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Losing Sleep, Can't Seem To Accept My Diabetes Reality

I haven't been able to sleep much this past month. Almost every single night, without fail, I lay in bed thinking, thinking, thinking of myself and my life without diabetes. I feel as though I am obsessed and I don't know where to direct this excess mental/emotional energy. I cannot let go of the person I was up until 2 1/2 months ago. Her life looks so much more glamorous than mine. I can't stop thinking that I took it for granted, and I should have done so much more. I am dredging up old memories that I had let go of, simply because I so desperately want to cling onto my former self before diabetes. I look at photos of myself as a child, with my family, or recently before diagnoses. This is a dangerous thing for me to do, because I feel like I won't be able to be that person again. I feel like I am in mourning. I try and fill my days with various activities, including social activities, exercise, quiet meditative time, creative time, etc. But, at the end of the day when it is time for me to go to sleep, I just lie there. I can't get comfortable and I can't stop thinking. It is to the point where I try and turn my thoughts off, I tell myself "just don't think about it, no, stop now"!

Just now I was looking over my food diary and came back to the day of December 16th, 2010. I was diagnosed that day. If I go a day prior, to December 15th, wow-it's like I am there again. A young woman WITHOUT type 1 diabetes. Lord, when I even think about it, of the reality of it, I am instantaneously filled with tears and sadness. I don't know what the experience is like for others, I can only relate to my own experience right now and it is a hard one.

I was an independent young woman, with freedom and the ability to do what I wanted when I wanted. I was living an ideal life in San Francisco and had just traveled around Europe by myself for 4 months. I had a job and money in my bank account. I was able to control my body weight through healthy eating and exercise habits. Now, I have diabetes and so many other aspects of my life have changed (whether as a result of or in coincidence with).

I can't afford to move back to San Francisco, so I live with my mom in a suburb of Seattle. I spent the first two months of my life back in the states dealing with diabetes and didn't have the energy to look for a job. 4 months later, I still haven't been able to find one. I am suffering from weight gain as a result of the insulin therapy (even though I am on a low dose and eat low carb/exercise regularly). I am emotionally exhausted and extremely depressed most of the time.

I already feel like giving up, 2 1/2 months after diagnoses. So how can I possibly cope and learn to live with this for the rest of my life? I feel such extreme panic, my heart hurts and I get anxiety just thinking about the real real realness of it all. When I do finally get to sleep at night, I wake up several times throughout the night in panic, and then remember that I have diabetes.

I am struggling with taking my insulin because it causes me to gain weight, and I have a lot of issues surrounding body image and self esteem. This, coupled with my depression is causing me to be alienated from my family as well as myself. I am not my true self right now, and I want her back so badly. When I read inspirational words or watch videos posted by people who have learned to cope with, accept and live with this disease, I want that so badly for myself. But I feel so far away from accepting it.

My 13 year old sister wrote an essay for her English class about her "older sister with type 1 diabetes". It broke my heart to read it. She talked about how when I first came back from Europe, I was so fun to be around. I bought her chocolate every day, we cuddled often and I laughed a lot. Now, she wrote, "she is depressed and cries every day".

I don't know what to do, I honestly don't. I am in therapy, which helps a little, it pulls me through that day. I have my good moments here and there. But mostly, I am an emotional mess and so filled with anxiety that I can't think straight.

Views: 327

Comment by Pastelpainter on March 29, 2011 at 1:51am
You do need to accept that you have diabetes, it will never go away. Somehow it became easier for me once I accepted that truth. Get yourself something nice to wear, or have something cleaned and pressed so you look smart and together and go out to look for a job. Try to stop thinking of yourself and think of your family instead, they must be worried out of their heads about you. Good luck!
Comment by Ant97gtr on March 29, 2011 at 2:03am
You have only recently been diagnosed so the important thing is to keep your head time you will accept it and it will move into the background of your life not requiring a second thought.
Diabetes will be a part of your had nothing to do with getting it and you can't change what happened. What you CAN do is live your life to the fullest and don't let it define who you are.
Comment by Brian (bsc) on March 29, 2011 at 5:28am
After I was diagnosed, I found things very hard. I think many of us have had these sorts of feelings. I felt like I had died and looking back, I think I sort of went through a grieving process. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross wrote about this, describing it as 5 stages, D'Nial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance. I went through all these feelings, not necessarily in order and not quickly either. I still have flashes of D'Nial and Anger, but mostly Acceptance. You need to give yourself permission to go through this process. You have a right to these feelings and you can't just turn a switch and make it ok. You did lose somebody, you lost your old carefree self who didn't have to worry every hour of every day about diabetes.

