Category: diabetes and emotions

Diabetes and The School Run

For most mums, I  think the school run can be an extremely hectic and stressful process. Getting everybody up, cleaned, fed and safely off to school takes a lot of organisation, time management, patience and energy. 

The Mail Online stated, “Three out of four mothers find school run more stressful than going to work”

If you’ve read my blogs in the past, being a diabetes sufferer and maintaining a level of control takes a lot of juggling. I guess it can become an additional challenge in the morning, especially if sugar levels decide to do the complete opposite to what you need them to do. 

Diabetes aside, the morning school routine can be extremely overwhelming. From the squabbles over breakfast (I want toast not cereal), to what seems like a simple task of just getting dressed, the constant talking and questioning over school bags being packed or not forgetting an essential item for the day. Tantrums (“He’s got more cereal than I have”) etc. It can make the calmest of persons lose their calm  quickly, particularly on mornings when you’ve nearly reached the schools and have to turn the entire car around because of a forgotten library book or PE kit (that needs to be in that day).

The morning routine is hectic and can be very stressful  but there are a few things I’ve come up with to try and keep my calm and maintain a level of order in the mornings.

-Get up early and be organised – So, my day usually starts at 6am.  My alarm goes off to the sounds of ‘TVXQ -catch me’ and I roll straight out of bed and check my sugar level.

On a good diabetes night( no lows, no high blood glucose levels) you can still wake up feeling pretty beat.

On a bad diabetes kind of night, the morning task of getting myself and the two munchkins ready can sometimes be extremely exhausting.

-Manage your sugar levels – If I have a good sugar level then I give myself 30 minutes to get showered, out of the bathroom and quickly put on the ensemble I set out the night before. If i’m having a bad diabetes kind of morning then I usually give myself a little more time to get my sugar level sorted.

Nevertheless, no matter the sugar level, I still have to be mum and keep things going. Twenty two years of living with this condition has allowed me to develop a better understanding of the high and low symptoms I can experience daily. Being able to recognise these symptoms quickly has also allowed me to address any changes in my levels quickly whilst still being able to  continue on with the morning routine.

Teach your kids to be responsible for some of their morning routinebrush their teeth, get themselves dressed, undressed, whatever is age appropriate.

Once I’ve sorted myself out, I quickly rush to the peanut boy’s (my son) room for 6:30 – 6.40am and get his morning regime underway. He takes himself to the bathroom, brushes his teeth etc

Boss baby(my daughter) can be a real misery in the mornings. No good morning, no cuddles, nothing. I don’t even dare suggest taking her to the bathroom to get her ready or heavens forbid put on her school uniform. She’s like day and night when it comes to the morning routine. Pffff you get the picture when it comes to this one. I usually have to give boss baby some time to get use to the idea that she needs to get up.

Meanwhile, every morning without fail, once peanut boy enters the bathroom everything falls silent. I can never hear any movement coming from the bathroom. I usually have to either call out to him or physically take myself to the bathroom to see what he’s up to. 90% of the time he’s either stood in the middle of the bathroom in a trance or he’s half asleep on the toilet.

Come on kid let’s get things moving! 

Once we’re done in the bathroom, peanutboy heads straight to his room to get ready.
I have to then coax boss baby into getting ready whilst also reminding the peanutboy to get himself ready and also how much time we have left until we go downstairs . 

-Keep your eyes on the time –  time can just get away from you on school run mornings so be sure to watch that clock

Once everybody is dressed we head downstairs for breakfast. We tend to talk about breakfast options before we reach downstairs and then that makes my life a little easier as I can just prepare what everyone wants. 

”Come on guys eat up quickly, we have to leave just before 8am”.

-Retest your BG level – With all the moving around I do in the morning, I know that sometimes my BG level can change drastically from the earlier check in the morning. So, once everyone is sorted I usually do another blood glucose test and finally have my breakfast. 

-Make sure your pump is ok (if your a pump wearer like me) On some mornings I’ve had to face things like this – A low battery and no insulin being delivered.

I’ve also had to deal with 

  •  Occlusions in the tubing (when insulin is stuck in the tubing)
  • Changing my pump insert because there is no insulin left in the syringe
  • Irritated pump sites
  • Or just other crazy alarms, the list is endless.

Whatever the alarm, the crisis must be averted and quickly so I can get back on track, get coats and shoes on, collect bags and finally get everybody loaded into the car.

Regardless of all the crazy events the morning has to offer, I, unbelievably love taking my kids to school. It’s important to me and them and most of all I have to remember that they won’t be this age forever. They’ll get bigger and probably won’t even want me to tag along in the morning. So remember to enjoy the crazy times and try your best to have fun. These moments are so precious.

