Stressed and Frustrated
Struggling to deal with diabetes in a poor economy.
September 2011 — The present economic situation, as well as the actions of our pathetic political leaders, has left me depressed and frustrated. As my cost of living continues to rise, my income does not. I find myself frequently being financially squeezed and physically stressed while struggling to do more with less.
A few weeks ago my doctor's office called to remind me that my six-month lab work was overdue. All I could think was, "Great, another expense," while the cost of gas, food, etc., remains inflated. This is not only enough to make me figuratively sick, but literally as well. I am now experiencing problems with acid reflux and other digestive irritations. This has compelled me to make a conscious effort to calm down and not become stressed in response to everyday living.
I am not alone, and I recently came to this realization (on August 18, 2011) while making a friend in the bathroom at one of my local grocery stores. Now, I realize that such an admission sounds scandalous and hints that I might be imitating a former member of Congress, but the encounter was quite innocent. For those who don't know, men don't normally converse with each other while in public restrooms. We tend to get in and get out, but on this occasion I noticed that the young man at the sink counter had a glucose meter in his possession.
As I approached him I remarked that the black case on the counter looked like a glucose meter. He somewhat cautiously admitted that he had diabetes. I then responded that I did as well. This piqued his interest and led him to ask what type. He stated that he had type 1. Our conversation lasted about ten to fifteen minutes. He told me about his frustration with his rising healthcare costs, his employer's meager healthcare coverage, and his difficulty in managing his diabetes. I told him about dLife and TuDiabetes, and discussed some of my issues. We discovered that the 49-year-old white type 2 and the 22-year-old African-American type 1 had common ground.
The next day, while I waiting on my lunch order at a take-out stand, I noticed an older man standing next me had a bandage on his nose and was wearing a surgical boot on one of his feet. Since we were both standing around in the 90-plus degree heat waiting on our food, I struck up a conversation with him by stating, "You don't look like you are having a good month." He smiled and said that he had just had an area of skin cancer removed from his nose and had recently had two toes removed. "Diabetes?," I asked. "Yes, type 2," he replied. I was surprised because he looked slim and trim. He explained that he used to be very overweight, was diagnosed with type 2, and then slimmed down (similar to my own story).
His diagnosis was over ten years ago, and his control has been up and down. He was now taking insulin in order to try to control his diabetes and keep his remaining toes. He indicated that the battle was about to consume all his time and money, and it was wearing him down. I told him about dLife and TuDiabetes as a way of encouraging him to continue to seek information on his chronic condition, as well as meet others dealing with diabetes.
Was it coincidental that I had these two particular encounters this week, especially as I was feeling stressed and depressed? I don't think so. I see it more like divine intervention. I believe it was to prove to me that I am not alone, and I was afforded the opportunity to meet two other "diabetic brothers" that are struggling in this poor economy while dealing with their diabetes. So here's my challenge: let's make it a point to get out of our comfort zones and encourage and support one another. This can boost all of our spirits and it's free! Which is good because this economy really sucks and we are short on cash.
dLife's Viewpoints columnists are not all medical experts, but everyday people living with diabetes and sharing their personal experiences, most often at a set point in time. While their method of diabetes management may work for them, everyone is different. Please consult with your diabetes care team before acting on anything you read here to find out what will work best for you.
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I don't often write about mental health issues. Mostly that's because I was brought up to believe in "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" and "therapy usually does more harm than good". That story is not up for discussion; it's at least as strongly ingrained in me as Creationism is in literalist religious denominations. That said, it's hard to live surrounded by modern media and remain ignorant of the "signs and symptoms of clinical depression". But...