Quick request

Just a little favour to ask tonight. I started a petition on Change.Org last night. It’s titled “Create a “Sexual Violence” warning for all tv shoes and programmes”.

That’s pretty much all it is. Thousands of people experience sexual assault / abuse in their life time, and when it’s thrown in to films and TV, often to just cause some controversy, it can be extremely triggering and traumatic for victims. (I hate using the word victim, but it’s the best word I can use to put my point across).

So if you lovely people could sign and share it round, I’d be very grateful. It will take all of 2 minutes, won’t affect anyone unnecessarily, but it would potentially save causing further suffering to someone who doesn’t need to relive any details of a traumatic past.

Thank you! (link below)

https://www.change.org/p/ofcom-create-a-sexual-violence-warning-all-tv-shows-and-films?recruiter=816006808&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=copylink&utm_campaign=share_petition

The many benefits of pets.

Something I’ve been thinking a lot about this week, off the back of my mental health post. Pets can be a really great addition to someone who is suffering with both mental and physical illnesses.

We got our (not so) little puppy back in July. I really wanted one anyway, I was unemployed so had time to train him up, and to be honest, I was really lonely when Keith was out at work, especially with him staying away quite frequently. I’d been trying my luck for a while, and after a spate of break ins round our estate, I managed to convince him a guard dog would be a really good idea. Yano for safety and stuff.

We looked at rescuing one, as ideally that’s what we both would have liked to do, but with me wanting to try and train him as a possible diabetic alert dog, plus having the cats, we decided we’d be best getting a puppy. On the Thursday, we set a budget, had a look around and on Sunday (I’ve never been known for my patience) we broke our budget and did the 8 hour round trip to Essex to bring home our Golden Retriever, Max.

If you follow me on Twitter, or basically any social media, you’ll know I’m always posting photos of him. I adore him. He quickly became a brilliant guard dog, barking whenever anyone comes to the house, never being aggressive, but just alert. It put my mind at rest massively. Someone actually did try to get in to the house while Keith was away a couple of weeks ago, and I think Max scared them off, because for a 5 month old, 17 kilo puppy, he sounds a lot bigger!

Mentally, he’s helped a lot. I absolutely adore our two cats, and they can be really affectionate, but they’re very independent and not often very interested in sitting cuddled up on the couch. Max is the total opposite, if anything, he’s too clingy, but I can’t help but love it.

Now I’m not suggesting for a second that you should get a pet just to make you feel better or to cheer you up. Puppies especially, are really hard work and there were some days when I thought I’d cry because he was peeing all over the carpets and biting anything and everything. With some stern words and lots of training, he’s now (touch wood) really well behaved. He’s going to be such a big dog, it was vital we got him trained early. But he’s really helped me. Not just for the big furry cuddles whenever I need them. It gave me a reason to get up, a reason to get out the house. I could take him out to the park, get some fresh air, just have a bit of purpose and focus. You can’t sit on the couch in a ball if you’ve got a puppy that needs fussing or taking out.

When it comes to being a diabetic alert dog, he has not picked it up at all. We had a glorious couple of months where Diego (the black cat) would notice if I was having a hypo. He’d scratch at me and bite me until I realised what was up, even if I was asleep. I mean, there was also the time when he picked up the packet of glucose tablets I was using to treat my hypo and ran off with them in his mouth, so I guess it all balances out. He soon lost interest, but it was brilliant while it lasted.

At the end of the day, alerting me to blood sugar changes wasn’t a big issue for me, it just would have been a nice bonus. All 3 pets are so docile and loving, and that’s the main thing. They’ve all helped so much in their own ways, and they’ve brightened my life after the past year more than I could explain. If you’ve got the time and the money, not to mention the patience, it really might be something worth considering.

(Pictures of aforementioned pets below, Max at 9 weeks and Max at 5.5 months, Diego and Paco below on the couch.)

World Mental Health Day.

With it being World Mental Health Day, I thought I’d share a little post.

I came out of my last job, back in December for mental health reasons. I wrote about it, I don’t need to bore you all again, but it was tough. The ten months that followed weren’t any easier.

On paper, I am so blessed. I’m healthy (dead pancreas aside), I got engaged in February, I get married next October, I’ve got 3 animals that I absolutely adore, we moved from a little flat I hated into a house with a garden, and my family are all very loving and supportive.

