Those of you that know me will know that I am not one to readily expose my emotions. In fact I am somewhat reticent to for many reasons. Here is me doing something that I usually don't really do. I want some form of catharsis.
Many of us know the numbers. Chances are, you are that one in four. One in four persons with diabetes will develop depression to some extent. I am that one in four. The twenty five percent. I am the depressive in the room.
I suppose that I might as well start from the beginning, the beginnings of my mental health issues that is.
This post will upset. I don't care about that. For me this is the catharsis that I need.
Three years ago this month I lost my Dad in a particularly traumatic manner. Well, I won't try and hide it. My Father killed himself in a park near where I worked and where I have many fond childhood memories of. I suppose this is where the over bearing theme of the past three years originates from. To say that the eighth of April 2010 was a bad day is something of an understatement.
Over the next eight or so months I struggled on. Partners both helped and hindered during this time. I was also unemployed for two of those months which didn't do great things for my mental health. I dropped out of my first university course. I found a job. I found a girlfriend. The girlfriend left me. The day to day rigors of diabetes. The day to day rigors of twenty first century life. All took their toll. I am still counting the cost.
In September of 2011 I started a new life here in Oxford. I started the life of a student nurse. My chosen career is something that I can only look back on in happiness. Although there have been many ups and downs through the past two years, I wouldn't change it. I am truly fortunate in having found something that makes me so very happy and that I also happen to get paid for when I qualify. Nearly two thirds of the way through the course, I am scared that I will soon be solely responsible and accountable for many things. The foil for this is that I love and enjoy every moment of my job.
Diabetes has always played quite a part. I started pumping on the twelfth of April 2010. I don't regret starting to do this then. At the time it gave me something to focus on and direct energy into. To keep me busy and not too think too much. What does rankle somewhat is that I am now attached to a machine to keep me alive. Every minute of every hour of every day of every week of every month of every year. If there is something that does an exceptionally good job of telling you that you have a broken body part yet counters this by helping me keep what nature has challenged me with in decent check then this is a good thing. I have my ups and downs. I suppose every diabetic has these. I would suppose that I have these more so given the somewhat traumatic events of this month three years ago.
A lot has changed since I started to use a pump. My weight has shot up. I was about seventy five kilos when I started pumping and I am now ninety five kilos. Quite the change. My body has stretch marks in all the usual places that weren't there three years ago. My mind has been to some very dark places that I never thought I would find myself in three years ago. My stomach is a patchwork of scars from where I have used various infusion sets. It is a canvas of haematomas from sets that have gone bad or went in badly and hurt like hell. It has bald patches where the infusion sets have torn hair from me.
I am not the happy go lucky young lad that I was three years ago. I am a world weary cynical twenty two year old who is somewhat suspicious of humanity. I haven't really let people close to me in the past three years. Only lately have I started to let people back close to me. You know who you are if you're reading this. An air has blown into my heart these past three years. I have been down a happy highway yet I cannot go there again. There is a land of lost content within me. I see it shining plain. No matter how much I try, I still see it. I still wish I was there. Despite all the good that has happened in the mire of crap that I have had to deal with over the past three years I still yearn for that place where I cannot go again.
I am a slave to numbers. Blood glucose readings. Basal rates. Bank balance. Exam and assignment results. HbA1c. Average pre meal blood glucose. Post meal blood glucose. You will learn by the numbers that I will teach you. Most of the numbers are to do with diabetes. Something I didn't ask for. Something I was lumbered with. I play the game that it brings me to. I play it not for a season's fame. Not for a ribboned blazer. I play it so I can pass on the torch that burns on as brightly when it was tossed to me. I try to do this no matter how charged with punishments the scroll. No matter what comes against me. I still have to carry on. Because I have no choice but to. I cannot win this game. I can only draw it. Diabetes seems to have it in for me. Deep within me there is something that has clapped a hand upon my shoulder and sent me into bat in the dimming light. To play the game. To keep me going. Whatever this reserve is, I am grateful for it. It keeps me going. It rallies my ranks of wearied mind and body parts. It gets me out of bed to face the day.
Mental and emotional health are quite something. We know the numbers. I am the twenty five percent. I resent the way that diabetes has helped to take those away from me. I hate that of all my memories diabetes has been present the longest. I cannot recall life without it. I know no different . It has taken much from me. It continues to take.
But I carry on. I carry on because deep within me is something that rallies me. Something that makes me carry the torch. To hold it with pride and carry on. Today hasn't been a good day. Tomorrow may well be better. I just have to take things one day at a time I suppose. I carry on because I know nothing else other than dogged determination. The drive to see me through is still there. I will see everything through. I will not fall by the wayside. I will stay even with the challenges of diabetes and my other mental health troubles. Today has been a low point. Tomorrow will be a bit higher.