Grief is a very normal process that everyone goes though at some time in his or her life. People grieve after they experience the loss of a person close to them. Sometimes it is after the loss of a home in a disaster. Some people experience grief after a life altering event.
Illness is also a time when people experience grief. I've often heard about people going through the stages of grief after being diagnosed with cancer or some other life altering illness, whether it be terminal or not.
Being diagnosed as a very young child, I don't believe I experience the stages of grief in connection with my diabetes until I was much older. In fact, it was after I got out of college and got my first job that I really felt like I dealt with my grief with my diabetes.
I have noted before that I remember very little of my life before diabetes. I was only 4 when I was diagnosed, so in most ways, diabetes has just always been. It's always been present. It's always been a part of my life. And diabetes has always been in my mind, my life, and almost every aspect of my life.
Until I was out of college, I don't ever remember being mad about having diabetes. I had times when it annoyed me, sure. But I don't ever remember that anger that is deep and hot and burns you on the inside. When I got my first job I realized, in many ways, how far reaching my diabetes truly is.
Every job I ever take has to have health insurance considered. I will most likely never be a stay-at-home mom, or have the job I have always wanted (to own a day care center). I will always have to interview my employers about their health coverage and their policy on sick days, eating while at work, and taking necessary breaks.
When I realized this late in 2004, it made me very sad and very very angry. I always knew these things, but the reality of them hit me very hard during this time in my life. By early 2005 I knew I was going to loose my job teaching (my contract wasn't renewed). I couldn't work in child care anymore because most child care centers are individually owned and do not offer health insurance.
During this time I was also trying to take the driver's seat as far as my diabetes control was concerned. I had ignored it or just done what was absolutely necessary for far too long and I knew I hate to start doing everything I could to ward off the effects of many years of living with diabetes.
The stress of it was nearly more than I could handle. During this time I had great friends who helped me out. One friend in particular listened to me as I cried and wondered "Why me?". She supported me and loved me and gave me some great advise during this time in my life. **side note: this was way before I discovered the online world of the diabetes OC**
After some soul searching and some poetry writing (what I tend to do when stressed out) and many pity parties for myself, I took control of myself and my diabetes and began to deal with what life had handed me some 20 years earlier. A couple of years later I discovered the diabetes OC and websites like TuDiabetes.com that helped me connect with other people and helped me find ways to emotionally deal with the stresses of diabetes.
I wonder what my life would have been like had I been diagnosed later in life. At 12, or 17, or 21. Would the grieving process have happened earlier? Later? I'm not sure.
I'd really like to hear from others and when and how they dealt with the grieving process of having diabetes. I know there are others who have gone through similar situations and I would like to know how it effected you.