It's not surprise that February, which hosts Valentine's Day, is also Heart Disease Awareness Month. As a Type 2 diabetic who has a father with congestive heart failure (CHF) and a maternal grandfather who had heart issues, including heart attacks, I am well aware of the need to keep tabs on my heart. Thankfully I seem to be healthy there, though I won't let my guard down. Instead of my heart muscle, I've been thinking more of the emotional side of my heart lately. The emotional side of living with chronic illness.
I've heard many places that people with diabetes and other chronic conditions have a higher rate of depression. Typically I look for peer reviewed studies on claims like this. However I don't feel the need - I live it every day. Living with diabetes (and you can assume I'm also thinking of those with other conditions) is an every day 24/7 burden of sorts. Yes, I'm thankful that my body still produces insulin though I don't know how much. I just know the whole insulin/glucose relationship inside my body is messed up, like a dysfunctional marriage. (Luckily I have a great marriage, but you get my point.) My heart aches.
Regardless, there are times I'm on top of my diabetes management and other times where I'm far from it. Burnout is a big part of it. I do great but then I eat a large candy bar right after an order of french fries. Sometimes I eat a stack of pancakes with syrup. And my heart aches.
After having what my husband and I affectionately call a "bad diabetic" episode, I sometimes go to the opposite extreme. I want to eat extreme low carb and work out more. I wind up weak, tired, and dealing with a low blood sugar. And my heart aches.
My husband is a wonderful man who also deals with medical issues, but not diabetes. There are times I need more than his loving words. There are times I need to talk to someone who has been there. Someone who knows how it physically and emotionally feels when your blood sugar is high or low. Someone who won't judge. Because my heart aches.
Yes, I deal with depression. Some of it is due to living with a chronic illness. Some of it is due to anxiety from trying to be a perfect wife, mom, teacher, friend. Thankfully I have a wonderful support system and things are getting better. I'm learning to take things one day at a time. Sometimes one meal at a time. And my heart is full!