World Diabetes Day has slipped under the radar for me this year. Unlike a lot of my diabetes community friends, I don’t work in healthcare or around diabetes. I work in a high school in suburban Melbourne. The only mention of diabetes today was a Year 8 boy calling the lollies I gave out in Period 5 “diabetes”.
Me: “Comment dit ‘lollies’ en français?
Raucous laughter ensued from one half of the class (who have only had me this year) and the other half of the class (who I’ve taught since year 7) looked around nervously. They know me – too well. Normal Ms. Peters would jump on that immediately.
But I’m tired. I’ve intentionally pushed diabetes awareness month to the back of my mind because I’m always bloody aware of my diabetes. It’s in the fifth trip to the loo, the blood on my desk, the jellybeans in my pencil case and the bags under my eyes. Along with French vocabulary and the plot lines of several Netflix series, it hangs out in my brain, not taking centre stage but always jumping in to whisper “you’re 17.3, get your life together”. Additionally, this year is talking about eye complications – call it denial, but I’m scared of mine, and I don’t like acknowledging it. I’m scared of losing my sight, and continuing to see dialogue about it makes me feel sick. I started off ready to social media the hell out of November, but thanks to reports, final assignments, and a shitty hba1c, I’ve hit a wall.
The social media frenzy during diabetes awareness month also seems to highlight and drive in the impression that everyone is doing better than me with their diabetes. I know this isn’t always the case, but seeing graphs with not a single spike above 8 and raves about particular diets send me spiralling into a vortex of self blame. Why can’t I eat low carb without my brain making me restrict? Why do I find it so hard to keep my BGLs stable? Why can’t I seem to do what everyone else is doing??!?!
This year I’m letting my beautiful D tribe carry diabetes awareness month and diabetes day. This year I want to put my diabetes away and only bring it out when needed. Some may call that selfish, but I call it self care. My diabetes management is challenging due to co-occurring conditions, and my focus this diabetes month is on my diabetes. Let’s be real here – if I’m trying my hardest to focus on turning my management around, am I not doing what diabetes awareness month wants?
This month I’m gently tapping out – unfortunately I need to get little old me back on top before trying to help others. This November I’m saying no.