But it wasn’t enough. I wasn’t myself. On the surface I probably looked fine, but inside I was falling apart. I hated life. On more than one occasion, I honestly decided everyone would be better off without me, and nearly acted on those feelings. How Keith put up with me this year is beyond me. I had the worst mood swings, I lashed out, I was constantly crying for no reason. I lost count of the amount of days I could barely get out of bed. If I showered or brushed my hair, that was a bonus.

I’ve been on a waiting list for counselling since October 2016. I chased it up in June and was told I was still about a year away from being seen. I was that low at that point, I didn’t know if I planned on being around in a year. I was offered group counselling, to try and at least help the anxiety. Ironically, I explained that my anxiety would be way too high to do something like that, talking with a room full of strangers. I was told if it was noted that I’d refused, I’d be pushed back on the list, so I reluctantly accepted.

I didn’t expect to be lucky enough to land a job in the time leading up to the first session. I rang and explained I wouldn’t be able to make it, my reasons why, and was there alternative sessions I could attend etc? I was told I’d be sent a letter confirming.

2 weeks later, I’ve had a letter, DISCHARGING me from the mental health service. I’ve tried ringing and pleading my case, only to be told I’ll go to the back of the waiting list now.

I’m very lucky in that this new job has given me a focus and a sense of purpose, for the first time in a long time. I’m not cured, and I could wake up tomorrow and feel awful again, because that’s the way of depression. But how is it in 2017 and with more people than ever being diagnosed with depression, there is still such a massive shortage of help available? This past year we’ve lost some big celebrities to depression, and yet some people still think it comes down to materialistic things.

If you’ve never suffered depression, I’m well aware that you will never fully understand it. You see throwaway comments all the time, “why not just do this” “why don’t you try this” etc. There was times where I was telling myself that. People don’t necessarily understand that it’s an actual medical condition, an imbalance in the brain that you can’t physically see. You don’t have to be able to understand something, to be able to help. Everyone deals with depression differently. Little gestures can make the world of difference to people. Ask how people are. Ask about their day. Just talk, be there. Some days, I wanted Keith to leave me well alone. Other days, he sat next to me, in silence, just holding my hand. And it helped.

Don’t assume someone is attention seeking for being brave enough to speak out, always listen to what they have to say. Unfortunately, as with all things, there will be people who greatly exaggerate. People who have one bad day, or one bad thing happen and they decide it’s depression. There’s a huge difference between feeling down or sad, and suffering depression.

It really doesn’t take much to be nice, as cliche as it sounds. You never know the difference you could have on someone’s day, the impact that smiling at someone could have.

I told you I was running out of things to say…

After a long break, I finally feel as if I can carry on doing this blog, and actually have something worthwhile to say. Well, kinda.

The thing is,  diabetes literally comes in to every part of my life. So why is it so hard to think of things to write? I think my anxiety comes in to it quite a bit. A couple of negative comments, and I just go into myself. I can handle constructive criticism, I welcome it in fact. But the odd email telling me “You deserve to be diabetic” or that “your writing is rubbish”, it’s enough to make me want to just shut it all out for a while.

However, I’m feeling quite productive today, so I’m seizing the opportunity and I’m throwing myself right back in there.

Something I’ve been considering for a while is setting up a Twitter page, kind of like a support page for diabetics, friends and family of diabetics, and anyone who is just curious to learn a bit more. I’ve finally convinced myself to do it, and whilst I’m not sure if it will take off, I thought it was worth giving things a go. On Facebook, there are so many support pages which I’m really lucky to be a part of, but it seems as though there is a bit of a gap in the market on Twitter. I’m looking at posting facts, memes, any submissions from followers etc. I’ve even been looking into selling some bits through it, t shirts, mugs etc. It might flop, but it might help someone, and in that case, it will be worth it.

If you’re interested, the @ is @t1lazypancreas

It’s very new, I’m yet to do much on there, but in the coming days, I’m hoping to revamp my blog and get the Twitter page going. I might even do an Instagram, but let’s face it, I’m getting ahead of myself now.

Thank you everyone who is kind enough to read and support this blog, it might not seem like much, but it can be very daunting to just put your life out there on the internet for judgement, and I’m so grateful that the majority of the comments are also positive.

