When do you know it’s time you asked for help? When comes that moment that you realise you are in too deep? It doesn’t have to be a rock bottom clarity, sometimes just a noted recognition that the scenery has changed, the sky is becoming darker and you are closing in on yourself. It can be difficult to miss sometimes, to deny, especially if you are existing somewhere in the middle bit between healthy and critical.
Muddling along, ‘coping’, should never be downplayed, but neither plainly accepted. Stability, both mentally and physically can be a huge achievement, especially in the early stages of some kind of route to recovery when just getting up in the morning or taking that dose of insulin requires such an effort. Yet it can be dangerous. In a long term sense such a state can be somewhat unreliable as there is no buffer, nothing to fall back on if you begin to slide. That is the crucial point, the time you have to use your voice, say ‘I am struggling.’
Recently I have fallen back on using my diabetes as a weapon against myself, it’s definitely becoming more of an issue and I know I need to act now. The threat of ending up in general attached to a sliding scale looms, and I cannot tolerate that. It’s crept in quite easily besides a familiar crippling, energy stifling depression. I sat for 20 minutes this morning contemplating a Novorapid dose after a night of sky high blood sugar levels, purple ketone sticks, back and forth to the toilet then to top up my cup of Pepsi Max, litres of it guzzled. The needle, so small but so significant, a challenge of responsibility. When I finally managed to pick up the pen and inject I found the supply had run out and needed changing. This process of doing so making the whole ritual even more of a conscious act I wished not to accept. I got there in the end, but this lifesaving measure is becoming a grapple of will and guilt every time.
Knowing where to turn can be problematic. As is often the case with eating disorders, and even more so with ED-DMT1/Diabulimia as it is so much lesser known about, few are blessed with a source of primary support that is fully understanding. But even just admitting you are in need is a success, airing the secretive and underhand behaviour that the disorder feeds so hungrily upon. I asked my mum to please ask me just every now and then, if I have taken my insulin and prompt me to do so. She was a bit thrown, said “well that’s just silly!” when I tried to elaborate, not the best response especially seeing as she know my history so it shouldn’t be a surprising revelation, but she agreed and so I have that. I am also holding myself to call up and try to get hold of a diabetic nurse at clinic as I have conveniently become out of touch with any specialist contact there.
It’s relieving somewhat, tentatively taking some power back. It feels okay, for now, that small bit of self protection.
Remaining in that grey area is safer, more sustainable and certainly a feat when severe sickness has been the norm. However, every now and then, you need to stop and check yourself, think “is this really fine? Do I want to strive for more’. Tolerating it without thought and downplaying an active illness that can never be contained despite perhaps feeling so, means teetering constantly on an edge. Never stop hoping for more, for better, never settle for settling.