The wheels of my mind have been spinning recently. A question has been popping up - why. Why diabetes? Why High? Why Low? Why isn't this easier? Why so overwhelming? Why so exhausted? Why this? Why that? Why everything?????
I've wracked up my brain, searched my soul trying to connect the dots between 2010 and the long-ago time these questions began. When the vicious daily D-cycle started. Suddenly, after so much analysis, it clicked recently. Those past and present dots came together and bridged a gap between 2010 and 1984, when it all began and started what is now a continuing, frustrating, and often overwhelming journey that many in the Diabetes World seem to know all too well.
A key changing moment in my life was meeting Suzi in 2000. She changed me. She showed me there were reasons to want to be a part of this life as fully as possible, and that I was important. I smoked briefly in college, and she motivated me to quiet and not look back. She put a focus into my life, showed me that there was something worth living for, and that despite the challenges this Diabetes doesn't equate to death. That it's not hopeless. We're in it together. Have been since September 2005. With her inspiration, I eventually find my way back to journalism and writing. Now, we're living in Indiana after moving from Michigan and we look forward to starting a family when that's meant to happen.
But through the years, despite the TV shows or Method of Escape, that Depression has remained. Like a weed waiting below the soil to spring again. As always, lurking beneath the surface and flashing its face mostly when The D-Life or other aspects of reality get tough. While I love my wife and she's stronger than most give her credit for, I simply felt it was better to keep some of my feelings and worries and depression to myself rather than bring her down, or impact her world. I'm a guy, and it's my job. My journalism experience takes over and I fend off any visible sign of emotion, instead opting to stuggle internally - it's almost like an epic battle between Good & Evil, but not.
In late 2008, we found Grace United Methodist Church. While Suzi grew up Methodist and we married in her United Methodist Church, I grew up unchurched and hadn't even been exposed to even the simplist Bible stories except for a few random days in my childhood. Our new journey with Grace offered a new channel for my fears and worries to express themselves, and it helped in finding faith and being able to regularly have Conversations with God. With this relationship that I'd never experienced before and growing spiritually, I found myself being more at ease. About Life. Diabetes. Everything. Managing the guilt, frustration, and hidden depression seemed so much easier when I discovered that I wasn't doing this alone. Not to mention that my Sci-Fi shows like Heroes, Stargate, & Smallville offered some escape each week.
Lately, even as my Family Focus and D-Life has become more of a priority, it seems as though the depression has come sneaking back into my life more regularly. The frustrations have mounted in so many different aspects of life, and this has all caused me to crave an escape even more. My work life has gotten busier and more razzled, and we've slacked in going to church even as my health has improved. I've stopped talking to God as much as I had. Now, at age 30 there are times when I feel just as lost as when I was 10 or when going through adolence. At times, I simply can't sleep and stay up to cry and be alone with my thoughts and fears without showing it to anyone. (Except maybe the dog, who just wants to offer unconditional love but is always ready for a 3 a.m. walk outside.)
I've never been medicated. And blog readers, please rest assured: Suicide has never been anything more than a passing, scattered thought in the throws of depression. Once again, my wife serves as the bringer of sunshine who talks me back from the ledge (metaphorically speaking about the cliche, not her influence). Despite my worry fear and self-diappointment, I look at her and know that there's hope. There's a reason to manage this all, diabetes and everything. That's why I do it. I've been wrong, though. Not only in cutting off communications with God, but in trying to struggle with this personally without the love and support of my wife.
So, I'm going to put some plans in place. Talk to My Wife More. My Pastor. My God. Counseling. D-Support Groups. Take a leadership role in JDRF Advocacy. I'm going to find those Active Conversations with God that helped sooth my soul in the past year. Get my worklife back together and manage my daily time more efficiently. Balance out the Diabetes Frustrations and frequent-rollercoastering blood sugars. It may very well start with a haircut. I am currently looking pretty shaggy, and it fits a lifelong pattern that the more shaggy I feel the less productive and worthwhile I feel. It's time to get a trim and start anew, fresh and productive.
In researching this online, I found a TuDiabetes thread from 2007 that Manny had started. It's here, and is also includes a link to a Vlog about Diabetes and Depression. (Warning: Can be rough to watch).
Find any essence of hope in your life and focus on that, communicate as much as you can, and look to the future. We're only here for a short time. It's just not acceptable to live a life off balance, because there's too much sunshine. Know that you're lucky. And even if you're Not MacGyer, the New And Improved MacGyver Coming Soon, or Jack O'Neill or Sylar, Your Life with Diabetes is one of hope and adventure and anything you want it to be. There's not a need for escape. Not when you have these Happy Thoughts to reflect on and share your life with. Life is good, even with the D.