Thursday, May 18, 2017

Throwback Thursday: What Brings Me Down?

Living with a chronic condition or illness is not easy. 

Each and any day can bring issues with illness, medication, technology. Often the effects of unforseen swings in glucose levels can leave me weak, tired, nauseous, light headed, headachy. Finding myself caught out by failed technology or unpredicted highs or lows while at work, can bring an unwanted level of anxiety, especially if I am dealing with colleagues or external clients. At times I can feel as if I don't want to deal with any more issues. Associated auto-immune conditions each contribute their burden, the pain and restricted mobility of osteo-arthritis, the lethargy of Hashimoto's. Each condition makes day to day living a little difficult. Do they make me depressed? No. Frustrated, anxious, awkward, pissed off, tired? Yes.
There's a lot of talk about 'Diabetes Burn-out'. When I read the stories of parents who are managing children with Type 1, my heart bleeds for them. Yes, I think they definitely get 'Burn-out' and depression, and I think many other T1's do too. It's not easy and if there are other issues going on a person's life, that burden of chronic disease can be a tipping point.
Depression is something different. Depression is when you don't want to get out of bed. Depression is when each day goes by in a grey blur. Depression is when you can't be bothered showering, cleaning your teeth, eating. It's when your emotions shut down and there is no joy.
I've been depressed, but it wan't because of my chronic conditions. It was more to do with extreme stress and a loss of self-worth when I was severely bullied at work, whilst going through an extended period of family tragedy with the illness and loss of four family members over a period of 6 years, and earlier in my life when I left my marriage of 16 years. Having chronic illnesses compounded that, but they weren't the cause of it.

On reflection, living with chronic illness means there is a greater need to maintain general balance in life. Steady employment and income, a safe domestic environment, healthy relationships, access to good food, recreational activity and social engagement all help us keep an even keel when our physical health is being difficult. 

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