Amina xxx

Diabetes Blog Week 2016 – The other half of diabetes

 

I could never have dreamt that living with diabetes would be such a challenging prospect to contend with. Mentally and emotionally, it is one of the most demanding and turbulent things I’ve ever had to deal with. It has stretched me beyond belief and it doesn’t give me the option to just check out. It’s a constant presence in my life and  for as long as I can remember it’s been with me. It’s actually hard to remember what life without it was like.

With all that said, I’ve had to find ways to make living with diabetes one that isn’t so gruelling and tedious. Instead of letting diabetes consume me, I’ve pushed myself to try new things to achieve new goals and to make my life into something more than just diabetes.

Of course I know all too well that it isn’t going anywhere and sometimes it can affect me. However, I’m also aware (as you should be too), that it shouldn’t hinder me from being able to do things I want to do. Even, during negative times, I know that those times eventually will pass. I’ve had to learn different mechanisims to help me deal with these darker times and come back to the light. Mentally i’m stronger because of diabetes and I definitely have my emotions in order. I give everything it’s just time and try not to be too hard on myself, because I know deep down that I do the best that I can.

Superhero

Mechanisims I take to make living with diabetes a little more doable:

Do what I’m supposed to do? –  Do the routine blood testing (write down my levels and keep an eye out for any patterns), take my insulin and just try my very best to keep on top of it all. If I can do this, #You can do this too! As perplexing as it can be, just try your best. Take it one step at a time and I know you can do it.

Reach for the sky – I find myself new goals, something I want to achieve or get better at. It helps to have something to progressively work towards and keep your mind engaged on something other than the daily diabetes grind.

Tiny steps – Take everything diabetes wise, one step at a time. Don’t let it drown you. Slowly work to the best of your ability to make a healthier more in control you.

Release – Find an outlet and let go of all you’re tension. My current outlet is working out. It’s a great stress reliever. I’m keeping fit and health and hopefully it will keep me looking good lol 🙂

Family – I’ve always been fortunate to have the support of my family and this has been one of the major reasons for me being able to deal with some of those negative times. I know that some of us may not have that support which leads me to my next point.

Buddy – Your online, that’s great! Now start to make connections with other just like me and you. Whenever I meet another diabetic, I automatically have a strong connection with them. They can relate to the whole diabetes aspect of my life, which speaks volumes.

————————————————————————————————————————————

Although this post was meant to be about how diabetes affects me mentally and emotionally. I wanted to get the perspective of my loved ones and how they think diabetes has affect me and them throughout the years.

————————————————————————————————————————————–

The Mother

What can I say about your mental and emotional disposition?

Exceptional. From the time I started to know you, that was when I gave birth to you, I felt that you were special. All mothers feel that about their children but as the months and years passed I realised that you had an extra-ordinary level of calmness and internal contentment.

Over the years, those attributes have grown more and more. You do not seem to complain like the rest of us but you may sigh and say something to the effect.” Oh! Man,” and the matter seems to be then closed.You have a level of tolerance which is outstanding, yet you are direct and can tell someone exactly what they need to do or to try in order to alleviate a particular problem.

I always feel that you have your life in balance. You constantly analyse your situation, research and make others aware; improving our life styles and understanding of not only diabetes but many social issues. I feel that you are well grounded; you have your aims and objectives planned out-even if you may not be successful you always move on. A great strength mentally and emotionally.

So, you are undoubtedly exceptional and an excellent role model to young and old, diabetics and non-diabetics. Your self-control and serenity has allowed me (selfishly) to worry less and live more.Thank you.


The Eldest sister

The strength to endure diabetes is a daily battle that I (a non-diabetic cannot begin to imagine or appreciate. It is not only a physical battle to maintain a healthy body but also an emotional struggle to want to continuously push yourself to do what you have to do in order to survive without complications.

My sister has had diabetes for 21 years and as I write down that number, the image of her laying on the living room chair so ill she can barely move but having to move because she needs the toilet, is so fresh in my mind that I cannot believe time has passed so quickly. In saying that the years are filled with lessons not only for my sister but for me also. It has given me the chance to learn not to feel so helpless and to be able to learn about this lifelong condition in a way that brings value to my sister. 

Our mother set a strong foundation for life with diabetes because a challenge that my sister faced on one day was never an obstacle for the next. I think this positive attitude helped me to see that life with diabetes was filled with as much opportunity as a life without. My sister and I would train for tennis together and she would go harder than I most of the time.

