Monday, June 14, 2010

Protecting Myself?

I consider the D-OC my support group. There are so many of you out there who are my friends and the people I can talk to, complain to, and laugh with. You've each done something special for me. Some of you may not even know the ways that you've touched my life.

That being said, we all know how much we love our Meet-ups. There's something special about seeing each other face to face. Have someone to talk to in person is a very unique thing.

A little over a year ago the Middle Tennessee JDRF chapter started up an Adult Type 1 support group. I went several times, but the drive is nearly 2 1/2 hours, so it's difficult to make the trip. After a while it seemed like I was always busy on the days they were having the meetings, or I was out of town. Something always seemed to get in the way. This month I actually got my act together and made it to the meeting.

Several of the people I'd met before. And there were a few newbies too. I love getting to meet new people with diabetes.

During the course of our meeting, the subject was brought up about sharing with people how diabetes effects your life. Not sharing with other diabetics. But sharing with your family, significant other, friends, and co-workers. I'm pretty much an open book....up to a point.

I will tell my friends or co-workers that I'm not feeling well because I've had a crazy blood sugar day. I'll share that I've had major highs or lows. But I don't really get that deep into it. I will leave it at "Oh, I had a rough night. My blood sugar was way too low and then I over treated and it was way to high. I'm sick/exhausted/have a headache, etc." But I don't really get into the emotional aspect of it. Or how bad it really was.

I have said before that I like to protect my family (especially my mother) from my extreme highs and lows because it scares her and makes her worry and cry. These are things that I don't want to make my mother do/feel. I also don't like my friends to worry about me. I tend to skim over details with them and let it go at that. It gives them enough to know what's going on, but keeps enough from them so that their worry and panic isn't taking over.

One of the other people at the meeting said that they don't want to protect their loved ones. That they want them to know what's going on and the implications. And then someone said that not telling people wasn't something they did to protect people. Essentially what the person said that that he/she wanted to protect himself/herself from dealing with the questions and worry from others.

On my way home (I had 2 1/2 hrs to think about it after all), I was thinking about that. And I thought to myself, "Am I really doing that to protect the people I love. Or am I doing it to protect myself from the guilt?"

And after thinking about it for a while, I really do think I do it to protect myself from the guilt and the questions. I don't like to worry my family and friends. I don't want to deal with the incessant questions that come when I have a particularly bad high or low. I don't know how to deal with the guilt of making my mother cry and my friends worry.

So I do my best to deal with it on my own. Sure, sometimes I have cracks. My loved ones see the toll that diabetes can bring to me physically and emotionally. But overall, I do what I can to protect them....and to protect myself.

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Vivian said...

Cara, I really liked this entry. Now I am going to share something with you from the mom standpoint. We love our children, we hate diabetes. We worry about you. Period. If it weren't for diabetes we would worry about something else. Yes we cry when diabetes is being a mean bully to our children. We do not cry and worry because our children made it happen. I am sorry you feel guilty when your mom struggles with your D, she feels guilty when you struggle with your D. At the end of the day if you do not share the real deal with someone close to you, it will come back to bite you. The unknown and un-understood is way scarier than knowing the beast you are up against. We ask questions and harass you because we care. If you did not have D she would be asking questions and harassing you about your love life, your job, your fill in the blank... We are moms, we are odd, annoying, crazy, etc. Our reason for it all is we love you. No guilt, only honesty. Sometimes it is hard but this is not a disease that only affects the patient, no matter the age. Your Mama loves you and so do we. Sometimes we cry, usually because we want to make it better and know we can't. No matter what you do sis, you can't stop love. *Hugs*

Cara said...

Thanks Vivian. Your comment nearly made me cry! I know mom loves me. And she already does harrass me about my love life, job, fill in the blank. ;) And I know how much it really does effect the people I love. I just really wish it didn't. On the plus side, I have friends and family I can talk to, if I need to. And I have you! And all the rest of the D-OC. You guys make my life so much easier.

meanderings said...

What Vivian said...
Moms (and dads) worry about their children, no matter HOW old they are.
Keep your parents informed - the good and the bad. They'll do what they can to help, and be your support when things aren't so great.
And always know, they love you...

carol said...

This was a great post that really resonated with me because I do the same thing....for the same reasons. I just can't handle the questions and suggestions that are likely to come when I share too much. And yes, it has made for some difficulties with my mom, even though I was diagnosed at the ripe old age of 27. Vivian, I also appreciate your perspective and you have given me some things to think about.

Brenda W said...

I do the same things with my parents (although they never had to raise me with diabetes, I got that after I'd moved out and started my own life.) My momma still worries a lot :)

Kaitake said...

Arrggh, diabetes sux! The worst diabetes-parents moment I've experienced was about two years ago. At the time I was living with my husband, and I had a massive hypo at night which resulted in an ambulance trip to the emergency room. I woke up, so see my Dad as white as a sheet, totally freaking out. My whole immediate family had come to visit me in the middle of the night.

My parents always cared for me as I grew up with diabetes, and at times they knew more about my medications than me. Now I know more as I take care of the day-to-day stuff. But I will always explain new meters or insulins or carb-ratios to them if they ask. :)

But as for co-workers, I tell them about the same as you do. Why freak people out at work? I just make sure there are a couple of people in the workplace who know I have diabetes. :)

Karen said...

What a great post. I my have mentioned to you that my mom doesn't really know about my diabetes blog. She reads my knitting blog all the time, but I never told her that I started a diabetes blog. I just don't want her seeing all the cruddy stuff that I may post there. The days when I'm sick of diabetes and just don't want to deal with it anymore. It would hurt her to know I'm going through that. So yes, I totally get wanting to protect your friends and family from it. I think it's a very personal choice. No one can say what level of sharing is right or wrong. We each have to do whatever feels comfortable for us.

Becca / SingleWhiteDiabetic said...

I started my d-blog not too long ago with the intention of getting more involved in the d-community, but have had a nice side effect relating to your post. I've found my close friends and mom read my entries and have told me how much more they understand from that. It wasn't that I wouldn't have answered a question before but I don't think they even knew what to ask. I like it. It makes me feel loved.

I know my mom worries about my diabetes getting around that one.

Katie from SF said...

Yeah.. the guilt can get to you. The incessant questions can too. I do the same thing at work ("had a bad blood sugar night") and pretty much do the same with my parents. They took care of my diabetes long enough to know all the challenges... and all I really need to say to them is: "things aren't going well right now", or "I think my basals are off" and they leave it at that. I will go into more detail when I want to, but not too often with them. However, with The Boyfriend, I go into a LOT more detail. He is around 100% and supports my D 100 % also... helping me make changes, adjustments, etc. Something a very wise person told me once:

"It's not MY diabetes, it's OUR diabetes."

The more you involve them, the more they can help. Just make sure they know to not necessarily always offer "suggestions" but let you know that they are there when you need something. That way, they feel involved. By NOT telling them what is going on (good or bad), you may be doing more harm because then they say "I would have helped if I had known...". (If they can help.)

Wow, that was a sad comment. But just know your family and friends love you. You will find a balance.