Sue is a nurse and a mum of two boys. Her youngest son Oliver has Type 1 diabetes. Through work, Sue got emotional and mental health support from a clinical psychologist. Here she talks about all the emotions she experiences as a carer and what helps her manage them.
Her son Oliver has Type 1 diabetes
"What I would like to see for the future would be an increase in the amount of psychological well-being support and actually recognition that looking after mental health is equally as important as the physical health needs of diabetes."
Sue's journey with diabetes
- Her son Oliver has Type 1 diabetes
- As a carer and a nurse, she sought support for more mental and emotional support
- Sue regularly fundraises for Diabetes UK
Feelings as a carer
I don't know how to have a full night's sleep now. I wake up at two o'clock no matter what, even if he's not with me. I'm just designed that way now.
"I don't like to burden people with what you have to do all the time."
You just become this boring person that's just whinging and moaning about the fact you're so tired. I just do it you, I just get on. It is just relentless and a constant worry about the consequences.
Oliver has had difficulty in dealing with his own emotions when it comes to diabetes. He got his diabetes bag and he threw it and just said 'I don't want it anymore, I can't do it, I don't want this life I don't want to live like this anymore'. I held him and just told him that he's going to be okay, that he can handle it and he can do it.
The hard bit is that you've got to let them go. As a mum of a teenage child, the most powerful thing that I can do is to empower Oliver to go and live an independent, happy, fulfilled life. When they've got diabetes, it's very scary thinking about actually what could happen.
Support for mental and emotional health
"Your emotional tank runs out very easily when you're giving care constantly. I was recognising that I was feeling carer's fatigue so I see a clinical psychologist once a month."
This was a private arrangement. This was me asking people I work with, because I'm a specialist nurse.
Seeing a psychologist to help me to skill up on the mental health side of things, to help my patients and also help me, and help Oliver. And because I'm a nurse, there's almost that kind of feeling of expectations that you can handle health problems but it's very different when you're kind of living with them.
And as part of my emotional well-being I also try to get out walking, running, exercising at least two to three times a week and that helps me to keep a healthy body as well as a healthy mind. It's just a bit of escapism.
What I would like to see for the future would be an increase in the amount of psychological well-being support and actually recognition that looking after mental health is equally as important as the physical health needs. And more investment in those services to help support people and families like us. You know if you look after your emotional health and your mind then you can have a full fulfilling and happy life with a medical condition.