All sorts of diabetes anxieties

I don’t know what I’m doing here. Am I even here?

It’s been on my mind all week. Now, there’s no escape.

Watching everyone drinking, dancing, laughing, having a good time.

Uh oh. 9pm. Injection time. Usually I’m ok.

But now, I’m not at home. I don’t want to do this. Not in public.

I feel like everyone’s watching, as I slowly insert the needle. What is no more than 10 seconds, feels like an hour.

I don’t usually feel anxious about public injections. I’ve done it a hundred times before. So why is tonight so different?

I’m sitting down, away from the crowds of people. I’m terrified that someone should nudge me and cause all sorts of dramas with my insulin.

My insulin smells so strong. Does it always smell as much as this? Anxiety emphasising the little things.

I’m sure no one else is watching. No one else can smell the insulin. No one has probably noticed I have a needle in my arm, right now. Hurry up, 10 seconds.

Finally, 10 seconds has passed. The needle is out and I can get back to the motions of the party. Another injection, another win by me.

Diabetes can be incredibly awkward, especially in public, or unusual scenarios. The above is how I felt whilst at a recent engagement party. I’m usually fairly confident when dealing with my diabetes in public. Parties are always difficult though, as I feel I am so much more aware of the people around me. Perhaps a little paranoid, even. My worry is someone intoxicated with alcohol, bumping into me, whilst I’m injecting my insulin.

It’s not happened before, but I do feel that it could happen. Alcohol decreases a person’s reaction time, and sadly I only have one pair of eyes. This means that when it comes to my 9PM background insulin time, I try to keep one eye on myself, to make sure I don’t stab myself in the wrong place. The other eye watches out for nearby ‘drunks’, who could in my view, so easily lose their balance, and topple on top of me. Ouch.

I’ve heard some people say that they do thir insulin in the toilets. but this seems hugely unhygienic – not something I’m going to do, if you don’t mind. Others just don’t bother injecting. I don’t see this as an option, as I don’t want my sugar levels to be up the creek, the next day.

Anxiety is very common in people who have diabetes, and it’s not unreasonable to worry about injecting in public, or trying to judge how many carbs are on that yummy plate of buffet food. Then there’s the issue of how alcohol interferes with sugar levels. People don’t have to stop drinking alcohol if they have diabetes, but they should bear in mind that alcohol could affect blood sugar levels for up to 24 hours after it’s intake.

I personally don’t drink a lot of alcohol. I wasn’t a big drinker before I was diagnosed for diabetes, so I don’t miss it, particularly. By not drinking, it means one less thing to worry about, diabetes-related. For the other worries that I do have, in terms of dealing with my diabetes in public, I try to help myself.

Firstly, I make sure the people I am with, know I have diabetes. That way, they won’t give me a dodgy look when I whip out my needles and insulin pens. I won’t lie, I have had some funny looks in the past, from people who don’t know I have diabetes. For those who do know, I get more of an inquisitive look, as I administer my insulin. I don’t mind these looks of curiosity, but it does feel a bit awkward. Maybe I should try to start up a conversation about what I’m doing. This would perhaps help to break the ice in future, and help to make me less worried about injecting in public.

What other things do people worry about, in terms of their diabetes in public? I’m sure whatever your worries are, someone else has the same worry, so please do feel free to share.

– Also, what do you do to handle the anxiety that comes with diabetes in public? I’ve recently become a big advocate for breathing exercises. (Psst – breathing exercises in general are fab, and discreet. There are loads of guided videos on Youtube to look at.I do this one sitting at my desk at work!)



I wish people knew that diabetes…

 I wish people knew that diabetes is a full time job. It requires effort 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year. There are no ‘holidays’ from the condition, and there are no breaks. Imagine having a full time job, family commitments AND diabetes. Tiring and tedious? Yes.

 I wish people knew that diabetes doesn’t look like anything. You break a leg, you have a cast on it to help it heal. You cut your finger, you might put a plaster on it. You have diabetes. It is invisible. The number of times I’ve had comments such as ‘you don’t look fat’ or ‘you don’t look diabetic’. I’d be rich if I had a pound for every time someone commented on what diabetes supposedly looks like.

 I wish people knew that diabetes doesn’t define who I am. I can still eat delicious foods. I can still go out and have a good time. I can still do fun things. Sure, I have to take my diabetes supplies to keep me going throughout the day, but having the condition doesn’t stop me being who I am.

 I wish people knew that diabetes has brought some wonderful people into my life. Diabetes is a very lonely condition at times. It’s easy to think that you’re the only one to have a stubborn pancreas. However, there is a whole network of people like you, out there.  No one should have to go through their diabetes-related experiences alone.

 I wish people knew that diabetes doesn’t have a cure, yet. Yet. We can hope that one day there will be. Until then, we are fortunate enough to have the likes of insulin, glucose meters, diabetes care teams, to support us. We shouldn’t forget though, that there are thousands of people around the world who are not fortunate enough to have these provisions.