Last week, Instagram got rid of ‘likes’. The company line was that it wants people to concentrate on content shared, rather than its popularity. Sure, Instagram, let’s go with that.

For the platform that is preferred by ‘lifestyle influencers’ (seriously – can you imagine putting that on your arrivals card?) it all seems a little disingenuous, but if not knowing who is liking content speaks to you, then perhaps this is a good idea.

I have a love/hate relationship with Instagram. I have mine pretty locked down and only share with friends and family. I only follow people who make me feel good, or make me laugh. I don’t follow anyone who makes me feel like I am not enough. Or anyone who drinks kale juice for breakfast. These good folks can namaste themselves elsewhere.

If you are connected with me on there, you’ll know that what you see mostly is photos of my family, the coffee I’m about to drink, the cookies I have just baked, and, depending on the season, blossom trees (hello, promise of spring) or jacaranda trees (hello, promise of summer). Plus, there’s diabetes spam…so much diabetes spam.

You won’t see me telling you about my perfect diabetes life though, because my diabetes life is not perfect. And you won’t hear me going on about how grateful I am that diabetes has given me so much, because really, I’m not. And you won’t hear me saying that others have it worse and that I am #SoBlessed, because … well … because #FuckThat.

I wrote once that I despise the concept of ‘At least…’ or ‘It could be worse’. Could it worse? Of course it could! But having a body that does what it is meant to would be a shed-load better!

Positive affirmations are great if they give us hope or something to hold on to. They’re not great if they start to make us feel like we are failing, or feel bad for not always being optimistic and upbeat. Sometimes, diabetes makes it really hard to walk on the sunny side of the street.

I frequently say diabetes sucks (because honestly, I am yet to hear someone tell me how it doesn’t), or that there are days that I truly hate diabetes (because I really, really do). This doesn’t mean that I am looking for someone to throw me a pity party. It doesn’t mean that I think my life is hopeless.

But some days, diabetes is especially challenging, and no number of positive memes or positive self-talk is going to change that.

I am a positive person by nature – annoyingly so at times. I see the good in people and in situations. But I refuse to believe that it is not okay to sometimes admit that my arse has been beaten that day by the health condition that is so difficult to live with, or to privately and publicly say that I truly, honestly, totally, absolutely despise diabetes.

I need the space to have those down days and the bad days and the days where I admit that I am not a superhero. I need the time to snuggle under a quilt on the sofa and watch some trash and not feel all positive or like I can conquer the world.

It is easy to believe that a lot of Instagram diabetes folks are all happy and accepting or grateful to have diabetes. Truly – if they are and are able to maintain that positive attitude all the time, that is wonderful. I’m not those people. I don’t resent them in any way. I just believe it is important to understand that not everyone is able to have that sort of outlook.

Sometimes, it’s not possible to ‘positive’ your way out of a bad diabetes day or try to convince yourself that you don’t hate diabetes, but really do love your body when it feels just so damn broken. And that is okay.

Really – it is okay to not be okay. It is okay for us to not be shiny, happy people* all the time.

What I will say is this: If your hard days are outnumbering the good days, please do see if there is someone who can help. It truly is okay to feel down about diabetes, but when you are feeling that way all the time and it’s affecting your day-to-day life, there is help.

When I find that the scales are definitely tipping that direction, my first port of call is my friends with diabetes. They never make me feel crap for not being positive. They certainly don’t feed my misery, but they do remind me that this is hard and that it is perfectly understandable and acceptable to have negative days. And closer to home, my husband knows that I don’t need a pep talk, or to be told to snap out of it, or a reminder that life could be worse. He tells me that diabetes sucks while passing me some chocolate. Smart, smart man.

I have come to learn the signs of when I need more help than that, and have a great psychologist I can link in with when I need to. I can’t tell you how much this has helped me. One of the first things my psych said to me was that it was okay to grieve my old life, and to feel that diabetes sucked. Being given permission to feel down at times felt like being able to breathe again.

And here’s the rub: knowing I don’t have to be Ms Positivity all the time – and saying just how hard things can be sometimes – actually has made me far more positive in the long run.

*I was talking about this with my beautiful friend Georgie yesterday. She is one of the first people I turn to when I am having a shitty diabetes day and we spend a lot of time just talking about how hard it can be. Her advice is always spot on. Or there is no advice – just an ear and a shoulder and a coffee date.  As we were chatting, I said the thing about it being okay to not be shiny, happy people all the time, when I realised (and told her) that REM reference was from before she was born. Oh, how we laughed and laughed. And then I felt old.

Right here, Georgie and I ARE being shiny, happy people.