For most my life before finding the DOC (Diabetes Online Community), I had been very isolated in my condition. I had “learned” at an early age that I wasn’t going to live much past college, that’s just how Type 1 (juvenile) diabetes was back then.
There’s a predisposition to depression in my family and I was a perfect storm for it. I grew up on a farm, basically an only child as my siblings were are much older than I, so when I got to school I simply did not have the social skills needed to “fit in”. And when diabetes came along a year later, I was even more “different”.
I just kind of went through the motions, doing enough to stay alive and, miraculously, without complications. I kept waiting to die, for something “bad” to happen to me. Doing that for nearly 40 years before I went on the pump and found the DOC. Suddenly, I was awash in the data required to truly manage my condition for the first time.
I went from testing once or twice a year to several times a day. From seeing an endo once a decade to once every three months, actually managing this damn condition every day.
Then, then I really got into the DOC…
Learning I wasn’t alone, was fantastic… for the most part. As with data, I was suddenly awash in the stories of other diabetics and those of their caregivers. This started a long spiral of depression for me as I was reading stories of complication and blue candles. These things were happening to people who had worked a lot harder at managing their conditions than I had ever done before.
Children lost to something that just wasn’t fair, something that no one could truly be blamed for.
I found the stories compelling, something else that I had failed at. Stuck in a pattern of negative thinking, my failure to die had become a new reality for me. It became irreconcilable in my mind that I should survive with little-to-no effort. I tried to reconcile it by feeling guilty and ashamed that I had survived. I took the blame myself, punishing myself for something totally out of my control.
It was quite literally overwhelming, even thinking back on that period makes my chest tight.
And then on to that Saturday. A nice summer day, much like any other. Life in general was pretty stressful that summer and I was in the middle of a depressive episode and too much alcohol. That day I had received some bad news, don’t even really remember what it was. But suddenly I just felt numb, tired. Sighing, I decided on an afternoon nap, but couldn’t sleep.
I couldn’t sleep because, on that fateful Saturday, suicide had become the answer…
© 2012 Scott Strange, Strangely Diabetic and http://StrangelyDiabetic.com