These are my positives of being type 1 diabetic, let me know yours in the comments!
Type 1 diabetes sucks, I think we all know that and don’t need reminding from an external party! But there are positives as well, these can be very hard to see at times, but positives do exist. It wasn’t until I sat down to write this post that I properly thought about all the things that wouldn’t have happened if it weren’t for being a diabetic.
I met my other half Jake on a ski season in Courchevel, France back in 2017/18. We bonded over Harry Potter and that was that really! We both worked within the same hotel, but I was not due to work in that specific hotel, due to being a diabetic, the company needed to guarantee I had a personal fridge available to me to store my insulin in – which they could not in my original placement. I was re-located to Courchevel purely due to being a diabetic! How grateful I am for that as I would never have met Jake otherwise and we are just two peas in a pod! We wouldn’t have met outside of our season due to Jake living in Kent and myself in Warwickshire, our paths would never have met! Not only was that the best 6 months of my life, just living in a carefree environment, albeit it ended very badly (Life support in Geneva hospital in DKA), I have met my soulmate! Jake has provided me with so much confidence, support etc that I do not know what I’d have done without him. His support got me through university, a place where I was extremely unhappy not only that, but I achieved a grade I could only dream of!
For the above, I am extremely grateful I am a diabetic just for out paths to cross, this will always eb my biggest positive!
Understanding My Own Self Worth and Body Limits
Now this is a positive I have only just been able to appreciate, when I was at my lowest points especially my relationship with diabetes would think I had no self-worth, I had no point of living and I was just one big waste of insulin. But after countless therapy sessions to help get me out of this way of thinking, a new light has been shone. I need to put myself first in almost every situation, if I am not comfortable somewhere, not well enough to go or worried about someone knocking me whilst I am injecting for example, I have the authority and the right to share what I am feeling. We are unfortunately all chronically ill, yes on the outside diabetes may appear to be nothing to others but it’s a 24/7/365 condition, may brain does not stop thinking about it.
WHO definition of disability is:
A person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activity
Diabetes fits into this as it is a physical impairment of the body, the pancreas no longer is completely working as it should and for that we rely solely on insulin injections to survive.
If people cannot understand this or another reason why you aren’t up for leaving the house etc then remind them! I have no shame for cancelling last minute or changing plans, so my friends come to me instead if my body isn’t up for leaving the house. If you become more open with friends/family, they have a better chance of understanding and being much more receptive to it.
N.B. this won’t be the case for all people.
Attached to this, everyone’s bodies have a limit on what they can/can’t do. For me, being a diabetic has helped me understand what that limit is for me and if I want to push it, how can I change my current routine to allow this.
If my blood sugars have been consistently high, which isn’t uncommon for myself, I will be significantly more tired. I will need a nap every day to get over the constant stress of high blood sugars. I will work at a slower pace due to my body trying to get over the side effects of high blood sugars. It is tough, as you all know, but I have found by being open about this to friends and family they too get to understand more about the impacts of diabetes. They know I physically won’t be up for leaving the house etc.
Understanding My Resilience
Diabetes certainly pushes you to the end of your tether, I have been knocked down so many times by diabetes and shaking myself off to start over is so very difficult. But through doing this I have proved to myself that I can start again from nothing, even on my tough days I know they will get better. To be honest, this battle with myself happens sometimes once a week but at the very least once a month which can be hard to swallow especially when nothing has changed but as I and so many others have said before, diabetes impacts every aspect of your life, with alterations occurring at every possible chance so it will be difficult! But I wouldn’t have known about this internal strength otherwise as diabetes is something you cannot give up on, you must push through it, and I am pleased I am aware of my own resilience. When I get to a tough aspect of life, for example, trying to find a full-time job post university, I know I have to internal strength to carry on even after rejection upon rejection.
Setting Up My Instagram and Blog
When I achieved my GCSE’s, my English teacher said to me that I wouldn’t have been accepted onto the English A-Level even if I wanted to do it. These words have haunted me ever since I heard them, I had no intention of doing English, I wasn’t interested in English, but I had achieved a B which I was proud of and essentially, I was told I wasn’t good enough. Now all my grades I have ever achieved (apart from 3rd year of uni grades) have been impacted by my diabetes as my bloods were not manageable but this is for another blog post, so I have never achieved my full potential. But hearing this on results day was very hurtful. I never thought in a million years that I’d have my own diabetic Instagram account let alone writing blog posts once a week! I am truly amazed at how far I have come since GCSE’s! I am proud I am a diabetic and I have had the pleasure of virtually meeting so many other diabetics which have been such a joy! I have been amazed at how many other people have been silently suffering, with the same thoughts and feelings I have had previously. The Diabetic Online Community is truly a magical space for anyone to share feelings, tips etc and I am so grateful to be a part of it! So thank you all for accepting me back in January 2021 when I had no idea where my Instagram page was going to take me! (If you wanted to follow me on Instagram then please click the Instagram icon at the top/bottom of the page!)
Now time for a couple of jokey positives for being a diabetic! I love how organised I have become since being diagnosed. I have always been a planner, ensuring I follow instructions and lists, complete all my homework on time etc. But now even if I am going away for the weekend, I will be writing a list to pack and place post-it notes so I don’t forget insulin. I have apps downloaded to remind me to take my insulin etc and my organisational skills certainly wouldn’t be this good if I wasn’t diagnosed!
Now this is only relevant for others who live in the UK as well. But when you turn 18 in the UK, everyone should pay for their medical prescriptions except those with certain medical conditions, diabetes is luckily one of them. You apply for a Medical Exemption Card from the doctors. This is valid for any prescription you can pick up as well, whether that it’s for antibiotics etc! Such a bonus for such a crappy disease! Also due to the impacts of being poorly with diabetes, we are eligible for the free flu jab! As a person who hates needles, I urge you all to go and get your flu jab, if these past 2 years with COVID haven’t shown the importance of keeping up to date with vaccinations then I don’t know what will. It’s much better to have the jab in a preventative measure instead of risking your life being in DKA at A&E!
Have you guys got any other positives of being a diabetic? If so, please comment them below:
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