It is ok to mourn. But you need to also need to remind yourself that while you will never go back and be the person you were, you will have a bright future, you will grow to accept things, you will move on and you have every opportunity to have a full, healthy happy life, just different.
Comment by SuFu, Ph.D. on March 29, 2011 at 5:58am
Sorry you feel that way. I felt the exact same way for about the first 6 months. I wrote about my experiences as well ( I was diagnosed last May, so I know what you're going though. I was talking with a very good endocrinologist friend of mine and he said that being diagnosed with T1DM is similar to the death of a close friend/family member and the stages of grief that one must go through before finally accepting the reality (

After this talk, reading the stages and thinking about it, I realized that (for me) it was very true. Now I am as happy as I have ever been because I'm so much more in touch with my body, my family and myself. I still don't stop to smell the roses, but now I at least notice they are there.

Everything gets better with time, it's just that you have to see the good in life again. Hopefully you will have a watershed moment like I did on New Years that really put everything into perspective. I think that's already happening because you can see what is going on with your own eyes. You see how it is affecting you and your loved ones. This is good, because this is part of the acceptance of what your reality is.

Keep up the good fight! I think you're going to be just fine!

Comment by SuFu, Ph.D. on March 29, 2011 at 5:59am
Yeah, I just read what bsc said. Should have just said, I agree with bsc. lol!
Comment by She Ra on March 29, 2011 at 8:06am
Hey, we all get over-whelmed over this disease, especially in the beginning. I promise you that it gets easier. I am in my 5th year with D and the first 3 I was in denial.

Maybe some medication can get you thru the anxiety for a while, you don't' have to take it forever, it is something to discuss with your doctor.

Diabetes does not have to ruin your life, or run your life. You can learn to control and make it a part of your life, not an enhancement, but just something you have to do. It does become second nature, even with injections. I poke myself 4 times a day with insulin at a minimum and in the beginning it was awkward, but now, it is just there, like combing my hair, same thing with testing, it is just something I need to do.

Coming to the forum and sharing your concerns is a great way to get some stress relief, keep coming, keep posting, keep reading. If you don't feel better though there is no shame in seeing your doctor for a little help.
Comment by August on March 29, 2011 at 8:55am
I was diagnosed in 2008 and I'm still in shock, but I decided to take it head on..really there is no choice. I try to look at it as a change in my lifestyle, as another adverse wall I have to scale, it will only make me stronger. I too look at photo's right up to when I was diagnosed, sure there is sadness, but really things haven't changed much. I still have fun, do all the things I did, drink my wine...I just take a few meds, some insulin if needed, and deal with it. If I feel I'm starting to gain a little weight, I'll just cut some of the calorires. It's not the insulin that makes you gain the weight, it's what you put in your mouth. Anyway, hang in there..believe me I know this thing sucks!
Comment by picklebird on March 29, 2011 at 11:15am
Gosh, dear Frankie, I feel for you! And I think I'll end up feeling exactly as you do if it ever turns out that I have LADA (I'm still sticking to the orginal type 2 diagnosis) Pastelpainter, I have never found it helped when anyone told me I have to accept something. Everyone has their own speed of grieving on loss. If I don't want to accept something, I'm not gonna, no matter what logic is given to me. I'm just stubborn, I suppose.
Comment by Cathy Jacobson on March 29, 2011 at 6:27pm
Okay Frankie, now that you've had your time to mourn the loss of innocence, let's put our big girl pants on and deal with the facts that you are a diabetic whose life, health and welfare depend on you being that big girl. A little tough isn't it? Yep sure is. But you could have had anything else and not had the advice, concern, and medical care to deal with it.

First, I would highly recommend getting some counseling to deal with this.. You are NOT dying. AND if you take care of yourself, you will live a very long and productive life. Why can't you be that person you were 2 1/2 months ago? And don't you dare blame it on diabetes. Because, you can be. You can go to Europe again and be on your just have to make a few adjustments. Diabetes is not a death sentence, a challenge yes. But if you went to Europe on your own, this is just as much a challenge as that.

Second, get yourself to a nutritionist. If you have your mom go along with you, two people can hear what she/he has to say and then your eating the diabetes way won't be so hard. Can you go out with friends, why not? Can you dance, exercise, have a job, of course. As long as you take care of yourself and I believe you are strong enough to do that.

Third, check in with your doc as often as you can or need to, set up your own plan, who are my key people on my "D" team? What do I need to do to stay healthy? What kinds of things do I want to do with my life? Will I have to change any of them or adapt any of them....

Frankie, you are in shock, welcome to the place where we all start and then move from there. You are healthy and that is a good way to go from there. Come here, listen, talk and tell us what's going on.

You can kick diabetes in the ass, or you can let it kick you....but it's your game, and you decide who wins and who just watches the game of life from the bleachers.
Comment by Ira on March 29, 2011 at 6:54pm
Frankie, I went through the same thing when I was first diagnosed in 1987. I was a high school wrestler at 135lbs and lost 17 pounds in 2 weeks. Went to the doctor based on my coach's analysis and I got the great news. In any case I rejected it for a while which I regret today. I had many, many episodes of ketoacidosis in the first two years. I was in the ER getting saline iv's more than I can remember. When I finally accepted it, my life turned for the best. Don't let it get to you. Be strong and PATIENT...It will take time for you adjust and understand what I always said for years' WHY ME? GOOD LUCK and God Bless You.....


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