Type 1 Diabetes: Do You Have Someone to Lean On?
I did my best to deal with my diabetes diagnosis on my own at 18 years old. I didn’t do well by any means. When you are handed a full-time chronic illness like diabetes at 18, it’s all you can do to keep yourself alive. I was dating a guy that wasn’t very helpful or supportive with medical problems. He was okay at first, I even married him a couple years after diagnosis, but a few low blood sugars and a visit from the paramedics later he called me names and made comments about my diabetes. He began treating me like a burden. I’m sure we both wish we’d said and done things differently. I divorced him and began to realize that no one was coming to rescue me from diabetes. I needed to take care of myself.
I’ve dealt with both sides of the relationship coin. I was lucky enough to meet a wonderful man who was supportive and kind and helped rebuild me after seeing the ruins that were my self-esteem. We’ve been together now for 17 years and married for 14. He’s seen a lot of diabetes drama during that time, but he never made me feel like a burden.
I try not to make diabetes too crazy for him. Sometimes you really can’t help it, like when you are sick or during extreme lows or highs and the craziness rocks the house, but when I can do things without assistance from him, I do. Aside from sick days, in all our years together he has only had to jump up and run for a snack for me once. It was when I doubted that my legs would even get me to the kitchen in a severe low. I know everyone is different and deals with it differently, but I try to handle the physical aspects of diabetes on my own. He may not be able to rescue me completely from diabetes, but I lean on him greatly for the emotional part of it. In a weird way, he did kind of rescue me. He always knows how to uplift me when I’m down, or scared, or dreading a test. He gets me through the hard times, and that makes all the difference in the world.
I can’t help but fear the future. I try not to, but with diabetes fear seems to be as much of a symptom as the high and low blood sugars. Fear is powerful and crippling, but when you have someone to lean on, it helps you look at the positive more than the negative. It has a way of keeping you from curling into a ball and feeling overwhelmed. Of course, the person you choose to lean on doesn’t have to be a romantic relationship it can be anyone – even someone from the diabetes online community that understands the feelings that accompany diabetes. Just make sure you have someone that listens and cheers you on when you need it, it makes a huge difference in how you deal with your diabetes. I know there are people out there that won’t judge you because of your diabetes, I couldn’t be more thankful that I found one.