By Mattie Peck, Marketing & Outreach Manager for the Children’s Diabetes Foundation
When living with type 1 diabetes, a good portion of your life is taboo. You’re able to speak another language of carb counting, basal rates, and needles that most of the world can’t interpret. This can easily lead to a type 1 feeling different and isolated from their peers, particularly because of the social stigmas around diabetes that are often harsh and unrelenting.
Overcoming this mentality of solidarity can be difficult and, for many, seemingly impossible. But there are currently 1.25 million people living with type 1 diabetes in the US. This fact alone is proof that you are not the only one experiencing the midnight lows, the nauseous highs, and the never-ending roller coaster in-between. Talking about these experiences with others who understand type 1 can make a world of difference in your attitude.
While commiserating together is helpful, laughing at the quirks of diabetes can be therapeutic too. Every type 1 has made the mistake of yelling “I’m high!” in a public space, not changing their lancet for an embarrassing amount of time, or over-treating for a low because that cake was simply too delicious. If you can find the humor in these situations, you can turn guilt or doubt into a good laugh and a positive attitude.
We are so lucky that we live in a world where connecting with others to have these empathetic, encouraging, or funny conversations is at our finger tips. Here’s how you can reach out:
- Find an organization (like CDF!) that is dedicated to helping people with diabetes so you can attend events, conferences, camps, support groups, or meet-ups
- Join an online community where you can share experiences and ideas (meet in person too if it’s a local group)
- Read blogs, stories, and articles about diabetes
- Ask your doctor about connecting with other patients
You’re use to taking care of your diabetes physically, but now it’s time to make your mental health a priority. I hope you can find a group (either in person or online) that lets you grieve on the tough days and laugh about the silly things on the good days. It’s guaranteed to be a boost for your attitude and a forward step in thriving with type 1 diabetes.