At Timesulin, we’re always looking for new blogs to read, and that’s how we stumbled upon “The Reality of My Diabetes” – a great firsthand account of Type 1 diabetes by Jade, a 22 year old living in Melbourne, Australia. We reached out to ask Jade some questions about what it was like being diagnosed, how she manages her daily diabetes routine, and what her biggest challenges have been so far.
When were you diagnosed with Diabetes and what was your first reaction?
I was diagnosed right before Christmas in 2009. I was 18, and just out of school. My reaction was shock! I wasn’t sure how to react really, but I left positive. I thought “I can do this.” I wish I was better prepared for what life would really be like, though. Thats one thing i wish they did better. When you’re newly diagnosed and they tell you you can live a normal life, you believe them. But you very quickly discover nothing about our lives is normal.
How did people around you cope with your condition and what kind of response did you get?
My mum and dad were heart broken to hear the news; my sisters and brother were all worried, but they were very supportive and did what they could to help.
I’m personally a fan of your blog at Tumblr. Why did you start it and what do you hope it will lead to?
I started my blog as an emotional outlet. Although family and friends are supportive, they’ll never fully grasp or understand what we diabetics have to go through everyday or how hard we have to work to keep our bodies going. Its not their fault; they just don’t. I felt so alone, as I had no one in my life with diabetes and this led to severe depression amongst other things. So I decided I would make a Tumblr account for that reason. Connecting with other diabetics really helped, and they were always there to give support and encouragement.
I want people to know that they aren’t alone and that no matter how far gone you think you are, you can always rise above it and overcome it. I want to inspire people to make a change, to better themselves. if I can help just one person then I’ll be happy. Hopefully, thats what it leads to. I’d love to be a spokesperson for struggling diabetics as well.
What’s been your biggest challenge so far with managing your diabetes and how have you overcome it?
My biggest challenge, hmmm. There are so many, but i guess my biggest ones are my battle with diabulimia and depression, the feelings of hopelessness and the loss of control I feel I have over my body and all the things that come along with that. Accepting diabetes as a part of your life when it is not something you want or will ever want is a hard thing to grasp your head around.
So my first step to overcoming it was making the choice to change. Not taking care of yourself to the degree I was left me feeling crappy in every way: physically, mentally, and emotionally. I made an appointment with a psychologist and I started to take my insulin again. Those were my first actions.
How do you manage your diabetes daily?
At first it was really hard to remember. It would be hours before my mind would remember to take it, and so i would have to correct it then. Not ideal at all. I was really tired all the time from my sugars running themselves up and down all day. Sometimes I would even forget if I had taken it at all.
To remember, I set up alarms on my phones for my meal times, or adjust them if they went off too early that day. Pretty soon after that, you stop using them.
What message would you like to send for people living with diabetes or a loved one who has diabetes?
Surround yourself with other diabetics! We know exactly what you’re going through. I think the worst thing is to feel alone with such a heavy burden. And if you ever need help don’t ever be afraid to ask; we are all here to listen and to help. It’s always good to get out a big rant and have people back you up and say, “Me too” or “I totally understand”.
Also, a broken heart is what gives us strength, and understanding, and compassion. A heart never broken, is pristine, and sterile, and will never know the joy of being imperfect.