Yesterday was my birthday. I turned 45. Sunday, I got medical verification of something long suspected. That being, that I am diabetic.
I realize this is by no means a death sentence, or anything nearly that dramatic. But, it will of course change my life. I’ll have to monitor what I eat and when. I‘ll have to do these finger pricks several times a day. If I’m able to control it simply through diet and exercise then it won’t really be much more than an inconvenience. If not, that’s a different story.
The thing that is troubling me most at the moment though, is not the diabetes diagnosis. It is an anxiety I have become aware of, that is impacting me every day. It is difficult to describe exactly what the problem is. Or rather, what the root of the problem is. The symptoms themselves are easy to describe.
It is 5:22 PM in my little corner of the world. In just a few hours I’ll need to go to sleep, as I try to get back on my regular work schedule. My wife on the other hand will set up all night long, and sleep all day tomorrow, because she works nights. For some reason going to bed alone has started to scare me. And even though I know she’ll be in the next room it still causes me anxiety. Tomorrow night she’ll be at work, and I don’t know if I’ll go to sleep at all.
This is brand-new. I have spent many a night by myself over the course of my life and especially the last 10 years. I’ve stayed in hotel rooms when I had to travel for work. I had no problems. I have worked the opposite shift from my wife for several years now; awake when she was asleep, asleep when she was awake. Not until the last 10 days or so has there ever been an issue. But there is one now.
It may be that over the course of all these treatments a mixture of medications has caused some kind a chemical imbalance. Or, it may be that I’m feeling weak and frail and that scares me. I have always been an introspective person and I have spent more than a few minutes trying to figure this out. I know what I feel but I don’t know why I feel it, and that is a concern to me.
I am hopeful that as my blood sugar normalizes, and my strength returns, that this frail, sickly feeling will pass. I am also hopeful that this anxiety will pass with it. I am not accustomed to feeling like this, and I do not wish to become accustomed to it.
It’s hard to describe in exact terms. It’s a sinking feeling, a dread, a fear bordering on paranoia. It keeps me awake at night. Even now as I sit here my wife is taking a nap, so I am in essence alone. That is enough to set it off.
I cannot recall the exact day when these feelings began but I know it’s very recent. I believe it started after I was prescribed Zoloft, ironically enough, to help me sleep. What it actually did was jacked me up as if I had drunk several cups of coffee immediately before going to bed.
In any event, of the various conditions I am currently dealing with this is the one that most concerns me. I can handle drinking more water. I can handle cutting out treats, eating less sugar,
And all the other stuff that comes along with diabetes. Is this inner turmoil that I can’t handle.
Between the last sentence and this one my phone rang and I had a hour-long conversation with an old, and very dear friend. She helped me put some things in perspective, and gave me some things to try. It’s funny how just connecting with another human being can change things. I don’t know how I’ll feel later tonight or tomorrow, but what I do know is I feel better now than I did before the phone rang.
Something else I know is that things get worse or better, nothing stays the same. So, I’m going to hope for better and try my best to set aside these thoughts and feelings. Get some sleep. Start eating healthy. Regained my strength. Reclaim my life. I’m going to try to be more open to more things. I’m going to try not just to reclaim the life I have had, but to transition into the life I want to have over time.
But for right now I’m going to stay focused on the moment in which I find myself. Because if there is one thing that I have learned from this whole experience, and verbalized during this phone conversation, it is that I cannot control everything. I cannot plan for everything.
I just have to take each day as it comes. Or, as my friend’s daughter says, “roll with it, lean with it”.