What brings me down when it comes to diabetes?
What's the toughest on my emotions?
And how do I and the rest of my family cope?
That's the Mental Health prompt for this Third Day of Diabetes Blog Week 2014, and it's also the theme for the whole month as it's Mental Health Awareness Month. There's a lot to be said about the psycho-social aspect of D-Living, and this is an issue I've been dealing with myself over time so it's very personal for me.
Two years ago, I stared down my demons and called them out, then did what I had to do in order to trap them in a dark hole and get on with my life. People in my life and the Diabetes Online Community were integral parts of being able to get a handle on my life after it seemed like I'd fallen down that dark hole of depression. Especially those who've shared their own stories of dealing with diabetes and depression, like my good friend Scott Strange who has been an inspiration and fellow warrior in fighting these fights and sharing them online.
Obviously when you're talking about mental health, it's not a matter of locking a cell door and leaving and never looking back... no, it doesn't work that way. You hear those demons rattling the door quite often, and sometimes they might even start breaking the lock or even escape -- but facing them before, you're in a better place to capture and secure them once again. That's been my world for 2+ years now, and even though they occasionally break free and screw with my mental health balance, I've been able to get everything back in order with the help of people in my life.
The notion of long-term complications brings me down the most, and it's something I've been grappling with lately as I work to get myself back on track. At times recently, my mental health has been all over the place because of these fears and it's been tough at times. I've said it before: Death doesn't scare me; it's a fact of life for all of us and it happens to everyone (unless you have a Cloak of Invisibility). What gets to me is everything that's possible short of death, those things like kidney failure or vision loss or whatever that will impact life.
How do I cope?
I do my best to not dwell, to focus on the here and now and just move forward doing the best I can. It's important to get beyond the past and what I've done or haven't done, and strive to do my best now to ensure that the future is as bright as it can be. People who triumph over devastating complications give me hope, and the people in my life give me hope and courage to face these fears.
And that's what is a key to my mental health these days.
You can see what others in the DOC have written about this topic today, and you can also follow the hashtag #DBlogWeek on Twitter to see the conversation about all of this.