Much love, H x

The rambles of someone running out of things to say…

Diabetes literally plays a part in every aspect of my life, so why is it that the past couple of weeks, I’ve gone to write a blog and came up totally blank for things to say? It’s ridiculous, and whilst I’m probably just overthinking it, it’s frustrating me greatly. I’m quite keen for suggestions on things to write about, so if anyone has any diabetes related queries or questions they would like answered, please get in touch. Non Diabetic suggestions are also welcomed, but I’m not as well qualified to give advice on most other things…

Hopefully in the near future (if things all go to plan) I’ll have a couple of new experiences and aspects of life to write about, but for now, I’m keeping quiet.

Bit of a pointless post really, but wanted to keep the blog active and up to date, mostly to show that I hadn’t disappeared again! I’ll be racking my brains for something new to talk about, I may even branch in to writing blogs in general, rather than diabetes specific. It’ll still play a huge part of course, that much is unavoidable.

In the meantime, as I said, any suggestions or ideas, let me know.

Thanks!

Highs and Lows

It was brought to my attention recently that in all my diabetic ramblings, I’ve never gone into the effects or symptoms of high and low blood sugar in much detail. Quite an important part of understanding diabetes really, isn’t it?

For all you lucky non diabetics out there, your blood sugar would usually sit between        4.0 mmol – 7.0 mmol. I’m aware that those figures have recently been reviewed and they now say that the highest ideal figure is 5.9 mmol, but I’m not sure why as I know a lot of healthy non diabetics who often have their sugar levels in the 6s. Lets be honest, the way the media and so called experts chop and change with advice on most things these days, I’m inclined to think as long as you’re healthy and your doctor isn’t concerned then you’ll be fine.

Low blood sugar occurs when there is too much insulin in your system. It can also be brought on by not eating, in diabetics and non diabetics alike. Also, sometimes, just diabetes. It’s a volatile, awkward, stubborn and often inconvenient disease that cares not for any plans you may have. Take me this morning for example. I was up until about 5am, because lately I’ve apparently became nocturnal. “Doesn’t matter” I thought,” I’ll sleep in tomorrow and go about my day.” Ha. It’s like I haven’t had this thing for the past 14 years.

Bang on 8am this morning, I awoke with the familiar pulsing vision, with black splodges seriously impairing my sight. I was clammy, my head was spinning, I could feel myself shaking all over. I groaned, rolled over, scanned my sensor which told me my glucose level was 2.2 mmol (the lowest reading possible on my sensor before it just reads LO) and grabbed my Lucozade off my bedside table. I keep one there at all times, it makes life so much easier than me trying  to stumble anywhere when I’m about as steady on my feet as Bambi on ice. I also start to slur quite heavily, talking in very stilted sentences, because I’m having to literally plan out what it is I want to say in advance. It’s like every single little function that you usually do without a second thought, becomes this new alien concept that you have to really think about, and force yourself to do. Symptoms vary dependant on the severity of the hypo, and as ridiculous as it sounds, on the time of day. A hypo during the day often barely slows me down. However, mornings like today when I wake up already low, I’m pretty much written off for the day. “Hypo hangover” I like to call it. I also become incredibly snappy and grouchy with low blood sugar. (More than usual).

High blood sugars, whilst not as debilitating as low blood sugar for me personally, usually cause me the most physical discomfort. I become lethargic, groggy, and my muscles begin to tighten up and ache. My head pounds, mouth dries out and I struggle to keep focus on anything. There are few joys in life like a pint of water when your bloods go high. Imagine the morning after a night of heavy drinking, when you wake up and your mouth is so dry that your tongue is practically stuck to the roof of your mouth and you can’t even swallow. Yeah, times that by 100. It’s horrendous. I once managed 4 pints of water, 1 after the other, in about 2 minutes. And then spent the next hour freaking out about that condition where you can basically drown yourself internally from drinking too much. Yeah, told you I think too much. My sensor stops reading at about 28 mmol before just reading “HI”. It’s not very useful and the amount of times I’ve had to guestimate whereabouts I think my bloods might be sitting before administering the injection that can quite easily kill me if I get wrong is more than I care to admit. No pressure, right?

