Diabetes really doesn’t affect me emotionally all that much – I’m just lucky that way. Sure, it does harbor occasional rousings of resentment, elements of embarrassment, and feelings of frustration (it may also be responsible for my overall timidness and reluctance to take chances in life – a connection I just realized this past weekend), but none of that qualifies me to really discuss the power of emotions that a faulty pancreas can deliver, and I don’t want to seem to trivialize the issue – which is a very real one. So I won’t even try.
But that’s not to say there isn’t stress in putting myself out in public, on the internet, for the world to see (or read).
Recently, I’ve made a few references to my brother, who has Angelman Syndrome. He is a full-grown adult but is incapable of the most mundane of tasks. But most of the time he is happy, for he is not capable of understanding that he has certain limitations (or so we believe). He will never understand what a teacher he’s been to myself and my whole whole family, but his mere presence is an inspiration – a lesson on priorities and what is so important in life. I’ve been meaning to write a bit more about him in a context that is relevant to this blog. This thought process keeps keeps taking me back to something I wrote earlier.
Last year, a member of TuDiabetes (whose name I will not include in this post) posted a message titled “Guilt.” This short but powerful message really struck a chord with me, and still resonates in my head to this day:
I feel guilty that I am alive and continue to be a burden to the people I love. They all deserve so much better.
I truly believe the world would be a better place without me.
Diabetes and all the side effects render me a useless waste of space.
–A TuDiabetes.org member
You may have seen this already. On the JDRF group on LinkedIn, a member named Michelle asked the following question:
I had a parent recently tell me her child is addicted to diabetes like an alcoholic…what are your thoughts on this concept?
This question generated quite a flurry of interesting responses. You can read them here (you need to be logged in to LinkedIn to see it). But it also really got me thinking about what it means to be addicted to something like diabetes.
Wednesday was a peculiar day in the diabetes-blogosphere. Usually a day for few words and many pictures (hence, the “Wordless Wednesday” theme), it seemed I read post after post about PWD’s dealing with depression and overall mental health challenges. After reading Allison’s post on D’Mine, I was inspired to write this.
I’m pretty sure I don’t have any depression-related issues myself. Although I questioned it a bit on Friday after a couple of rough weeks, I’m pretty sure it’s just the run-of-the-mill doldrums. Honestly, I wouldn’t be able to explain how I would know if my discouragement was something more serious. How does a person know if they are depressed? I can only imagine it’s like how you know when you’ve fallen madly head-over-heels in love with someone: it’s hard to describe those feelings, but if it happens, you’ll definitely know.
When I read these blog entries, like the one I mentioned earlier – as well as this one and this one – and then I read the comments that follow, it exemplifies for me just how important it is to respect and care for one’s mental health as well as physical health. I see the how burdensome and emotionally draining this can be, and even as a mere observer, it tears me up inside to read about such great people going through such difficulty.