I don’t think my sister ever wanted to be defined by diabetes and because we always lived an adventurous life that continued after her diabetes diagnosis. 

Thinking about it now though, that push to maintain good BG’s must have been arduous,  must have challenged her daily, must have taken every ounce of strength but she continued and still does because of her determination to have a positive diabetes life. Regardless of life’s challenges, diabetes has given her the experience to handle the difficult situations that she may encounter.


The Husband

Before I met Amina, I only knew about diabetes as a condition other ‘people’ get when they are older or overweight. I never associated it with someone in my own age group or of good health.

Experiencing life married to someone with diabetes has not only taught me about the condition, but having an emotional connection to someone with the condition has opened my eyes to what’s really important in life. 

I reflected on, my own relatives and my personal health and saw that diabetes was already a part of my life. People I had known my whole life, aunties, uncles, my own mother all have this condition and the implications it has on their health affects the lives of all of my family. Also, had I not met someone with diabetes, my lifestyle choices would have inevitably led me to develop type 2 diabetes. I personally take more care of myself in order to take care of my wife. Although we can’t know what will happen in the future, I have at least taken steps to live a healthier life.

Living with a diabetic has also taught me a great many things. Amina’s mind-set is tremendously positive and her outlook on life has shown me the heights the human psyche can reach, and inspired me to become more positive and mature about life’s ‘thousand natural shocks’. Her ability to share her experiences has influenced those around her including myself, our children, her relatives and mine, as well as her blog followers. It has also taught me patience in dealing with people, when her hypos inhibit her abilities I have had to search deep inside myself to be supportive in ways that best serve her needs. 

The adversity faced by diabetics should not only be encouraging but the strength of the human spirit that is embodied by their struggle to overcome is truly inspirational to those around them.


The little sister

Unlike my older siblings and parents, I have no memories of Amina’s diagnosis with diabetes. I can’t remember – like my mother often says – how skinny she was or any of the other symptoms she presented. I was only about one at the time. So growing up there was no adjustment to a new lifestyle or shock at seeing her take injections or measure her blood sugars. She was never made to administer her insulin in a different room like it was some sort of secret, so it wasn’t something out the ordinary to me. I now appreciate how important that was; it was and is (literally) part of her survival and isolation could have affected her attitude towards her diabetic state (by the way she’s always had it under excellent control.)

Having had the opportunity to learn more about diabetes through my education, and considering the complications associated with a lack of control, I have developed a real sense of respect for how she has managed her diabetes through the years. From my point of view it never seemed like an overwhelming problem for her. Yes, it remains something she deals with daily. But she’s always on top of it. I’m always impressed by the fact that diabetes doesn’t rule her life, rather it is an aspect of her life that has shaped her in ways but never defined her.


The baby Brother

Being the youngest member of our family, I have always aspired to be like my elder siblings as they have all lived successful lives and I have never once thought that there is any difference between them.

I have only ever known my big sister to have diabetes and from a young age I could never really understand what it was, but with age I have a greater understanding; but even still I am always asking questions. Over the years, I have seen the slow effects it can have but with strong will and dedication, not allowing it take control, it can be managed. Personally I can see how many people could lose the will to constantly check what state their body is in at certain times of the day, however to those in the diabetic community, I believe you shouldn’t see yourself as any different from other people.

The reason I have this view, that diabetics shouldn’t see themselves as any different from other individuals is based on my sister. My sister, when possible, never acted as if she had an illness. She was and still is very proactive but what I believe to be key is she knows her limitations. And by knowing ones limitations you can build your life and wellbeing around them slowly overcoming them.

I know you’re probably thinking it’s easier said than done, especially since I have never been in that position. However, it can be done and Amina is an example of this.

————————————————————————————————————————————

To my loved ones, thank you for all the love and support you’ve given me throughout the years. I love you all dearly. Amina xxx

Change is Inevitable

When you are first faced with a diagnosis of diabetes, it’s a very hard process to come to terms with. The realisation that this condition is now with you for the rest of your life, is indeed a very tough thing to confront.

Many emotions such as, anger, denial, and self-pity are but a few emotions which are bound to present themselves. Just remember this is quite normal and you must give yourself the time to deal with these emotions. However, what you must also consider is, change is inevitable. This is happening now, it can’t be pushed to one side in hope that it will disappear.

“Diabetes has always been a challenge for me. It has never been easy. Every step of the way, for the past 21 years, I’ve had to fight my way through everything it has thrown in my direction.”

quote-1

Developing an understanding that things are going to change is key.

