I don't have a picture but I do have the memory of the description I heard early Sunday morning while waiting for the coffee to brew. One of the slipstreamers awoke in his cabin to find the place strewn with beer bottles and the like. Sounds like a normal people's party right? But upon closer inspection he noticed Dex wrappers all over and lost glucose tablets that had rolled under furniture. Yeah, it must have been a GOOD night!
I have to hand it to the group of organizers for coming up with some really great ways to learn and open up a bit more about how we feel about diabetes. I never expect to learn very much when I go to these things yet I always walk away more knowledgeable and a little more confident.
I'm not very good at "reporting" on things like lessons and workshops. I'm better at the reality of how they effected me personally and what exactly I got out of it. I'm always afraid of getting the basis of the lesson wrong so I'm probably not even going to go there.
The part of the weekend where I learned the most was during a session we had called "Hot Topics". At first I was like, "Brainstorming and discussions? I think I'll go take a walk in the forest thankyouverymuch."
BUuuuut...... turns out this was a highly emotional "Ah-ha" moment for me. As I walked around to all the tables each with a different topic, I read what people were writing. I won't be the first to admit that I am not happy to have diabetes. I am not proud to be a diabetic. Sure, I would never have met the amazing people that are in my life right now but, given the choice, I'd choose no diabetes. Groups like CIM exist because we are trying to make the best out of a bad situation. They are inspiration and motivation to learn and be with others like ourselves. Yes I whole heartily agree that we are stronger people than we would ever be if we didn't have D. We are all fighters and survivors EVERY SINGLE DAY. Would I be a fighter without D? Maybe, maybe not.
What am I saying? well, other than the fact that I FUCKING hate diabetes, I am SO grateful to have these wonderful people in my life. I am grateful for the goodness it has brought into my life too. But I was a little put off when someone wrote "proud to have diabetes."
Sorry for the long explanation. So no, I am not proud to be diabetic. I am not happy about having a chronic disease. It does not make me feel like some of the comments people were writing. I guess you'll never take the cynical pessimist out of me.
That's when my own "issues" started forming. There were two tables in particular that I couldn't walk away from. The "Diabetes and Mental Health" table struck a bit of a chord with me. I have struggled with moderate to sever depression starting about a year or two after my diagnosis (most of you know this, so its nothing new and I've written about it many times here). It's been a very long difficult road to get to where I am today. In my life diabetes and depression go hand in hand. I spent a good portion of time resonating with the discussions that were had there.
Thanks Kayla, for snapping this photo of me. I had no idea you took this picture.
The other topic, "Diabetes and Relationships" hit me with a few more bricks in the bag than expected. I'm going to get a bit deep here, you've been warned. The first thing I wrote was "Burdens on others". I feel that my diabetes is a burden on my loved ones. Sure it's my disease and I'm the only one responsible for managing it and taking care of it. My family and friends are powerless over what they can do. I know they'd like to help but they can't. I also know it's hard for them to constantly sit on the sidelines and NOT be able to do anything. Except for grabbing me some Dex tabs, they are essentially powerless. I hate the emotional burden that falls on their shoulders.
I then wrote something along the lines of "To be with me is to be with D". I was out of the dating scene for a LONG time before realizing that it was time to venture out into the world again. Diabetes is a large part of who I am. I blog about it. It effects my activities and exercises. I test a gazillion times a day so there's no sneaking that around. I now race with TT1 because of it. It's there 24/7 and on my mind nearly every other minute. So to meet someone new is a challenge. Be it a friendship or spouse. I met someone lately and it really was like , "Hi, my name is Scully and I have type 1 Diabetes." I am a diseased person, FACT. It is a huge part of my life, FACT. In order for me to manage it, it's gotta be out in the open. My perspective friends and partners are not just meeting me, they are meeting my disease and I truly hate burdening them. A significant other, now has to live with diabetes through me and there's no way I can hide that.
It's a LOT to take in from an outsiders point of view. They can choose not to put up with it. I mean, they usually don't run away and probably because they have NO idea what they're getting into until it's too late. Mwahahaha! I rope them in before they have a chance to run in the other direction.
In all seriousness... this topic hit me hard. I didn't know I had those emotions in me. It was a huge thought process.
In the end, I took away from that session things I never thought possible. Clearly I have some issues to work through. Bring on the couch!
Tomorrow, I will post pictures. And if I can figure out how to get my iphone videos to show up in the right direction, I'll put some of those up too.