(If you haven't been keep up-to-date, read the "Life as a College Student with Diabetes" entry and comments before reading. Otherwise, it might not make sense.)
I just spent the last hour crying in a chair in the Memorial Union.
I feel a mix of emotions- fear that I've let everyone down, anxiety that I'm not good enough to do my job and more worry that people will stop taking my opinions seriously, embarrassment for not doing what I know I should be doing and anger because you haven't seen my life for the past year to understand why the people I spend the most time with seem to know me the least.
A lot of that is a bit cryptic, so I'll elaborate. Just as a disclaimer, I'm not doing this to justify myself or to negate the value of your thoughts and opinions of my actions.
I didn't start hating my diabetes until my 10th anniversary. It was like a bomb went off. I went from being passive to furious in an instant. I rarely if ever complained about my diabetes. It was a part of me, like my hair color, and it didn't seem to matter to anyone that I have it. It just is.
But after my 10th anniversary, things started going downhill. Not necessarily my health, although that suffered from my sheer proximity to the campus coffee shop. For years, my parents and I would go to support group meetings and we would counsel families to not take one reading so seriously. "Do not judge yourself based on a bad reading. Focus on the A1C." But taking my own advice has never been my strong suit. I would stare at my meter with another 317 and let the tears run down my face. I had failed- again.
Freshman year in college, on the whole, was fairly good. I instructed my roommate, Karrie, on how to use the glucagon and I even showed her how my meter and set worked. But she moved out in February, and I never got another roommate. Another girl in my hall had diabetes, and that made me feel a little better- but she had worse control than me and I'm not sure what good she would have down had anything happened. I told some professors and a few friends that I had it. I wasn't shy about it, but it seemed that these people, these college students, viewed diabetes differently than my high school friends. They'd rather just not have anything to do with it.
Sophomore year started off badly and it ended even worse. A lot of it is attributed to personal crap with people in my social circle. It really doesn't deserve to be explained beause of how ridiculous it is. But it did compel me to go to therapy. Therapy is something I should have done for a few years prior because- drum roll- I was a cutter. My weapons of choice were my lancet and cigarettes (I put cigs under the cutting category because as I told my friend Annie - "It's like cutting on the inside"). I could write a book about why and how and when exactly I did all of this, but the point is I did it because I felt I deserved it.
By this point (and we're talking January of sophomore year), I didn't have any friends and I didn't like or trust anyone. I barely talked to people about the weather, let alone my health and how I would spend hours at night pleading and yelling at God to make it go away (just for one day). I only tested when I felt like it, though I did okay with remembering to bolus. By April, my A1C was 9.2. I rarely went to class and I spent so much time by myself that if something did happen, there's an 80% chance I would have been alone when it happened.
I was in therapy until this past August. I'm finished, feeling better and I have no desire at all to hurt myself.
I've had to work very hard to not view my life or my diabetes with the "what did you do wrong?" mentality. It's a very easy mentality to get into and it was detrimental for me, and I'm sure it is very for many other people.
It's also very hard because I've been a diabetes advocate for 4 years. I've had Teen Talk for 3 of those years. And I can't count the number of times I've wanted to quit, run away and hide under my bed because I'm not doing what I'm 'supposed' to do.
I'm very sorry if I was at all misleading about knowing the 'right' way of doing things. I most certainly do not. I have a funny way of thinking, and acting, and I have a feeling a lot of people think I'm a nice, mature, responsible adult. Well, I like to think I'm nice... not so sure about the mature and responsible part.
I am trying. I really am. It's hard. Maybe I will try harder this year. I hope you aren't mad at me, and I hope you aren't disapointed in me. I'm doing the best that I can.
I really do love my life and, most of the time, I really do love my job. I like being able to give you a realistic idea of what it's like to be a college student with diabetes, but more than that, I want to show you who I am. I am not a stereotype and I am not an example. I'm just one out of many. This is my story, this is my life. And God continues to reveal His plan for my life in very odd ways. Which is just the way I like it (most of the time).
Hugs and Loves,