Complications from high blood sugar are the ones you read in the media scaremongering all the time. Amputation, blindness, kidney failure etc. All very real and possible options if you don’t take this disease seriously, and something I wish I had paid more thought to when I was younger. Unfortunately, I was suffering from teenage invincibility syndrome that I’m sure many people will relate to, whether through themselves or through any teenagers they may know. I’m not trying to scare anyone. I’m just putting across the potential very real situation. DKA (Diabetic Ketoacidosis) is one that you don’t hear about often, but incredibly deadly. I wrote about this briefly in my first ever blog. It occurs when your blood sugar level is so high, your body begins burning muscle instead of fat and your blood basically starts becoming acidic. I was 16 when I was rushed to hospital in an ambulance, with my kidneys shutting down and my body going into shock. A few days in a high dependency unit hooked up to all kinds of IV’s sorted me out soon enough, but it was one hell of a wake up call.

Now, I’ve said before, Diabetes changes from person to person. There could be a 22 year old girl sat reading this right now, diagnosed for the same length of time, thinking that her symptoms aren’t anything like what I’m describing. That is totally normal.

One of the joys of this condition (not) is the invisibility of it all. People are sceptical about things that they can’t physically see. If I was throwing up, or covered in a rash etc, people wouldn’t question a thing. Instead, I have to try my best to explain that I’m exhausted from the war that my own body is waging on itself from the inside. There are days when I’m so drained, it takes all my effort just to move off the couch. There are days when my muscles ache so badly, I walk like an OAP with arthritis. There are days when my skin hurts all over from jabs and needles and the bruises that often cover my stomach or thighs. It’s not just a physical exhaustion. It’s mentally and emotionally crippling at times too.

But you keep on. You have to, because the minute you let this disease win, it’s a long road back. It takes incredible strength and determination, more than people will ever realise,  all I can do is document my experiences and hope people take it all on board.

 

 

Brutal Honesty

So, as per usual, I did a couple of blog posts, spouted my usual “I’m gonna do this, I’m going to keep writing regularly” blah blah blah. Then I disappeared.

I’m not going to come up with some generic excuse, I’m not even going to try and come up with an exciting one. I’m just going to be honest. A few months ago, I began to suffer with my anxiety and depression again. Badly.I was miserable, not leaving my bed, sleeping all day, up all night. I just felt bleak, lifeless, like I was staring into this black-hole that was becoming my life. Anxiety wise, I was having between 3-6 panic attacks a day, and I mean full blown, crying, couldn’t catch my breath, ohmyhgodimgoingtopassout. I didn’t want to leave the house, I was scared of everything, I didn’t want to be left on my own, I didn’t want Keith to leave the house. I was envisaging the absolute worst all the time. It was like a Final Destination film in my head. Constantly.When it’s 6am and for the 5th night that week, you’re yet to sleep cause you’re thinking “What if so and so gets sick? What if they die?” Something has got to give.

It was exhausting and I really wasn’t coping. I was signed off work, medicated, referred for counselling etc etc. Unfortunately, one of my managers wasn’t supportive in the slightest and seemed  mostly concerned I was just taking a holiday. I wish. Long story short, I no longer work there. It was made very clear that I wasn’t particularly welcome back, and who would want to go back to that?

And here’s the thing. Within 2 days, I began to feel better. I should have felt worse, I was unemployed, with no job lined up, but I felt better. It began to dawn on me that maybe I wasn’t as happy in my job as I thought. When you’re working in a medical environment, you tend to see the worst of things. People sick, going through hell, people dying. You’re up close and personal to it all, and if I’m being honest (as the title suggests), I think I’m too soft for it all. I care, I get attached and I worry. It was no good for me.

So here I am, 22, (23 in a matter of weeks, and I still have no idea how that has crept up on me so quickly) unemployed, and I spend most of my day sat on my couch, making my cat chase a laser pen and binge watching Boxsets.

This is not going to be my life.

Self employment. The Dream. Sorting my own hours, working to suit me. Lets give it a go. But ideally, I want to be writing. I love this, I love sitting down and just pouring my heart out. I love blog posts like this, where I haven’t even had to think it through, I picked up my laptop and 30 minutes later, posted this, because it just comes to me.

So if you’re reading this, and you have any idea / contacts / tips that may be able to help me, please, please, send them my way. I would be insanely grateful.

*Inserts usual generic, I’m going to update the site more regularly from now on*

Thanks for reading x