Diabetes mood-swings, anxiety, stress and depression

All I can remember in sum total are weeks and months if not years of duress. I can’t remember being well unless I think way back, way way back. And the thing is; no one at this hospital has really told me what my real symptoms were. I know they point out my dry mouth, point to deep cramps in varying places and weight loss; they are all very forthright concerning me peeing a lot of golden urine, which by all instruction should be clear in a good diabetic (yawn). But they haven’t discussed with me my late development; never question my lack of focus or poor behaviour, to them I am just ill. There is no due diligence on concentration waning or on any level the cloud that swallowed me both visually and emotionally through the time leading to diagnosis.

Retrospective prognosis to prolonged bouts of colds and flu put down all too simply and too exacting to my pancreas having bouts of stops and starts before eventually switching off for good. Semi functionality causing my immune system to become unstable: vulnerable to attack. Although this I look back on following seventeen years non-characteristic change as being the most inadequate proposal in their pronouncement.

Even if I didn’t care that they came nowhere near to explaining why; it kills me inside living with today’s knowledge that if they had put me on the sustenance I live on now, back when under their care, they could have caught me in the honeymoon period and made near escape dependency on insulin injections.

Hypotheticals aside, I was a statistic, a, ‘Nobody knows why. It’s genetic. Every diabetic is different: like fingerprints,’ and in the same breath, ‘Here, have the same medication as everyone else.’ How to explain to a boy that this was only the beginning, that what I was feeling was only a glimpse of how this condition could ruin me in the future. Nothing personal, no real interest, all experience capped off at the basics, no one under any obligation to look further.  My life had been written off entirely as, ‘Reasonably bright, absenteeism, poor grades, and best to let him go – Jesus imposter,’ leaving me to fall between the cracks. It’s terrifying the stuff they left out.

Coy shrug of the medical shoulders, and not making eye contact on that one; how to tell a child he is absolutely going to die fifteen years earlier than his friends, getting harder now I have pressed on it. Should she be telling me this, without my mum here? I’m thinking to myself. A nervous child already half way to developing a twitch and coming to the end of a serious trauma, this will either be coped with and adjusted to or I was going to scream for weeks. But I could see the purpose of fact-of-the-matter; I have to be able to deal with this.

In the surgery, and he still has the cauliflower ear he always had when I was a child; in and out of here every two weeks with a sore belly, a flu that wouldn’t shift or a cold sore. Sometimes it would fade, returning in part to a normal ear, but mostly he had been smacked hard playing rugby and he wasn’t going to allow that to bother him. He probably remembers me staring at it, while telling my mum it was just another tummy bug going around. Reminding me that peculiar under the weather feeling of childhood is exactly how I feel now with high sugar.

I have got no idea what I’m doing in life at the moment, and for me, for once, that is a good place to be. I’ll have some more insulin now, to sober up.

Fear of flying? More scared I have to go through customs with my syringes; twenty pounds for a bloody Doctors letter stating I have diabetes, to allow me onto the flight in the first place. What a rip off. Being too nervous to present it at Customs and having to ask my Tutor, Bobby Digital to take me over for support.

Relentless, Christmas drinking season on the horizon, and it’s all becoming a repetitive haze; Brunswick Cellars, 13th Note Club, late night Chinese restaurant on payday, eight of us waking up scattered over my bedroom floor twice a week. A few of us plan for a New Year celebration together, but to be honest, I think we can no longer stand the sight of each other. I throw in the towel; I have a flu that’s not flu. It’s a winter diabetic hangover like no other, that started out in autumn and it’s time for my barely standing ass to leave the party. Clearly I am the one who has let friends down.

Assumption by a member of staff behind the prescription counter at Boots on Oxford St, London that I was a drug addict; given the corresponding treatment because I tried to purchase syringes over the counter. He walks back a few steps, opens a random drawer, pretends to look inside and says, ‘We don’t have any in stock.’ ‘I am diabetic; I have somehow managed to leave my screw top needles behind at home and have insulin vials in my bag. I need to take my insulin now, I’m getting ill; look, you can even check my blood sugar.’ ‘We won’t sell insulin syringes; you will need a prescription from your Doctor.’ ‘That’s completely hopeless.’ My reaction based on if I were a drug addict, then he just sent me away to spread HIV. I kicked up shit. They got on their knees and I doubt that clown still has a job.

It has come to pass; hacket women and alcohol; I blow chainsmoke through chill air from a cold room, trying not to care. A bottle of Baileys in case of hypos; I have become a bastard, I am sorrow and I am so fucking alone. Listening on repeat to the songs that make up excuses for how I feel. Thinking on the women who cannot remember me.

Excerpts from ‘Persona non grata with diabetes’ by Paul Cathcart