Living with diabetes is a monstrous challenge. If you have diabetes, give yourself a pat on the back, you’re amazing!
As strong as we all are, living each day, fighting and winning against diabetes, there are undoubtedly days where we wish we didn’t have the condition, where we just want to hibernate from the world, and hope that our diabetes will simply disappear. Unfortunately, there isn’t yet a cure for diabetes, so I, like many other people, have no escape from the condition. Diabetes is a bit like a full time job, without the pay rise, the fancy lunch meetings or paid leave.
Many people living with diabetes, may perhaps feel like they always have to be strong, otherwise diabetes will beat them. There is a huge amount of pressure within wider society, to always be strong, to accept the fact that one has a chronic condition. Beating diabetes is a great train of thought, and is a very good source of motivation to maintain one’s diabetes.
However, it is very difficult to keep up this mentality, every hour, of every day, of every month, of every year. Diabetes is tiring enough, without the emotional side of it. This is sometimes made more difficult by the existence of the social stigma of mental health. It is widely recognised that there is some level of correlation between chronic conditions, and the likes of anxiety and depression.
The social stigma needs to be broken. People need to know that it’s acceptable not to feel ok all the time. Sadly, it is going to take a lot of time and effort to make everyone in society to realise this.
There are all sorts of reasons why people might not feel comfortable talking about how they’re feeling, especially sharing these feelings with close relatives/friends. Someone may feel guilty about feeling the way they do, they might fear being laughed at or not taking seriously. They may feel talking pointless, if they think the other person won’t be able to empathise. Whatever the reason, many people often end up struggling, alone. This loneliness makes the diabetes journey an even more tiresome and challenging one.
Diabetes UK have recently recruited a strong team of peer support volunteers, to try to reach those who are struggling in their diabetes journey. The peer support scheme is intended to make it easier for people who don’t know who they can turn to, to share their issues with someone, rather than struggling on their own.
We are not healthcare experts, but we are good listeners, and we have a wealth of resources, to help you get the help you want/need. If you start to feel like diabetes is taking over your life or that you don’t know how to manage, then we’re here to help. It doesn’t matter how trivial you think your worry is, we will be there to listen. We have first hand experience of living with diabetes, so it is very likely that we will have at some point, felt the same as you!
Every person’s experience of diabetes, is very different from the next person’s experience. However, it is unlikely that any one person will have a ‘perfect journey’ of managing their diabetes. No one should ever feel like they can’t ask for help.
The Peer Support Scheme volunteers have recently set up a blog, which we hope will become a very useful portal of information. There is also a Facebook page and group. We’re so high-tech, you can even catch us via our Twitter @LouPeerSupport and @AndyPeerSupport