Living with diabetes is a huge responsibility that also requires a lot of organisation, and those two words probably aren’t the first ones that come to mind when my family and friends think of me.
In spite of this, I try my hardest, but when you are diabetic the simplest of trips or days out require a lot of forward thinking. How long will I be out? Will I be able to test or inject somewhere clean and preferably quiet? What / Where will I eat? How much medication do I need to take? I want to say that I miss the days I could just go out, but truthfully, I don’t even remember a time that I could.
Whether I’m out for the day, or out for the night, I need a lot of stuff. Blood testing kit, Insulin (both kinds), Needles, Tablets, Glucose Tablets in case I have a hypo, snacks in case my bloods start to drop, the list is endless. Not great when you want to take the gorgeous, dainty clutch bag you’ve just been bought and it’s looking more like you’ll need a rucksack to get out the door. Travelling light is not always an option.
In a more emotional sense of the word, being diabetic often feels like major baggage.
I’m lucky that my friends and family are understanding, but to be perfectly honest, it’s hard to not feel like a burden a lot of the time. There have been times, on a family day out where my bloods have dropped and I’ve begun to hypo, only to realise I had no glucose tablets or other form of sugar, and we’ve had to head back to the car or even call it a day. On a night out with friends a few months back, I underestimated how much alcohol I would drink and sent my blood sugars too high so whilst they were dancing, I was just stood fighting the urge to pass out or be sick.
Most recently, I’ve had to pull out of going to Ibiza with the girls for my best friends 21st because I’m too worried about how my body would react, my GP couldn’t recommend I go and I wouldn’t want to even risk messing up her week. I love her to bits and she was understanding, but it makes me feel so guilty, as if I’m ruining things for everyone else, purely because I can’t get a grip of my own body. As much as I like to just get on with things, I hate when reality hits and I have to accept that I’ll never be entirely “normal”. But who wants to be normal anyway hey?
Relationships are hard, at least at the beginning. From not wanting to tell any potential boyfriends, to having to try and talk them through it all and explain as much as he will need to know without scaring him off, is something I put off for as long as physically possible. It’s daunting enough for me, but I don’t have a choice, I have to face this and do my best. A partner doesn’t have to, they can walk away and it is always a worry. I’d never judge anyone who decided they couldn’t handle what being with me entails. In some ways I would respect them more for at least having the guts to walk away. After all, I’d rather have someone who really wants to be with me and face all my battles alongside me, than someone who would rather be elsewhere but was staying out of guilt or some sense of duty.
I do try bury it, but sometimes I get a genuine sense of grief that I’ll never get to be as spontaneous as I may like. Me and my best friend constantly joke about running away together. It’s often our first text to each other when we get into work, “Can we just run away? Why haven’t we ran away to somewhere hot yet?” And obviously it’s a complete joke and we never really would, but how sad that one of my first thoughts is always “Where would I get my medication??”
I don’t think the sense of guilt, or feeling of being a burden will ever truly go away. It’s something I’ll just have to get on with, and I hope that in surrounding myself with people who love me for me, needles and all, the feeling may at least ease slightly.