My Struggle As A Teenager With Diabetes
Being a teenager with diabetes was a struggle, to say the least. I was a typical teenager, combating hormones, stress from school, and wanting to fit in with my peers. Then throw diabetes into the mix, and you have yourself a world of complications.
Very few of my classmates knew I was diabetic.
It often took a diabetes incident to occur for others to notice that I had a health condition. I was embarrassed about having diabetes. I thought that I would be made fun of or be left out.
The only people who were aware of my health condition was my family and a select few of friends. But it was hard opening up about it. I felt like a burden and I didn’t want people to pity me.
It’s hard not only dealing with the roller coaster ride of diabetes, but having to depend on someone else to look after you in case something were to happen. That’s a big responsibility to put on someone when I couldn’t even handle it myself.
There was a day that I remember vividly. It was in the 7th grade during a math class. My sugar ended up dropping severely low. The last thing I remember was feeling very tired. Then all of a sudden, I was being placed in an ambulance. The stories I heard was I blacked out and I fell out of my desk. Thankfully, my friend was there to inform others of what was going on.
That’s not a normal day for your average teenager. While everyone else my age was going about their day, carefree, I was experiencing a life-threatening event.
I was a brittle, unaware, teenager with diabetes, for sure. I wish I could have handled myself better then. I didn’t know what I was doing. I didn’t know half as much as I know now about my disease. I was “taking shots in the dark”, shall you say. Hoping for the best.
I couldn’t tell you how many times 911 was called after getting home from school. I think the EMT’s knew me by name. Insulin can be deadly if not careful and I just couldn’t figure it out. I wanted to just be normal. I was letting diabetes win at that time, not realizing that I had a fighting chance.
My doctor insisted that I get on the pump. But at that time in my life, I refused. I didn’t want something attached to my body. I was so wrapped up into what others would think.
At times, I felt like I needed some guidance—some support.
Maybe I was seeking attention—almost like a cry for help.
Looking back at being a teenager with diabetes, I wish I could have taken better care of myself then. There are so many things I would tell myself, that I know now. But with all of my struggles, it has definitely made me a stronger person. I wouldn’t be where I am today without it. I fought hard to get where I’m at. It just so happens that years down the line, I just woke up. I realized there is a purpose behind this, I do matter, and I’m the only person that can save me.
I hope by sharing my story, type 1’s who have been hiding in the shadows and parents who are struggling to get through to their child can feel heard and understood. That this time shall pass. That what you’re dealing with now will eventually get better and to just hang on. Have faith, love yourself, and learn more about this disease everyday.
Today I’m the happiest and healthiest I’ve ever been. I feel good about myself and I don’t see diabetes as a weakness any longer—but as a strength. I’m proud to have diabetes because it has made me who I am. I’m not the ideal “perfect” diabetic—by no means.
But I’m living proof, that no matter how little of control you feel you have, you can take back your life and turn it around… By just believing that you can.