Thursday, July 28, 2011

My Big Fat Diabetes Wallow Day . . .

I’m going to say it flat out . . . . diabetes is a huge pain in the ass.  That said, I usually do try to stay positive.  Although I do my best to keep my blog honest and real, I still try to keep things mostly upbeat.  In “real life” I do my best to put a good spin on things and not let it get me down.  But not yesterday . . . .

Yesterday I couldn’t stand diabetes and every damn crappy thing that comes with it.  I was sick and tired of dealing day in and day out.  I felt so depressed and sorry for myself - and for all of my friends who fight the fight every day.  I felt too exhausted and fed up to solider on.  I couldn’t care less about tuning up or overhauling.  I just didn’t want to do it anymore.  I know there are quite a few things that led up to this melt-down and I know exactly what pushed me over the edge.  Honestly, that final straw was something so stupid that I won’t even waste my time or yours writing about it, except to say I know the exact moment when it all was just too much to handle.

So here I was, pissed off and fed up with diabetes.  I started thinking about the Friends For Life session I attended called Burnout Happens.  Joe Solowiejczyk, a long-time friend of FFL, a CDE and a man who just marked his 50-year diaversary, ran the session.  He talked about learning to take a sort of diabetes mental health day when it all gets to be too much.  Joe buys his favorite ice cream, lines up his favorite movies, and makes a phone schedule for his friends so someone will call every hour and tell him how great he does with diabetes.  I decided to give something similar a try for myself.

wallow
 The first thing I did was eat a donut for breakfast.  I decided to spend the day on the couch.  I never changed out of my pajamas, and I certainly didn’t consider getting on the treadmill.  I ate rice crispy treats.  I watched movies that always make me cry.  I ate chocolate.  I snuggled with my cat.  I ate ice cream straight from the container.  Like Joe, I counted my carbs and bolused for everything, but I didn’t worry or even care about any blood sugar spikes.  (In fact, I set my CGM alarm on silence for 24 hours, so I wouldn’t have to hear it’s shrill “look, look, you fucked up again” screeches.)  For one day, I allowed myself to think the thoughts and feel the feelings that I usually try so hard to squelch.  I let myself feel broken.  I let myself feel like a failure.  I let myself feel worthless.  I let myself be heartbroken about the fact that I’ve lived with diabetes for over 31 years.  I let myself feel depressed that diabetes just isn’t going to leave.  I wallowed big time.  And then I ate more chocolate.  The only thing I hadn’t set up was the words of encouragement from friends - but I was touched and thankful that they rolled in anyway.

support
I went to bed feeling ready for a long sleep.  I was surprised to find I slept better than I have in months.  And today I woke up feeling strong!  I woke up feeling ready to be positive about myself and supportive to others.  I woke up feeling like I actually did get a little vacation.

Honestly, we all know a day of wallowing won’t take away diabetes or change anything about it.  I’m certainly not telling anyone to sack out on the couch and eat a lot of junk.  But for me, a day to cry and curse and mope and eat a ton of crap was just what I needed.  It didn’t change a thing about diabetes, but helped change how I feel about dealing with it.  It was just what I needed to adjust my attitude, pick myself back up, and soldier on.

21 comments:

  1. Way to go doing exactly what you needed!

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  2. You rock Karen! We all need that mini-vacation once in awhile. Even though we still need to do the insulin part of having some fun food, it is good to take a day every now and then and just not worry about about the spikes. I used to do that every 3 months when I would have a doctors appointment and get my blood work done. I think I need to get back in that habit. It does make you feel better about dealing with stuff on the days that follow!

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  3. I can see why sometimes you just have to let it go a little. It's so hard to try and be perfect all the time with d.

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  4. Great post and wonderful reminder that we all need a break sometimes.

    And yeah, you are pretty awesome!

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  5. Way to go Karen! It sounds like your plan worked out perfectly. I think we've all felt what you described before and we're here for you (and eachother)...every step of the way, that's what's so great about the DOC.

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  6. We must have kindred diabetes spirits, because yesterday was my diabetes wallow day, too. Except I spent the whole day feeling guilty, but I like your friend Joe's idea better! Thanks for sharing, I will definitely have to try that out the next time I have one of those days! Thanks for keeping your blog real! I really appreciate it!

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  7. Wallow away, my friend. Sometimes it totally feels good to let it go for a little bit and feel bad about things ... but like you said, you end up feeling better after giving yourself a day to eat ice cream. :)

    Hugs to you, K.

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  8. good for you Karen! no matter how long one has had Diabetes, everyone deseves a D-vacation!! i think it may be my turn soon!!
    and next time you feel a little blue, remember ~~ you are such an inspiration to so many people, and you help and support others with your words of encouragement, so let us return the favour, if and when you need us!!! we're here for you!

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  9. You totally made me cry! You're amazing chica and I love that you took the day to just BE and you're feeling good. And that's what matters!

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  10. Sometimes you just have to wallow! Glad you 'enjoyed' your day and woke up ready to kick D's ass again!

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  11. Hey Karen,
    Sounds like the perfect way to wallow! I know my daughter will have these same sort of days and, like you, I know she'll have the good sense and intelligence to spend the day her way - eating what she likes and wants, doing what she wants to do all while keeping that insulin flowing.
    Next time, please include me in your caller list. I look forward to seeing you soon.

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  12. You made us laugh and you made us cry. My husband feel that with you as do I. You go girl.
    KEEP STORNG AND CARRY ON!!

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  13. thanks for this post. i am so glad it helped you come out the other side feeling stronger. joe solo rocks! as do you! :)

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  14. Glad you had that time: everybody needs it once in a while. I meant what I said, though: you are an inspiration, and I thank you so much. :D

    Kai'leen (qaqueen)

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  15. Guuuurrrrl. I am SO PROUD of you. Proud of you for recognizing signs of burnout. Proud of you for taking the time for yourself that you needed. Proud of you for your willingness to be transparent so others know they're not alone.

    Total Badass.

    Next time I want to share the ice cream :)

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  16. So glad it helped renew your strength. It is hard living with D, day after day. A "Wallow Day" is totally in my near future. It's either that or have a complete meltdown. Thanks for sharing this. :)

    Please know, your creative ideas (including D-blog week) have provided so much happiness for me. Thank you so much Karen.

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  17. Well, I have only had diabetes for 5 years, but I have already had burnout days. I love your idea of a wallowing day. As long as they aren't every day. :)

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  18. Thank you so much for sharing this tidbit of news. I think it's a really healthy way to manage the burnout.

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  19. Thank you for this. It helps.

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  20. YOu are so darn strong Karen! Love that KC shared the day with you

    im not diabetic but I cant have donuts anymore either.....got to lose some weight!

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  21. I hear you, Karen! I took a vacation from diabetes in May and blogged about it. Being type 2 means that my vacation was a bit different but the catalyst and end result were the same. I ate what I wanted, within reason and didn't touch my meter all day. I just lived my day and didn't think about diabetes. I sure would have loved to have some ice cream and chocolate. :) Well done you!

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