Did you know it’s almost Mental Health Awareness Month? Yeah- it’s happening during the month of May! So you guessed it- you’ll be seeing several new blog posts about mental health and diabetes this month (I mean… it’s in the name of my blog). I’ll also be sharing older posts on social media. (Diabetes Blog Week also falls this coming month- so be on the lookout for that too!)
I’m definitely glad that diabetes and mental health are being talked about more…. But we still have a ways to go on the conversation and just a ways to go on care and outlook and stigma- etc etc etc.
I definitely have a lot of thoughts. Most of which stem around the fact that there needs to be more done on mental health and diabetes- together and separately.
and I’m not just talking about a mental health diagnosis. Not just diabetes burnout (or “diabetes distress”- which I am not a fan of). But the everyday parts and so much more. Being aware of mental health isn’t just for people with a diagnosis or anything like that- mental health is just important!
So before the month gets started- I wanted to share what Mental Health means for me.
Mental Health is being proud of how far you’ve come in terms of your past and how you handle it, but realizing there’s also room for improvement because it’s a journey.
Somedays it’s being hit with anxiety that swallows you whole and you can barely breathe. It’s feeling a panic attack coming- often when you don’t want it to happen like with a lot of people around.
It’s trying to remind yourself that maybe this is the anxiety talking and not real life– especially when the anxiety is screaming at you cannot do this or being harsh towards you.
It’s also trying to ask yourself when the anxiety or ADHD feel more intensified than usual- Is it related to a blood sugar? Is something else going on?
It’s the ADHD and anxiety combining to sometimes make it difficult to look at a million different parts and wonder where do I start? Sometimes preferring not to start at all.
It’s noticing a bunch of different parts and knowing that it’s a trigger. So you separate it or put it in order and remind yourself- one part at a time.
It means that I have pushed friends to the limits because I would lean on them too much probably when I should have gone to a mental health profesional- but the real friends never wavered and they stayed and not just stayed but have been real with me and called me out when I needed it. Especially when I couldn’t afford care due to finances and time or wasn’t ready.
It’s going for help and asking for help when I’m ready and not when I’m forced for professional help or opening up to people. It’s not weakness but a sign of strength and resilience.
It’s knowing that we are not alone. That even though it sucks, it’s not our fault- not something we can just “fix” right away because people say to. That it takes time and bumps along the way- and trial and error.
It’s knowing that I definitely use and have used my diabetes as an aspect of control when I felt the rest of my world was crashing around me which still has a huge impact on my care.
It means knowing that mental health diagnosis runs in my family– depression, ADHD, bi-polar, anxiety, etc.
It means that diabetes and mental health go hand in hand and impact each other. But that they are also not connected- which is why I’m not a fan of diabetes distress- SURE they can be very linked and I experience that on a daily basis, but are we really going to ignore the fact that diabetes isn’t linked to absolutely everything? Are we going to ignore when it runs in the family? When events happen? When there is a higher chance in college? When- I could DEFINITELY continue.
It means knowing that mental health didn’t feel taboo in general, but it felt taboo for me. Which is what made diabetes burnout hit me so hard because it all came crashing at once. It means that I learned from this.
Mental Health also means using my “social work muscles” and making sure I practice self-care. I learned the hard way how important it is not to skimp on self-care. To make sure it is proactive and not just retroactive.
It means trying different things to find what works because we are so different– what works for someone doesn’t always work for everyone.
It means making sure I write. Because that’s how I express myself. Making sure I have alone time. It means making sure I have time for what I enjoy.
Mental Health means holding onto hope in every facet of life. It means using mindsets that work for me- maybe even if they aren’t popular. Like that in relation to a cure for diabetes I live for today which is very different than the rest of my life- and I stay “jaded.” or it means that I get tattoos to represent key points of my life- the great and not so great because it helps to tell my story and remind me of so much that I need to remember- mostly that I can do this.
Mental Health means for me finally getting answers and techniques with a diagnosis of ADHD and anxiety. It means giving medication a chance.
Mental Health means that is has impacted who I am– and sometimes even for the better.
Mental Health means being aware that it does impact my diabetes- specifically stress.
It means trying to navigate life now that I am out of survival mode.
It means making sure that I take care of all of me and not just the diabetes.
It means trying to practice honesty in all aspects of my life.
That’s just some of what Mental Health means for me.
Look for posts this month about my diagnosis, experience with medication, how diabetes and mental health interact (and that they are both taboo), posts with help from the DOC, and much more!