So. Hi there.
I’ve been gone for a bit. I made this blog private while I was resisting the intense urge I had to delete it and forget that it ever existed.
When I started blogging, it was a class project that I had no plan to keep up with but the end of the semester coincided with the first annual DBlogWeek and I decided to give blogging without a grade hanging over my head a shot.
And I loved it. I loved connecting with the D-OC in this way that was new and different for me.
I was far from a daily writer, but I wrote when I was moved to. I loyally participated in DFeast Fridays, then I decided to go for my first NaBloPoMo, and a few months later, I participated in the inaugural HAWMC.
During that time, I realized that a few people were reading and, on occasion, were feeling some sort of connection to my words and experiences. The private tweet or email or comment that I’d get once in a while saying “hey, me too” was more than I could have ever hoped for.
Throughout my time in grad school, my blogging has been sporadic at best. I’ve found that most of the time, something has to be “wrong” in order for me to feel compelled to write. So over time, my posts became heavier and more emotionally charged. Actually, I’d say almost everything over the last year has been entirely emotionally fueled. I’ve always said that the things that are the most difficult to write are those that most need to be written, but everything I was writing felt as though I was bleeding onto the page.
Over time, the “hey, me too” gave way to the sound of silence. As the posts became more intense, the responses dwindled and those that I did get became more and more negative.
As I was discussing the irony of being a psychiatric nurse battling with a relapse of an eating disorder, I was told I was being irresponsible and glamourizing the lifestyle. While trying to display that no one is immune and that mental health issues can impact the people you’d least expect who appear to have all their crap together, I was being admonished for actually being who I am – someone who for all intents and purposes is a productive member of society fighting a very private and lonely battle… against myself.
I was being judged by the people who I was looking to for support. When I was in most dire need of the quick “me too” or “hang in there” message, I was very loudly being told that not only was my voice unwanted, but such things had no business being discussed in “a poorly attempted diabetes blog.” (Yep, that's a direct quote).
While I had everything locked down and didn’t feel as though I was obligated to write, I realized why I hadn’t been strictly blogging about diabetes. Not only is there far more to me (and all of us) than diabetes, but my experiences in healthcare with people who are truly struggling with this disease down to the very core of their being made me realize that I have no right to complain.
Of all the patients I work with in my capacity as a student, I’d say at least 75% of them have diabetes. Most are dealing with it as best they can but those who struggle have impacted my life in a permanent way. I’ve encountered the teenager in the ICU who decided the prospect of a life with diabetes was too overwhelming after the exhaustion that came after 10 years of it and overdosed on insulin. I’ve met the pregnant PWD who wanted nothing more than to be a mother, but was struggling with the potential of her future child being a PWD. I’ve met the patients in their 70s who are free of complications and want to end their lives by their own hands so they can leave this earth before complications catch up with them. I’ve seen the PWD who’s been in DKA over a dozen times due to forgoing insulin in order to be able to afford to provide it for the d-children in the family. I’ve seen the faces on adults, children, adolescents, and the loved ones of these patients when news of a new diagnosis is shared. I’ve seen the looks of shock, terror, disbelief, and grieving for the life these people “could have had” happen all at once within a tornado of emotion that I know all too well.
I’d be lying if I said having diabetes wasn’t a struggle for me at times. But witnessing people in the midst of those kinds of struggles – people who would choose to end their lives rather than live one more day with diabetes – that’s just not my struggle. My struggle is with my own demons. With my uncanny ability to be my own worst enemy and hurt my mind, my self-esteem, and my body in ways that no one can see and everyone brushes aside whenever I try to reach out for help. A demon that was resting quietly until diabetes and the twisted relationship with food that it demands for good health woke it up and it has been gaining strength and dragging me further and further down over the last 5 ½ years.
That’s my true struggle. Whether or not I’ll continue to write about it – or anything else – I’m not sure. But being in my position has given me enough perspective to know that exclusively writing about diabetes isn’t what’s right for me. It would only be a means of ignoring my true struggle and that's more than I can expect of myself anymore.