My friend died yesterday.
My friend was witty, generous, intelligent, kind, resilient, talented, empathetic, and brave.
My friend died.
My friend struggled with her mental health and also had type 1 diabetes.
My friend asked for help OVER AND OVER and got moved from hospital to hospital with nobody having the time or the inclination to help her with the beast that is mental health and diabetes.
My friend DIED.
My friend told me that nurses were ‘terrified’ of her. My friend said she felt like a burden on her family. My friend felt that living with a cocktail of mental illness and diabetes was a ticking time bomb.My friend had a fantastic diabetes team, who wanted the best for her but couldn’t find the mental health help she needed. My friend wanted to go to somewhere safe that would help her properly. My friend had a DNE who looked for this place, who strove to help her.
That place doesn’t exist. And now my friend is dead.
I’m FURIOUS. I’m furious that our system has let us down again. We know that mental health issues in people with diabetes is rampant. We know that we all live with and dose ourselves with a drug that is lifesaving and lethal in equal measure. We KNOW this, and we can talk about it all we want, but the fact of the matter is that my friend is dead because no one helped her.
It’s always someone else’s business.
Diabetes management? That’s for the endo team. Depression? Talk to your psych. Oh, your depression stems from your diabetes? Not our problem. Eating problems? Off you go to the ED centre? You can’t apply those ED strategies to your diabetes? Oh well, talk to your diabetes team. Your diabetes team doesn’t understand disordered eating? Not our problem. Anxiety taking over your life? Keep yourself well. Oh, but you have a lifelong and demanding condition? Eh, we don’t deal with that here.
BGL management and mood go HAND IN HAND, is there anyone out there that is actually willing to combat both at the same time? Mental health services in this country are hard to access for anyone, when you throw diabetes into the mix it’s like a fucking desert. Trying to find someone/a team that can help you with a myriad of mental health issues and diabetes is like trying to find a needle in a galactic-sized haystack.
My friend was doing all she could. My friend reached out. My friend was trying to get better, but no one would give her the hand that she needed. My friend tried and tried and TRIED, and got nowhere, because advocating for yourself is exhausting when no-one is listening.
This morning I sobbed over Skype to my sister 20 000 km away, because the deadly cocktail of mental illness and diabetes has taken another friend from me and another part of our community. It’s taken someone who was so incredibly smart and affable, with a sharp sense of humour and an empathy for humans and animals around her. It’s taken someone that should still be here – and she’s not here because she was failed by a system that is just interested in blaming the person, not working together from different areas to find a solution.
Please start working together to treat us. Please ask us what we need, work with us, learn from us, and support us. I’m not in the healthcare industry, I don’t know what is being done – but what I do know is that it’s not enough.
My friend is dead because there wasnowhere for her to go, and the system should hang its head in shame.