. At least they might get a modicum of comfort from the forum posting about someone’s terrible BG reading after a night of gorging themselves on trifle. We’ve all done it and it’s great and comforting to know that other diabetics shovel custard, jelly and sponge down their gaping maws too.
But there’s a huge bunch of invisible diabetics out there who are not getting any support and who are so worn down and demotivated that they just can’t help themselves to get help from their healthcare teams and the wider diabetic community. And that’s incredibly sad.
Looking after the diabetic mind is one of the most neglected areas of diabetes care. As I said at the top of the article, diabetes is crap. It’s difficult, lifelong and wearing on the mind and psyche. I just wish there was more we could do help the invisible diabetics.