Madness, Madness, Madness
You probably don't want to read this.
Today's prompt: The Other Half of Diabetes - "We think a lot about the physical component of diabetes, but the mental component is just as significant. How does diabetes affect you or your loved one mentally or emotionally? How have you learned to deal with the mental aspect of the condition? Any tips, positive phrases, mantras, or ideas to share on getting out of a diabetes funk?
How has it affected me mentally/emotionally? I'm going crazy and I'm driving the people around me crazy. How have I learned to deal with it? I haven't. I suck it up. I try to keep the mask firmly in place so no one notices.
Over the past decade, I have been assigned two shrinks and been sent to numerous help sessions. What I got out of it was that I should shut up and suck it up. We're not supposed to talk about the ugly side, feelings of anger, despair and betrayal. No yelling. No tears. No accusations.
Instead we are supposed to chant that "Diabetes doesn't have me. There is nothing I can't do." Except drive home after grocery shopping.
Depression screening consists of asking "How often do you feel like a failure?" followed by "You're fat. You're old. You don't need to control your blood sugar as tightly anymore with the years you have left. You're exercising all wrong." I am probably the only person who is bothered by the metaphorical significance of a treadmill.
My shrink told the group she understood what it's like to have diabetes. She hates driving behind people who drive the speed limit and waiting in line at the grocery store. Yeah, that's exactly what it's like.
She advised me to get a better job. I worry about getting fired. I've always worried I'll be fired.
"You should go out with your girlfriends." I don't have friends. Acquaintances I ask say no. Saying no is empowering and I am a person to whom it is easy to say no. Besides, they're too busy doing things with their friends.
At the meeting, on one of those giant pads of paper, she had two columns: What we should do to alleviate stress and what we shouldn't do. I looked at the left side and all of the things listed tend to twist me into knots, increasing my anxiety: transcendental meditation, breathing (I tend to stop breathing, unsure where I am in the pattern of inhale/exhale), yoga (literally tying my already crooked spine into knots), etc. I looked at the right side: drinking, mindless tv, chocolate. Those work, especially if combined in sufficient amounts.
The black dog is getting larger and more frightening.
I've lived with him a long time, longer than I've had diabetes. A mother who viewed being nurturing and nice as something stupid people do. Family members with bipolar disorder or dementia. My scoliosis and the years in a Milwaukee Brace. Two breast biopsies where the anesthetic kicked in long after the procedure was over. Screaming bosses. Bullies.
People who don't get bullied don't get it. "It didn't really happen. They didn't say those things, do those things and if they did they didn't mean them and if they did I shouldn't mind. I shouldn't let it bother me. Why am I making this such a problem?" Nothing appears to be wrong. I function. I take care of everyone else's needs, meet my responsibilities. I can be counted on to show up and get the job done right.
I can't breathe. The twisted spine everyone insists is straight (despite what the xrays show) may be the cause of the mildly restricted capacity.
I can't dance.
The panic attacks and the days when I can't stop crying and I think about dying as a relief are more frequent. I thought, once my mother died, it would be like taking off a winter coat and boots in Spring. After more than half a century, maybe it's too late. I can't find the zipper.
You probably don't believe me.
You probably don't believe me.
Therapy is successful. I've learned my lesson well.