Does your mind ever play tricks on you? No? Well, mine does, and it really only started since I was diagnosed.
It’s a funny thing, when you’re tricked by your own mind into believing that you did something you didn’t or you tell yourself something repeatedly even though it’s not possible or blatantly untrue.
There are two stark moments that I can remember since being diagnosed. The most recent of which only happened a couple of days ago, but the first moment of trickery lasted for a number of months after I was released from hospital.
A few nights ago I convinced myself that I had given myself a double dose of my long acting insulin. I was suffering from a nasty hypo, with my blood levels refusing to rise for over 40 minutes. In such a fluster, I convinced myself that I had injected my Tresiba twice. I rang my mother in a panic and floods of tears because I was petrified that I might fall asleep with my bloods still low, and not wake up. Thankfully, after numerous bars of chocolate they rose, waking up with a reading of 5 mmol/l. I don’t know why my bloods went so low, I was outside the 3-4 hour period from my previous short-acting insulin injection, and my dose of long-acting insulin is spot on, so I concluded in my state of panic that I had injected twice, once downstairs and then again when I got into bed. As it turns out, I probably didn’t because my bloods rose, and stayed okay the next day. I couldn’t and still can’t a pinpoint a reason for my hypo, sometimes Type 1 leaves you stumped, and this was one of those occasions.
The original, and long-lasting trickery, in hindsight, was my minds way of coping with the trauma of being giving a long-term, and in many respects, life changing illness. When I was lying in my hospital bed 2 years ago, almost to the day, I couldn’t really process what was going on. I was so ill and crook that every piece of information went in one ear and out the other. There are only a couple of things I remember being told about my diagnosis; that it was more than likely an auto-immune response to a long-standing cough that I couldn’t shake off for whatever reason, and secondly that there was no known cure but that it’s manageable through insulin treatment. Despite being told this, by medical professionals, in my head I refused to believe it. I didn’t tell anyone at the time, because I knew saying it out loud would make it all the more real, and would even come across desperate to people around me. I hate people feeling sorry for me, so the last thing I wanted was to let people know what I was thinking and for them to look at me with their sorrowful eyes.
Here I was, 18 years of age having finally gotten a breakthrough in life, going to college, making new friends and opening myself up to a whole word of possibilities and then the “DIABETES” happened. I regressed completely when I was diagnosed, my illness ruining my college experience and completely killing my buzz (and my beta cells lol) at finally gaining my own independence. The first few months consisted of my mind telling me and convincing me that my pancreas would reboot itself if I got another cough. That my body would attack itself if I got sick again and as a consequence, force my insulin producing cells to start working again. I look back now, and see how utterly pathetic and illogical that was, but at the time, it was the hope I needed to continue the daily slog of injecting myself a minimum of 4 times, dealing with looking in the mirror and seeing your body ruined with bruises and needle marks, dealing with the fact that I couldn’t enjoy exercising anymore, or dealing with the excess weight I gained. My mind, in a sense, was protecting itself from having to deal with the psychological impact of dealing with my diagnosis, while I processed the physical impact of it all. As time passed, and I gradually brought myself to cope and accept Type 1 for what it was, (on my own, might I add, despite my reaching out, medical professionals and national organisations left me down badly in aiding me), this faint hope of being cured passed.
I learned to cope, that’s typically by making jokes because if I talk about it seriously, it might actually upset me, depending on the day and how my bloods are behaving. I accept the fact now, that there is no cure, and while I would love to say I’m an optimist, I can’t see a cure anytime soon. But, that doesn’t stop me, and it never will. I’ll still do what I want with my life, regardless of my diabetes. I’ll give it my best shot, and if that’s not enough to keep myself healthy, there’s nothing much else I can do.
You have to play the hand you’re dealt.