I see you, with the coffee in hand, and the circles under your eyes.
Mind in overdrive, calculating the next insulin dose, thinking constantly about the impact of PE/excitement/pizza will have on blood sugars.
So fecking tired, but so sure that you will never sleep again.
I see you because I was you.
When we were first diagnosed with type one diabetes, and I entered the world of night blood testing, I tested every hour some nights, then every two hours when I settled into a routine.
I lived days full of stress, worry and deep concern about this incurable illness that had wreaked havoc on my family and most importantly on my child.
But I knew my path was intertwined now with exhaustion and that was my fate.
How exceptionally wrong I was.
Sleep is SO important. This circles back round to my mantra that as Type 1 parents we have to look after ourselves, put our own oxygen mask on first and then nuture, care and love our children.
In my opinion, we are no freaking use to our kids when we are run down, empty, and broken.
This week, my daughter is sitting her mock exams, out of range blood sugars mean she has to stay in school until they settle so she can sit the exam.
She does not want this (I don’t blame her), so I reset the 2 hourly alarms, on top of our Dexcom in order to ensure she started the day in range.
Holy mother of God, yesterday I was like a pre-menstrual teenager whose boyfriend had dumped her to run off with her best friend – that was my mood. I struggled to concentrate at work, I ached, and I longed for my bed.
How did I manage all those years?
The NHS website says:
However, the cost of all those sleepless nights is more than just bad moods and a lack of focus.
It’s now clear that a solid night’s sleep is essential for a long and healthy life.
Look at that for bastard irony, as a parent to a type 1 – not sleeping as caring for my child, may expose me to Type 2 – you couldn’t make this up!
So many of the women I work with tell me they don’t sleep. They set alarms on top of alarms, they do all the night shifts, the anxiety that “something” may happen propels them forward in their insomniac journey.
The lack of sleep increases the anxiety, the anxiety starts to dominate, your ability to function diminishes.
Put simply, you need to sleep.
Because, your health is important, as is your mindset, as is you – just you.
I know it’s hard…
I really know, I am one of you after all.
I put my health first, because I have three kids and I want to watch them all grow up, give me grandkids, and live their lives.
I have chosen when I need the alarms to sound, I have done a risk assessment on what that looks like for me – so I can care for all my children and myself.
I didn’t stop existing when Type 1 came into our lives, and the moment I stopped sacrificing my sleep that was the first step to being a far less anxious parent.
To becoming a better parent, a better carer and a million times more fun.
I repeat again – you are important, and you need sleep.
Find a way to get some.