Thursday, February 2, 2012

Confessions of a D-Momma

At the beginning of the year I posted about people living with diabetes and depression and/or burnout.  As parents, we ache for our children going through this each day and do our best to relieve some of their burden. Many parents go through a depression or period of mourning at diagnosis but I wonder how many feel that they may have developed depression in part because of diabetes moving into their homes?

When my son was diagnosed, it took me months before I sat and cried.  Initially I was so happy that he was alive that I didn't think beyond that.  As he grew stronger, my focus was on learning and the fear of "what if".  After months of testing and injecting, it hit me one night...I would never make him better. I would continue this routine until he would do it himself but he would not be cured. I sat alone in the dark and cried.

I moved on after that. I took control where I could because diabetes had left other parts of our lives so out of control. I found an amazing online support group.  I met some local people who became friends.  They understood my life and it made me feel less alone. I plowed through and worked on a variety of issues. I tackled the federal government and had them change the Disability Tax Credit, making it more fair for people with diabetes. I joined groups and committees. I advocated for change in a variety of areas. I organized diabetes walks, created a website and eventually began this blog.

Despite all of these great things and the encouragement of many, I always had a sense that I was not doing enough. I was inadequate. Change was slow.  Rewards were gifts to the heart.  Because most of what I did was volunteer, there was very little, if any, financial reward. Money is what makes the world go around and if you have no financial worth then what is your value? People would tell me that I should "get a life".  I should "get over it". I needed to "get a real job".
In my heart, I know my value. I know what I have done as a parent, a mother and an advocate are very important. These comments still haunt me however. They still make me wonder.  I know the good things that I have done and continue to do. I see my son's A1c when he is with me and I know that I am important to his health. I know the real value of that gift  When I begin to forget my worth, I often receive amazing emails and comments that truly light up my day. The value of these comments and the friendships I have made are well beyond a financial measure to me. 

And yet there are some days this knowledge is still not enough to see me through to the next day. The demons, the comments, the fears, the exhaustion--they are all there in the back of my head.  They lurk, telling me that I am not good enough--as a pancreas, as a parent, as a person.  The depression takes over. A black cloud hovers overhead.

Its a cloud that I cannot quite seem to easily escape. I look at myself and ask, what gives? I have a lot of blessings in my life. I have a lot to be thankful for. What is my problem?

I wish I knew. I have to fix it. I have seen many victories from many battles over the years--both personal and in the diabetes world. I should be happy with my successes. I should not be sad, depressed, blue, fearful or lack any self-worth. Perhaps its a shift that I need to make within me--to focus on the positive and push back the depression and feelings of inadequacy.   
Diabetes has taken over a lot of our lives. It has brought many changes and has brought me many blessings.  It has changed me. It has enhanced me.  It seems to have also brought a friend called depression but I won't let it win any more than I will let diabetes win.


  1. I totally get it. Ebbs and flows. We all go through them. One day at a time friend, a better day is waiting just around the corner!

  2. I have D-Mom friends and I really think their job is much harder than for a PWD (I am a PWD so I am allowed to say that!). I think we all have those dark days. Unfortunately with diabetes, it does kind of take over our lives and you don't get a vacation from that. You are a wonderful Mom & advocate!

    1. You know, coming from a mother of a child with not only T1 Diabetes but also other medical needs on his plate, it wasnt until T1 came into our lives that I felt a full plate. T1 is a full time job in itself. Someone must be on call at all times when it comes to our children. Where can can be avaliable for extreme lows to extreme highs at all times.We must always be avaliable to help our child health wise at school and sports...Always trying to explain the difficulties of diabetes to other people who are misinformed and dont know much about the disease and therefore assume how it come about.Not to mention all the doctors appointments. I know some only visit with their Endocrinologist, however in my household, we see the Endocrinologist as well as pediatrician in between the Endo appointments, then a whole list of other doctors for my child's other medical needs. And yes it can become so overwhelming that we face dark days where we want to cry, where we ask why my baby (child), what could I have done differently to avoid the unavoidable. The constant time taken to count carbs, test child, give insulin, administer to lows to keep from going into extreme low and therefore shock, constantly try to prevent extreme highs and therefore a coma. its always there nagging in the back of our minds when it comes to our children. it takes over our lives as well as the life of our child. We realize how overwhelming it is to us, but sometimes forget to ask out child how they feel. Most of us strive our best to make a positive thing out a negative within our homes so that our child always has a positive outlook at their situation with Diabetes. But really, how do they feel??? Chances are they feel as overwhelmed as we do, how in time they come to tell us I HATE DIABETES. As they should. They have every right to feel that way. As do we as parents of a Type 1 Diabetic child. We have every right to feel overwhelmed and sometimes melancholy over the situation at hand. I like you took awhile to let it sink in. Upon first diagnosis I bawled my eyes out...however nearly 6 yrs later its starting to affect me now. Now I sit and ask the questions of why and what. However also like you, I have decided not to let this disease defeat me, I have taken it upon myself to walk for the fight to diabetes, and am currently trying to muddle a letter over in my mind as an advocate concerning diabetes as well. And I am also trying to get the school on board as well. Dont beat yourself up or be so hard on yourself, you are doing a wonderful job as an advocate but most importantly, as a parent of a very special person. Keep your chin up and feel proud of what you do.

  3. Thank you for being an advocate for our children. There is no higher purpose in life than helping others. When people tell you to "get a job," I can vouch for the fact that a full time job will detract from your focus, add to your exhaustion.... it may or may not help with depression. The only way I can work full time and take care of our Type 1 is that we work 12 hour 3 day shifts, a compressed work week. One of us is always home. If I had to work 9 to 5 something would have to give.... and I'm afraid it would either be the job or her. Grab yourself some Prozac or similar, maybe try to get some exercise and catch up on sleep if you can. I hope you feel better soon. Personally, I just think the extreme lack of sleep over an extended period of time is the main culprit; that and the emotional drain that goes with managing D. And there is nothing we can do about the last. Hope you feel better soon.