I’ve been struggling the last week or so. It’s a combination of a lot of things. It’s the typical post-NDW slump. It’s the relentless Melbourne winter weather. It’s coming down from a few months of intense travel. It’s dealing with people doing annoying things. Plus, more annoying people throwing a bit of body shaming in my direction – new and fun. It’s the white flowers on the kitchen table, which wedded to the sadness that is never too far out of reach suddenly feels overwhelming, signifying that time of year.

It adds up. All of it. And people notice. ‘Is everything okay with your diabetes?’ someone asked me when I mentioned I was having a little bit of a tough time. I glanced at my green Loop, and my Clarity app and clocked my time in range. ‘What diabetes?’ I said, knowing that I was doing less than ever in my diabetes management, yet yielding results that just a couple of years ago would have taken attention, effort and energy that I just don’t have.

Then someone else asked me a similar question. ‘Are you feeling a little bleurgh (my word – not theirs) because of your diabetes?’

Well no. But yes. Or as we Aussies like to say ‘No, but yeah but…’. (For the record – I have never ever uttered those words in that order…)

Diabetes is not the source of me feeling over everything. I can’t point to any aspect of my diabetes that is playing up, giving me a hard time, being a jerk. But can we ever truly extricate diabetes from our emotional wellbeing?

I looked at the things that have been adding up. Post-NDW slump happens because the lead up to and then a week of solid diabetes-ing will always mean diabetes overload.  The weather means less time outdoors and doing things that take my mind away from the mundanity of diabetes – it’s seasonally affected diabetes and it brings me down because I’m far too much in my own head. The travel exhausts me, and the jet lag overpowers me and that means not sleeping which means diabetes behaves less predictably; annoying people are just bloody annoying and because of the playground I frolic in, are often connected somehow to diabetes. White flowers – something I have written about to share the personal way I mark the heartbreak of pregnancy loss – and the loss they represent, and grief they signpost is tied up with a body that is broken in part due to diabetes.

Diabetes may not be the reason for any of these separate pieces of a bigger puzzle, but it is there for each and every single one of them, no matter how small. And together, it really does start to add up.

We often want to shout from the rooftops that sometimes it’s not diabetes. The frustration we feel when everything – from a grouchy mood through to a broken arm – is blamed on our beta cell dysfunction. It’s not diabetes – rarely is it ever only diabetes. But it is never without diabetes.

I know there is light at the end of the tunnel – that I’ll be all good. NDW always gives way to the next thing and focus moves to that; blossom on trees and the daffodils in florists everywhere guarantee warmer days; the travel will start again and I’ll get back into it and just get through it; the annoying people will continue to annoy, but I’ll be better at ignoring it (at least, that’s what I tell myself…). And the white flowers? They will die and the vase on my kitchen table will instead hold something new and bright, and the grief will return to where it lives, burrowed there with the lost dreams and the memories I didn’t get to make.

And diabetes? Oh, that will still be there. Never the main thing, because I will never let it be that. But there, nonetheless.