Navigating Support Systems

A note about this post: This post began as one thing and ended up as a very personal look at my support system for the past year as far as my diabetes is concerned.  So, as a disclaimer, I would like to say that first and foremost, I believe everyone needs to find inner strength to support themselves, because as you’ll see in this post, support systems can crumble, but you’ve always got yourself. I do a lot of work to maintain my inner support system, from reading Buddhist teachings to practicing yoga. I try to do daily meditations, as well as run daily. I also get a lot of inner strength from cooking and the library. Whatever works for you to build your confidence (which is essentially your inner strength), do it. Everyone is different. With that being said, I also believe it is important to be able to turn to others for support as well. This post focuses on that aspect of my life.


This morning, I was catching up on some of the diabetes blogs I follow. I read one post in particular that hit home about support systems.

In case you didn’t know, I’m going through a pretty difficult period in my life right now. I’m not really sure about where I want to be or even who I am (at times). I’m trying to get my life back on track and to figure out what is important to me. As usual, I’m just trying to take things day by day right now, and my last few have been pretty great as I spent the weekend hanging out with my family, helping my parents host a party, enjoying the great weather and going for multiple runs in one day. My biggest support system is definitely my parents and my closest friends (who happen to live too many miles away, but are always there for me on the phone).

In the past year though, one of my biggest supporters was A. Out of everyone in my life, he was the one who supported me through blood sugar highs and lows on a daily basis (emphasizing “daily”, HI MOM). He celebrated the little victories with me, like having great numbers and then taking me out to celebrate with ice cream or chocolate (my weakness). He was right there with me when I was worried about the highs. He knew the signs of me being low and encouraged me to test. He knew me pre-diabetes, supported me through my crazy misdiagnosis and helped me navigate the ins and outs of learning how to live with diabetes by always asking me about it (all after barely meeting me). He was learning about the disease as I was learning about it, and often times, he would come to me with new research and studies, always hopeful for the future.

A and I broke up after almost a year of dating and a rough last couple of months. I’m not going to go into the details on this blog because I don’t really think it’s anyone’s business. I’m not sure I’ve come to terms with it. I don’t know how he’s feeling about it. I do know that at the end, we tried really hard, although we never really got on the same page at the same time. But sometimes, things just don’t work out. I’m a big believer that things happen for a reason. I’m also a believer in what Bob Marley said and that “every little thing is gonna be alright.”

I’m extremely sad (and sometimes feel like nothing will be alright), but ultimately know this is the best thing for me right now. I need to just be on my own. I haven’t been a single unit in a long time. Maybe ever since I started “dating” when I was in high school. So, I’m going to take my time healing from my hurt. It was a big love and I’m dealing with a big hurt. I’m going to take my time figuring out my own life as far as what I want personally and professionally. I’m going to spend a lot of time being with myself, as weird as that sounds. I’m sure I’ll dive more into this in later blog posts. I just know that for a while, emotionally, I’ll only be available for my friends and family and that’s perfectly ok with me.

Back to the original subject of support systems: A was a great support system. I truly appreciated every little thing he did when it came to me and my diabetes. I don’t think I will ever forget those scary weeks of not knowing my diagnosis and A taking me out to dinner, staying positive and telling me it was all a mistake. To finding out it wasn’t a mistake and A telling me about a diabetes walk we had to go do. The moments where I was low and he’d try to shove food/glucose tablets in my mouth so I would be ok. Of course, my parents and friends were a HUGE support during that time as well and I won’t ever forget their help then and continued help now. I guess it was a different experience though because I live an hour and a half from them.

The whole experience created a bond between A and I. Whenever a person goes through something traumatic, it is always the people right there with them, be they strangers or siblings, that become bonded because of that experience. I guess that’s what happened with A and I, and that’s one of the hardest things about this break up.

Of course, I know I can find support all around me. Definitely from my parents and friends, from my co-worker whose boyfriend has Type 1, from a local girls meetup group sponsored by the JDRF (which I’m going to tomorrow for the first time!) and from new people who come into my life.

To be honest with you, if you’re still with me at this point, I’m not sure what the direction of this post is. It started out as one thing and turned into another. I guess I just have a lot going on in my life that I’m processing and it came out today after I read the original post about support systems. I started thinking about my own, and how right now it’s changing. Everyone needs a support system. It’s important to have people who care enough about you to help you in any way you need them to. I’m realizing it’s also important to be able to support yourself and be your own source of strength because sometimes your support system becomes broken. Sometimes your support system can no longer support you. Sometimes they just aren’t there anymore. Right now I’m relying a lot on myself to be my own support system in more ways than one and I’m feeling stronger every day. This is just life.

I’m confident I can handle it. And when I can’t, I’ve got my mom on speed dial.


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