Support comes in many shapes and sizes. When it comes to life with diabetes, I have always been lucky to have a support network village that consists of family, friends, a brilliant healthcare team and Nutella.

In the last few weeks as I have been dealing with more than just diabetes I have realised just how wide my support system really is and it’s surprised – and humbled – me.

Obviously, publishing an incredibly raw and honest piece on a news forum that gets over a million hits per month means that there are a lot of people out there who now know what I am living through. But then, I’m an oversharer, so ‘puttin’ it out there’ has never been something I’ve shied away from.

When it comes to diabetes, having that network to lift you up in times of frustration can mean the difference between sinking into a period of serious burnout and feeling like you have ways to cope. Knowing that there are people there to help you out – no matter the time of day – can be the difference between feeling isolated and feeling that you have someone’s shoulder to lean on. (I will once again send out a message to the DOC who has been that difference on more occasions than I could mention.)

One thing that I have learnt in my years having diabetes and when faced with particularly challenging times is that having someone say ‘Are you okay?’ or ‘I know this must be a hard time for you. I am here for you.’ helps more than words can say. Just knowing that people care and are thinking of you gives incredible solace.

We don’t always know what to say and we sometimes worry that our words may unintentionally hurt. So we say nothing. We think that it’s the better option. And perhaps we worry that if we ask someone how they are going, the chance of them dissolving into uncontrollable tears is something we just don’t want to risk. But personally, I’m always ready to take that risk, because I want people to know that they are being thought of and cared for.

Not everyone is comfortable talking about their life and not everyone is happy to ask for support. Sometimes we try to be stoic and strong for ourselves and those around us and sometimes we just want to pretend the crap stuff isn’t happening. Often, we don’t like to let people know we’re not coping or dealing with something particularly difficult. And in the time of Facebook when we only put forward our very best self (‘look! I’m on holidays/at a cool new café/eating Nutella’) we hide the tough stuff.

But when we do talk about it, it’s so wonderful and reassuring to have people reach out – it makes us feel safe. Right now, I feel so very safe and protected thanks to the many people who have reached out. And I want to say thanks.

thank you

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