A dangerous pastime. I know. Always thought Beauty and the Beast was one of the better Disney films...

Anyway, a lot of the recent blogs and discussions that I've been reading around the D blog-sphere have gotten me thinking a bit more about my situation and, in particular, the way I feel about diabetes.

I've had people ask me about how I feel about having diabetes before and I usually just give kind of an odd look. I've had it so long, that while I get frustrated with it some times, I also get frustrated that I let myself get sunburned a few weeks ago. Like the color of my eyes, it just is.

Then I started thinking about what I remembered as a child finding out I had diabetes. About the only strong memory I have from being diagnosed at age 7, was that I had a disease. I would have this disease the rest of my life and that it would probably kill me by the time I was 25. It was "the sugar diabetes" and it was all bad.

I doubt that was a conscious decision, but I think I stopped dreaming about my future goals somewhere in all that.

I used to say I was going to be a fireman or an astronaut when I was a kid, as so many do. But after I got D, I have no memories of ever having that type of dream again. Even as I became an adult, I never really reached for anything for myself. I seemed to be living in the present only. Having children changed that some because, as any parent, I want my children to have a better life than I've had. I've always worked hard to give them a good life and have been rewarded for that work, but I never really had a goal of being in management, it just happened. But besides that, I really have no interest or even desire to really dream for something past the day-to-day we all go thru. Maybe, I have a subconscious dream to see grandchildren or just to outlive those folks who told me that all those years ago.

Today, 20 years after I was supposed to be dead, I find a reason to get out of bed every day (mostly because I don't want to be jobless, living under a bridge in a box). But everyday, I fight a battle. At best, that battle will end in a draw. But, realistically, I'll probably lose. Yet, it goes on, I'll be fighting for another 20 years, I simply do it. But I think I've lost the ability to have those dreams. I'm sure my depression has alot to do with this as well, and in fact, my depression may largely stem from being told those things. I don't know.

I'm not even sure why I'm writing this or if I'll even publish it. I guess it's therapeutic, maybe I'm just too pragmatic. Life seems to be a long series of compromises. Maybe my compromise for diabetes was that I'd stop worrying about my dreams so I can worry about today.

Don't make that compromise.

Views: 23

Comment by Kathy on July 30, 2009 at 6:46pm
Been there, done that, a thousand times over.
I grew up in an extended family of over 30 types 1's - I think we'd all be second cousins to each other or something like that. My g'ma had 8 siblings and it was the grandchildren of these people who got the D - nobody outside of that generation.
By the time I was diagnosed in my late teens, I had personally witnessed several people dying long, slow deaths from horrible complications. (Bear in mind this was 1974).
I took it for granted that I would not live to see my 20th D anniversary, so pulled out all the stops and did nothing to take care of myself - what difference would it make?
I never pursued a career of my liking - just took the first job that would hire me - back then there was a lot of discrimination. Never saved for the future, etc.
Well, it's a freaky feeling to look back on 35 years of db being lived as if each day were your last. I was just simply planning to die, I guess. ............................sigh.
So now I've even lived long enough to feel the effects of aging that normal people my age do. That's even weirder.
I was at Target the other day and they already have 2010 calendars. My first automatic thought was, "where will you be a year from now, health-wise? don't forget that a lot can happen diabetes-wise in a whole year - better not buy that calendar yet". Every major holiday I still have a few minutes of thinking it might be my last - last birthday, last Christmas, etc.
I suppose we could look at this as db teaching one to live fully in the present moment. And, I do get a lot of satisfaction from the simple pleasures. But shoot, it was hell wasting the entire decades of my 20s, 30s and 40s being preoccupied with death and disability. Want to come to my pity party, or shall it just be for one?
Comment by Melissa Lee on July 31, 2009 at 12:00pm
I want to thank you, Scott, (and Jim and Kathy) for sharing this perspective. Depression and the struggle with our mortality are other closeted features of diabetes that we don't talk about enough.
Comment by Scott on July 31, 2009 at 1:11pm
You hear so much about depression and diabetes, but I wonder if the incidence of depression in diabetics is higher than the incidence among other people with chronic diseases.
Comment by Kathy on July 31, 2009 at 5:50pm
My theory is yes. If db can affect the nerves, then why not the neurotransmitters - the chemicals that conduct the impulses between the nerve cells?
Plus the stress of the demands of daily self-care doesn't help set things right either.
Comment by Kelly Rawlings on July 31, 2009 at 7:02pm
Kathy, you won't have to party alone at the pity party! I'll bring the hats and streamers.

I suspect that conditions that result in constant physical pain, such as rheumatoid arthritis, are likely to have more incidence of depression. I bet there aren't all that many studies of type 1 and depression!

But because diabetes is one of the few chronic condition that comes with so much behavior modification and daily positive and negative feedback (those handy little blood glucose meters), I wonder how that plays into depression in addition to any chemical problems that may affect neurotransmitters?
Comment by Scott on July 31, 2009 at 7:53pm
one of the newest T2 drugs works on dopamine in the brain to help reset the "body clock". Dopamine figures heavily in depression and I though that was a very brilliant approach
Comment by Kathy on July 31, 2009 at 9:03pm
Yup. The three basic brain chemicals that antidepressants work on are dopamine, seratonin and norepinephrine. Lack of dopamine also causes Parkinson's and something else that's hard to live with --> restless leg syndrome.
Shoot, stop to think about all of the stuff that's going on in one's body and how just a tiny tip in the balance can throw everything off. Makes my head spin.
Scott, do you currently take an antidepressant? I have for about 6 years. It takes the edge off and I don't have what I used to call "crazy woman melt-downs" anymore.
Comment by Scott on July 31, 2009 at 10:18pm
yes, anti-depressants for a long time..

constantly a work in progress.. was on cymbalta for several years, but recently came off it. that was a rough one, coming off it. now on welbutrin, but still feel depressed alot
Comment by Kathy on July 31, 2009 at 11:35pm
I tI haveook cymbalta for a few years also and then it lost it's effectiveness. I now take celexa.
Comment by MomsL8 on August 1, 2009 at 8:42am
Scott - which drug are you talking about? I'd be interested in knowing. Also, I'm thankful you wrote this post. It makes a lot of us feel "normal." So - yay for courage! And it has to be therapeutic for you!


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