Control. Being in control, lack of control having no self-control: I think for me control is the root of all of my problems with my diabetes.
I’ve always experienced diabetes as a constant struggle, as I’m sure many of you have, everyday presenting new challenges and frustrations about not being able to gain control. Some days are good, don’t get me wrong, but it’s like constantly walking a tightrope, waiting to fall off.
Recently I started eating low carb and trying to change how I approach my diabetes which has let me feel in control. Following the recommendations of Dr. Bernstein, I’ve been able to have days with perfect blood sugars. I’m such a perfectionist and now that I know it’s possible to have perfect blood sugars and actually feel good I have a hard time giving myself permission to mess up.
It’s not that I want to mess up or make poor choices. I wish I was stronger and could put my diabetes first 100% of the time, but I’m not.
Depression with diabetes is not uncommon. It’s also not talked about as much as it should be. I think it goes back to not feeling in control. I’ve never felt it as strongly as I have this past week. Knowing that I can do better, then feeling inadequate, which spirals into more poor choices. Maybe it’s my subconscious knowing that it’s easier to have bad blood sugars knowing that you’re not working hard at it versus putting in tons of effort and still ending up with bad blood sugars and feeling like a failure.
I read something jessica.t1d wrote on instagram the other day about perfectionism and diabetes burn out. It really resonated with me, so today I’m trying out a new philosophy: 80/20. If I can be on top of it and make good choices for my diabetes 80% of the time, then I’m allowed to forgive myself for the other 20%.
Diabetes isn’t a sprint. It’s a stupid marathon that you’re stuck on, and you have to figure out a way to keep going. So find what works for you. Celebrate your successes. Heck, rave about them! The people who truly care about you will celebrate them with you. Know that you are not alone in this journey. Almost everyone I know with diabetes has someone who loves and supports them. And if you don’t feel like you have that, there’s a huge diabetes community everywhere you look. I have found a lot of support and encouragement through individuals on social media. The.insulin.type and Gretchen at typeonetypehappy and are amazing public figures who share their experiences and struggles. Beyond Type 1 is an awesome organization that uses social media to raise awareness about diabetes and has a lot of different campaigns and support systems in different areas. The American Diabetes Association also has tons of different outreach things, including the diabetes summer camp I work at every year. You can also just google “diabetes support” or “type 1 diabetes support” with your location, and you should find stuff.
Remember to love yourself and give yourself some slack if you mess up. Don’t let it keep you down. If you are feeling depressed, it’s okay to ask someone for help. Know that you are stronger than your diabetes. You are strong because of your diabetes. You can choose to make tomorrow better. And always know that you are not alone!