I find that my biggest struggle when it comes to diabetes is asking for help. Those who know me well know that I can occasionally be incredibly stubborn (or as those people would say, a massive pain in the arse) and that admitting that I may be in over my head, or even just wandering down the wrong path, is very unlikely to happen. Then, I reach that moment when my persistent denial or refusal to accept that a situation has reached the point where I should have handled things differently, ends with me reluctantly accepting the help that has been there from the beginning. Often too late.
I was born in the 80’s and in the 90’s was plunged into a world of Brit pop, girl power and iconic independent feminists! Perhaps I take things to the extreme by being so very reluctant to accept help, perhaps it was (and always has been) a way to keep some distance between myself and my health care professionals or perhaps I just don’t want people to know that I’m not as good as I think I am, or as good as I would like to be.
It’s funny how people handle things in different ways. I could, with open arms, welcome and embrace the support and advice that is available to me. Hell, my health care professionals are the best around and I know that there would never be an instance where I would be turned down should I need them. I could suck it up, shake my hair, shout “girl power” and get right back in the game… but isn’t it scary to know that getting back in the game requires one of those big conversations. One that involves admitting that there is something wrong. It’s never as easy as clicking your fingers and hey presto – the broken pieces have been fixed.
The other option, the easy way out (or so it seems) is to walk. Walk away from the problem, from yourself and bail when things get too real.
One of the things that I do is to drop hints, rather than admitting that things are on a downward spiral. It’s a well-known fact that health care professionals, whilst training, attend detective classes… right? Just like when they’ve qualified they take a year out to practice mind reading… Obviously, dropping hints to a consultant who works god knows how many hours a day and has god knows how many patients to see, is the right way to go about addressing a problem. No? How about spending time with them, dancing around the subject of diabetes, dipping in and out, trying to pluck up the courage to speak up only to leave 45 minutes later the same as before?
Ok, so I know that’s not the way to go about things but isn’t it scary to admit something… something you wanted to deal with yourself but can’t… then have someone confirm and reiterate it? Not only that but to then have it confirmed with blood, with data from a questionnaire, with patterns on a graph, with a letter to your GP and a copy sent to your home? Knowing that the problem you once had will always be with you wherever you go... on file as a constant reminder. I think for me, the biggest blow is realising that I’m not as self-sufficiant as I once thought. After 12 years of living with diabetes I should expect to be getting something right, to be finishing at least a few days out of the week feeling well and in control... not worrying about what the next day will bring. On the other hand though, doesn’t being scared just mean that I’m human? Fear is a universal human reaction, right?
I suppose when it comes to health there are really only two choices. To own it… or to abandon it. Either way, I think that admitting you’re not heroic is when you’re the most heroic of all.