It’s all new. I know and I know you’ve never experienced this before, but you must give it your best shot, to remain healthy.

Once you put in the effort, this new change in your life will start to become your new norm.

Don’t resist it because, it will definitely take control of you. You need to be on top of it.  If you’re having a hard time adjusting, don’t struggle by yourself. Look for and get support from people close to you. I found that the online community was a great place to start. Things that I was struggling with, I was able to get through it, with their support. They were just like me (diabetic) and that was enough for us to have an instant connection. They could really relate to me and had an understanding of what I was actually going through.

Family are a are great source of support too, even though they may not understand it quite like another diabetic. Remember, they have nothing but love for you and want to help you in whatever way they can. So don’t shut them out. It’s new to them too, but I can assure you they are ready and willing to help you. Use your medical team e.g, doctors, nurses and dieticians, whoever you can reach out to. They should be there to help you.

Be patient my friend, you are stronger than you know you are. Stay determined and try your best to accept this new change in your life. Turn it into something positive.

You can do this!!

Amina xx

Emotional Diabetes

 

 

faces

Ignorance is bliss, or so they say. In some cases the not knowing can indeed be a great comfort and it most certainly cannot hurt you. So is it better to remain ignorant of the facts and continue on in your ignorance?

Diabetes has taught me otherwise because I didn’t have the option to remain ignorant. I had to develop an understanding of what was happening to me and that did not happen overnight. In fact it has taken many years for me to even begin to acknowledge all the ins and outs of this condition and I still have a lot more to learn. Even without the diabetes, maintaining good health doesn’t happen all at once, it’s continuous and takes a good amount of determination and patience. Being able to accept that diabetes is now a part of your life isn’t an easy thing to do. I’ve experienced several emotions when I was first diagnosed, months and even years after my diagnosis.

Although I’d made the decision not to be ignorant of my new found condition and all that it came with, initially I must admit that I did experience several emotions, one of which was denial. In all honesty, I found myself at different stages with this emotion in my diabetes life. There are five stages of denial, these stage include Isolation, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance. Psychologist Elizabeth Kubler-Ross explains these stages in her book ‘Death and dying’. Everybody is different and therefore maynot experience all these stages or in the order listed. It really depends on the indivdual.

So what is denial?

Denial A denial of something is a statement that it is not true, does not exist, or did not happen.

“You can’t change what you refuse to confront.”

To begin with I found it extremely difficult to make all these new adjustments in my life. It was very unfamiliar and all so confusing to comprehend. Even though the lack of insulin in my body had now turned me into a skeleton and all the blood tests came back indicating that I was diabetic. I still sometimes thought that somehow the doctor must have been mistaken. I still found it hard to believe that these were my results. “How did it come to all of this?”

On the other hand, seeing my injections for the first time and my fluctuating blood sugars beginning to settle down, allowed me to understand that I needed to keep injecting in order to avoid going back to my pre diagnosed self. Remembering that I had just experienced first-hand what it was like to be deprived of insulin. I knew I certainly didn’t want to go back in that direction. I didn’t want to feel thirsty all the time, urinating uncontrollably and ultimately I just wanted to become the old me, the healthy me that diabetes had taken away.

It made me aware that I wouldn’t be doing myself any favours if I chose not to deal with my diabetes. It was all too real and it certainly wasn’t going to go anywhere. I couldn’t just pretend it didn’t exist. I had to take the steps to start to change things in my life. From that moment I decided I wouldn’t let it take over my life in a negative way. It was now a part of me and I had to find a way to work with it in order to be normal again.

Nevertheless, a little acceptance of my diabetes wasn’t the end. I still struggled with my emotions towards having the condition. At times I found myself feeling very angry and pushing those feelings onto others around me and I’d find I’d become upset over the smallest of things. I used sports as an outlet for my anger. I swam, played basketball, tennis, netball and I ran every race I could run. I found I was pretty good at them all which helped me to change that negative energy into something more positive. Playing sports to the best of my ability was a way for me to deal with this new emotion of anger. I actually didn’t recognise it as me being in denial about my diabete it was only with time that this became more clear. I grew to like the sports I played and in turn I grew to like the way it made me feel.

Looking back I think that it would have been beneficial if I was able to talk to someone about these emotions and work through them whilst understanding them in relation to this condition. Although I had a great deal of support from my family, there was only so much that they could grasp and help me with. I think my family also had a difficult time with the changes that were happening to me and understanding what their roles were and how they could help me get through it. The doctors and nurses were very positive and helpful in any way that they could be. However, if I recall, how I was feeling with regards to my diabetes it was never really something that was discussed. I think it was discussed more with my parents, maybe because I was a child at the time. I’ll have to ask them about that.

