Initial inspiration for this little guy came from Twitter of all places. I’ve left in the timestamps because they help make my point.
It was an innocent and honest response. Within an hour I was reminded that this isn’t something that is meant to be dealt with alone. Be it through family, friends, or even an online community, support is out there if you look for it. I wasn’t looking for pity responses. I wasn’t trying to be noticed. But it was very comforting to see the immediate response and support I received, from complete strangers no less. Put within the context of my emotional state at the time, it was a genuine pick-me-up. Quite frankly, New Years and Valentine’s Day rank among my most hated holidays on the calendar. New Years gets my vote because of some rather un-fun “celebrations” in the past. I actually spent one countdown in my car waiting for a few “friends” to find 2 random girls at a house I’ve never been to, in a neighborhood I’ve never driven through. They came out 5 minutes after the ball dropped oblivious to their actions. They didn’t apologize, didn’t thank me for driving them around for their meaningless booty call, didn’t occur to them for one second that my night was ruined. But my times as a DD have been a thankless role more often than not, even if I’m doing my part to prevent you from wrapping your car around a pole. But Valentine’s Day is a real treat. Being single and diabetic feels like a punishment designed by the Gods of Mount Olympus destined for the depths of Hades for all to see. Tantalus, Sisyphus and Prometheus have nothing on what a day like that feels like to me. Hyperbole, yes. But hyperbole is often rooted in some grain of truth.
What is interesting (or sad) is that I when I sit down to think about it, I really don’t have a tangible support system in place. I have an endocrinologist that I see every 3-4 months, he doesn’t count. Family Physician that I see even less frequently. Nope. Even within my close group of friends, the ‘betus is rarely a topic of discussion. After the first couple months after my diagnosis it was just another thing. To be fair, I do appreciate that it’s not something that stands out, that has to be pointed out, that is the only defining characteristic about me. And to my own fault, I never really reached out for anyone to talk to about it. I’m sure if I needed to talk, they would have listened. I never treated diabetes like a crutch or asked for any kind of pity of sympathy, and thankfully they never treated me as such. As for my family, I’m sure they would have played a more integral role in dealing with my diagnosis early on, but they were really only around for the first 5 days before I had to go back to Blacksburg. I believe I had a Multivariable Calculus exam to make up at the end of the week.
Here’s a chicken and egg paradox for you: I don’t open up about much, if anything. Yet I haven’t had many opportunities to open up…to anyone. So which one came first? I’ve always been an internal guy, luckily I suppose that is part of the fun of the Internet. The anonymity of it all eases some of the burden (or maybe fear) related to talking about sensitive topics. Over the years I ended up finding ways to deal with all of this by myself. Naturally my primary response was to add it to the queue of things I had to deal with and move on. If the topic of my diabetes came up in conversation, I would answer questions people had politely, but I don’t like to elaborate. Yes, I take 4 shots a day. Yes, I have to deal with needles and blood. No, it does not mean I cannot have sugar. Yes, if your life was on the line you would do whatever it takes to lead a healthy life. No, I would not, could not, in a box. I could not, would not, with a fox. And please, if I mention that I’m diabetic, don’t say “I’m Sorry.” Did you wish it upon me? Could you have in any way influenced my pancreas going on strike? I know it sounds cold or bitter. But it’s not your fault, so don’t make it any bigger than it already is.
Ultimately, I do appreciate the connections that Twitter (yes, Twitter) has helped me make in the short time that @iam_spartacus has existed. It has opened up a world of opportunity for me to embrace, discuss and at times enjoy the fact that I’m diabetic. I wont go so far as to say that I’m in a better place now than I was 6 months ago, but I certainly feel like I’m on a path to something good, something better. And I’m glad I found some people to share it with.