We’re kicking off Diabetes Blog Week this week, and today’s topic is discussing what causes and issues get us fired up.
What really grinds my gears is the lack of emotional support for people with diabetes. This is one of the most intense self-managed diseases out there, yet the standard of care (if we even get that) involves a doctor visit for insulin dosing or medication and blood sugar checks. If we’re lucky, we get to see a nutritionist of CDE. Then we are expected to go home and “make it happen”.
I call “farce” (this is a PG rated blog post). The other 525,920 minutes we have in a year are left up to us and our coping skills. Diabetes is *hard*. There is so much fear, anxiety, stigma, shame, blame, anger, grief, and burnout that you would think an entire industry of mental health professionals would have jumped in by now to help. Instead, people are blamed and shamed and compassion is withheld for those who truly need the help.
I had a hard time dealing with the emotional parts of my diagnosis and for years afterward. I was an adult (26) and had build my life, marriage, and career around being the person I was at the time. We all change over time, but when change is sudden, we can lose our way. While I had outstanding medical care and more doctors than I care to count, I didn’t have a shoulder to cry on from someone who truly understood what I was going through. I felt pressured to just “get on with my life” which suppressed the needs I had at the time. When I reached out for professional help, I experienced judgement and blank stares.
I read about folks who are going through what I went through time and time again in the Diabetes Online Community (DOC) and my heart breaks. I didn’t understand why someone wasn’t stepping up to help. I had just completed coach training at the time and realized “someone” was me. I didn’t have to wait: I could act now.
No one deserves this disease: shame and blame is never justified. No one asked for this, and no one should be left alone.
Now, I run a shame and blame free coaching business to fill in that gap. I learned a great deal about loneliness, sorrow, grief, fear, and anxiety from my experiences, and a learned a myriad of ways to work through those feelings. What wakes me up in the morning is my vow to not leave one person behind and alone with this disease. To be the ear to listen, the hand to hold, and the eyes to help you see a path forward: that’s what I’m passionate about. While not everyone with diabetes needs this form of help, for those who do, it’s just as necessary as insulin or metformin to survive.
And for your Monday morning earworm, here’s a little Eric Clapton for you: