October is, as everyone knows, Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Slowly we're starting to notice that it's also Depression Awareness. I figured I'd share my story, even if no one reads it.
I've been a type 1 diabetic since I was three. Every day's a hassle with it. It's not as crippling like lupus or cancer, but it still affects me. Keep in mind, please, that insulin is a hormone. It can and will affect my moods, depending on how much I have to take to keep my blood sugars in check.
When I was in elementary school, my first teachers used to give me special treatment because of it: I'd get extra snacks for my blood sugars, longer nap times, and I got to leave a couple minutes before everyone else to go to lunch and to go home so I could go to the nurse and check my blood sugars.
The other kids absolutely hated me for it.I didn't have many friends growing up, so I grew to be very introverted. I didn't know of anyone else who had diabetes like me, didn't have anyone to share my experiences with. Utterly alone is the only thing I felt. It was like a deep, dark gaping hole in my chest.
Getting older, I learned to not let others bother me so much. The hole in my chest stayed, though.
In 2005, when I was 13, my mother walked out on our family; on Father's Day, to be exact. Two months later Hurricane Katrina hit. I live in Mississippi, in between the Gulf and the Bay of Biloxi, and our house flooded. There are no words to describe the fear I felt. In a short time I lost my family and my home.
The next year I went in and out of diabetic comas. I was stressing so much I stopped taking care of myself. In November of 2006 some blood work came back that said my kidneys were showing early signs of kidney failure.
In 2007 my family got around to sending me and my siblings to a psychiatrist to see how we were doing since our parents' divorce and the storm. My siblings stopped going, but I was diagnosed codependent and dysthymic.I'm not on medicine for it, nor do I care to be.
At the base of it all, I was still battling with my illness. I hated it. I hated life. I hated myself.
Then, one day I found this photo, and I broke down into heaving sobs.
It let me know that somewhere, there was a person who knew exactly how I felt. Knew exactly how life was. Knew exactly how much of a struggle this disease is. You can't see it, but you can certainly feel it. And I will have it for the rest of my life.
I've found God since then, and it's been a real help to me. I'm not trying to push my religion on anyone; it's simply my way of coping. It's a comfort to me. I still have my issues and what I call my "black" days, days when I just can't get happy. But I know, deep down, I'm not alone. And that helps me get through the days.