Overcoming An Eating Disorder With Diabetes
With being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes since the age of 12, I never anticipated all the hurdles that I would have to overcome over the years including overcoming an eating disorder with diabetes. Nor did I ever anticipate having diabetes at all—but here I am.
Throughout my teen years, I battled with my weight. Whether it be due to hormones or my diabetes—it was painful for me to look in the mirror. A lot of my anger and denial towards this disease was because I didn’t know how to accept it. Many of my peers didn’t have to face this reality—so why did I have to?
Many of negative feelings towards this disease led into depression, poor eating habits and lack of exercise. I was often picked on in school for my weight. I separated myself from people to avoid being judged or misunderstood. It was hard growing up with a life threatening disease and coping with everything else going on in my life.
When I reached the age of 19, I suffered a short period of time with an eating disorder called diabulimia. This is where I restricted my amount of insulin in order to lose weight. What I find so devastating about this disorder is that I was fully aware of the severity and consequences involved. Being that I require insulin to survive and for my body to flourish, I was essentially depriving my body of energy which could have led to death.
It wasn’t long before I broke the vicious cycle I was on. I couldn’t bare how I was feeling and what I was doing to my body. In my mind, I couldn’t justify the benefits over the risks anymore. A lot of what woke me up to the reality and what could happen to my body was a diabetic man named John (who I met). John was a 60-year-old man who suffered many complications after not taking care of himself over the years.
In the process of overcoming an eating disorder with diabetes , I started making major changes in my life. I started exercising exclusively. I also started watching what I eat. The more I started taking care of myself and my body on the outside, the better I felt on the inside. I still battle with my weight every day, but now that I’m on a good routine and regimen, it’s made my diabetes and other factors easier to cope with. A lot of what I’ve battled within this disease is mental, and that’s my biggest hurdle yet.
I’m wanting to bring attention to this important issue because it’s a problem I dealt with and needs more awareness. Type 1 Diabetics (woman and young females especially) are highly more susceptible to eating disorders—such as diabulimia. Having to constantly monitor blood sugar levels, diet, exercise, and manage weight can be detrimental on one’s self-esteem. The treatment and recovery can go far beyond just the diabetic themselves. It’s important to seek treatment and support from a physician and other reliable resources.