Monday, June 7, 2010

Right so...

Today's been a tough day. I don't know how to explain it proper. And maybe I feel partially awkward about it, because I feel awkward talking about my thesis... Because, well, my thesis is about my experiences with blogging about diabetes. It maybe doesn't sound that novel here, but social work seems to be all kinds of out of touch with technology. I find a lot of the literature that I've read is very quick to discuss general problems in social media (like privacy), but not so good at discussing specific issues with specific applications (practical recommendations to discuss with service-users) and really rather bad at checking out a lot of the potential benefits. To be honest, most of the articles seem like the authors don't even use the tools they are describing... Anyway, I wanted to talk about all the issues and the good things that blogging and social networking can be for people with a chronic illness like diabetes.

So, I went to talk to my thesis advisor and something rather unexpected happen: she asked me what to pin-point what blogging has done for me... which caught me off-guard... and I kind of stumbled a bit... and blurted out... "it's been a mourning process." Oops? I started to cry and tried to explain: before I found people like me online I knew no one. I was all alone in diabetes and the only talk that occured around it was medical speak. So, I only ever considered it in medical terms and that made it a very cerebral kind of experience. It wasn't until I started connecting with other people that it became emotional. And, it wasn't until it became emotional that I realized my body's broken and it's never getting better.

The one and only time I can remember thinking that I really needed to connect with people (preferably my age) with diabetes was a few years after I'd been diagnosed. I remember calling the Canadian Diabetes Association asking if they had support groups for people with type 1 diabetes. The guy on the other end said that there was nothing (in the entire effing city of Toronto!) I felt a bit teary and I remember his demeanor changed from sounding more professional and formal to seeing if I needed to talk to someone right away for support. I don't know who he would have sent me to talk to, because as far as I could tell there was nothing. I ended up making like it wasn't a big deal- that I was fine, but was just checking things out. After that I grew up pretending like diabetes wasn't that big of a deal. I just talked about it matter of fact. When people had issues with needles and blood, I quietly went elsewhere to do my testing and take my shots. I didn't complain about it. I didn't talk about any of it. I just did it. Nobody ever questioned it, and I don't really blame them: I did such a good job at pretending, I even had myself convinced that it was all fine.

Anyway, I'm feeling it now. I don't think that's a bad thing. I think it's an about time thing, actually. I still find it kind of curious though that in modern medicine it somehow only counts if your body is working well; while most times it seems like no one checks to see that your psyche is also getting what it needs to be well and thrive.

(I'm mostly okay with the broken thing, btw... I'm really not digging the forever and ever part though. Yeah, I mostly feel sad about the forever and ever.)


Virtue said...

Though, if I ever get into a real pity party situation I go and revisit this post: Three Years Ago Today.... Umm, yes, I do realize the irony of this practice... We all remind each other ;)

Crystal said...

Your post is so darn honest. I grew up feeling this way, like I needed to pretend all was ok so I would not "bother" anyone with my issues.

Without the D-OC the past few years, I Know I would be worse off than I was.

Lorraine of "This is Caleb..." said...

There's a similar thread going through this post that was in my Power of Perspective post. We go on and persevere because we have to, but I do think we need to let ourselves mourn.

The DOC=the best therapy I could imagine and no medical insurance is needed!

Virtue said...

I really liked your post, Lorraine. It's funny that I was thinking I get to see the other side of things- from a parents perspective- when I read your blog and other D-mom blogs... I know it's silly, but it never occured to me that you guys learn things from us too and that maybe there is some comfort knowing that kids with diabetes will have (at least) a place online that they'll be able to connect to when they older and are taking care of their diabetes more on their own.

I agree with you both: I very much <3 the DOC!

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