What Living With Diabetes Feels Like
Diabetes is often perceived as a self-inflicted disease. It’s assumed that someone brought it upon themselves by poor eating and lack of exercise. It’s commonly joked about and mocked in conversation with reference to body image and sugary foods.
With so many misconceptions and negative stereotypes, it causes this disease to be greatly overlooked. For those battling to often feel misunderstood and ashamed. From the outside looking in, it may seem that insulin is the solution—however it’s not, it’s my life support. That maybe if I change my diet all my problems will be solved—unfortunately that will not cure my diabetes.
To be honest, I had no idea that I would get sick one day and never get better. That my immune system would attack the insulin producing cells in my pancreas. An organ that I didn’t know existed prior to diagnosis or how important it actually is.
That I would have to work at this every day—whether I like it or not. By testing my blood sugar, taking insulin injections, and balancing what I eat.
Some would say “that seems tough” or “I could never do that“. But they don’t realize that I don’t have a choice.
If they only knew that diabetes is much more than “just” that. Diabetes is much more than what managing it looks like on the outside but how diabetes feels like on the inside. There’s a lot of emotion that goes into it. A lot of thinking, a lot of worrying, a lot of uncertainty, and sometimes a lot of chaos.
If only they really knew what living with diabetes feels like:
It’s that dry, fruity breath and taste in your mouth. Where nothing can quench your thirst.
The brain fog where you feel out of tune with your own body.
The pain or burning sensation when taking insulin to keep us alive. Constantly feeling like a pincushion.
Having scars left that mimic battle wounds. That are placed on the most insecure parts of your body.
The dazed, confused feeling of where am I and how did I get here. This disease not only alters your body but your mind.
The dependency of not only insulin, but medical equipment, devices, meters, and food when we get low.
Guilt that weighs heavy on us. That is carried from our day to day tasks, our mistakes, and wishing we didn’t have to learn the hard way.
Being extra cautionary towards injuries, infections, wounds, and always having paranoia. Our bodies taking longer to heal.
The pressure builds from the responsibility on our plates. Having every intention to do good, but doesn’t always appear to work out that way.
Patiently waiting for the highs to come down or the lows to come up. How EVERYTHING affects our blood sugar.
The inevitable being present. This disease takes a toll on our bodies and we feel it. No matter how well in control we are.
The blurry vision and the lack of focus.
The anger that seeps through from the rollercoaster ride of blood sugars and emotions.
The tired feeling from doing this day in and day out for so long and trying to stay strong. With no days off and no vacation.
Having the feeling of everything being wrong but having the inability to put it into words exactly what that is.
I Want To Be Cured—Not Managed.
I can still live a long fulfilling life if I take care of myself to the best of my abilities. Knowing things could be much worse. I’m grateful for all the advances in technology and the everyday improvements being made in diabetes management.
But we still need and deserve more—we need freedom from Type 1 Diabetes. The burden to be lifted from our shoulders and our family members. Where we can sleep soundly, not have to deal with the highs and lows, or be dependent on insulin.
If more people knew more about this disease. How insulin is not a cure, how it is life threatening, and what living with diabetes feels like to those battling it every day. Then maybe—just maybe, they will want to help cure it too.