 “To change your life you need to change your priorities.”

I definitely feel diabetes forced me to grow up a lot quicker than my other siblings. I stopped playing with my dolls and started learning more about my condition. Everything was put on hold. I asked more questions during my appointments and with the help of my mother I started a subscription to a diabetes magazine. In one of the magazine editions, I found an article on Dr Frederick Banting. It had pictures of children who had diabetes, how they looked before insulin treatment and once on insulin therapy. I could finally relate to someone else who had gone through what I was now experiencing, (although that someone was just a picture image). The drastic before and after pictures were proof that I could be me again, if I just did what was right for me.

 ”You don’t have to do it alone.”

Thereafter I was going to deal with my diabetes, most of the time that meant handling things on my own. I somehow found the strength and forced myself to get on with it. Initially that meant even refusing to attend the young diabetes group that my family and nurses tried so hard to get me to attend. Maybe I’d taken the ‘dealing with it by myself’ to an extreme. With time I was able to let go a little and let others help me more. However this new trait of doing it by myself definitely became the norm in other aspects of my life. Even if that meant it was hard for me, I was going to do it by myself.

 “And now I’ll do what’s best for me.”

As I grew up, I also learnt how to express my feelings better and in turn it helped me. I wasn’t bottling things up and waiting for them to explode on the nearest person I could find. Instead my family, friends, doctors and nurses were going to hear my tales of diabetes woes. I wasn’t going to do it all alone. I began to understand that they were crucial to my diabetes management and in order to obtain good control and regain my good health, I would have to utilise them when I could. The nurses introduced me to other Type 1 diabetics, online diabetes communities and gave me several numbers I could call for support from them and other diabetes associations. I was going to give it my all.

Acceptance

Coping with a chronic illness was never going to be an easy thing to do. I’ve come a long way with my emotions and diabetes. I’ve learnt to deal with it in a certain way. I’ve accepted it for what it is. It is a part of me. A part of me which I have to tolerate and not hate. It has been my companion for so many years now and we’ve been through a lot together. It’s made me the responsible, strong, patient adult that I am today. It continues to drain me, challenges me greatly and has allowed me to be more positive about other aspects in my life. I have a better understanding of myself, a confidence that grows with each passing year, that I am still here and that I’ve been successful in managing this condition. Having a blog has also helped me to continue to deal with these emotions. It has become a platform, an outlet for me to express myself. I’ve been able to connect with so many other diabetics who are just like me, going through the same daily struggles. We’ve been able to exchange stories and I hope I’ve helped them as much as they have helped me on many occasion.

 Stay Strong

The most important thing about having a chronic illness is not to give up on yourself. Keep fighting it and don’t let it drag you down. With the help of others you can maintain and manage it to the best of your capability. You just have to give yourself the chance to live as normal and stable life as possible. If you are recently diagnosed or even if you’ve been diabetic for many years now and find yourself struggling with your emotions, it doesn’t hurt to seek advice and help from others. Actually I strongly recommend it. If you want to do what is best for your health and live ahealthyl life style, you have to make diabetes a priority, you have to get your mind right in order to be able to manage this life style you’re in.

Here are a few ideas to help you with your diabetes emotional management:
– Create a support system, whether this is your family, friends, doctors, nurses or other diabetics.
– Educate yourself and others around you
– Don’t be afraid to ask questions
– Don’t be too hard on yourself
– Take your medication because god knows you need it.
– Test your blood sugars regularly
– Stay active
– Take it one step at a time
– Don’t let diabetes define you.
– It’s ok to be angry about your situation.
-Don’t bottle up your emotions, find an outlet, a way to work through it.

 

Support and Advice Links:
Diabetes blogs are a great way to connect with other diabetics. Here are a few of my favourites.

1) Bittersweet diagnosis

2)Life or something like it

3)My Lazy Pancreas

4)The Grumpy pumper   and many more……….

https://www.diabetes.org.uk/Guide-to-diabetes/Newly_Diagnosed/

https://www.diabetes.org.uk/How_we_help/Local_support_groups/

http://www.diabetes.org

http://www.twitter.com

http://www.facebook.com – several diabetes groups

http://www.sugarhighsugarlow.com

https://www.facebook.com/SugarHSugarL?ref=hl

http://www.diabeticconnect.com/diabetes-discussions/general/603-dealing-with-emotions

http://behavioraldiabetesinstitute.org/