I have been living with Diabetes for over 16 years now, and am inching closer to that 17-year mark. I have gone through many different stages in how I choose to look at living with a chronic illness. I have gone through stages of denial, anger, sadness and every other emotion you can think of.
Lately, however, I have been overcome with a sense of motivation that has absolutely changed my outlook on this horrific disease.
My motivation to take care of myself with regard to my Diabetes didn’t start until I was a freshman in college, which is something that I wholeheartedly regret. At that point in time, I was my own source of motivation to do well. I was also my own worst enemy by really getting down on myself when things didn’t go exactly how I wanted them to in terms of my blood sugar.
It wasn’t until this past summer when I came across an entire Type 1 Diabetes community online that I realized how common everything I was feeling is.
There are two main outlets that I use: Instagram and Beyond Type 1. Beyond Type 1 is a forum type of application where fellow Diabetics can share their questions, tips, struggles, successes and more.
Of these two applications, Instagram has made the largest impact on me.
I have always known that Diabetes (type 1, specifically) is not as uncommon as it feels. But, when you are living with something that takes up every ounce of your energy, you can’t help but to feel alone in the battle.
It wasn’t until I randomly came across Type 1 Diabetes focused accounts on Instagram that I started to feel like I wasn’t alone in this and that there were others out there that truly understood what I was going through, and not just people who sympathized with me.
When I saw that others were going through the same things as me, I started to feel a sense of comfort in this disease. I started to realize that everything that didn’t go my way was going to be ok.
I have been able to both give and receive advice, and I have come to realize that you truly never stop learning about the ins and outs of Diabetes.
The amount that I have learned from others is miraculous in my eyes. I have also been able to gain more insights on tricks that I can use to maintain my health and foods that are good/bad for blood sugar that I would never have considered before. I have been introduced to a whole support system that I never thought existed.
There are dangers of this, though. I find that it is easy to put yourself in comparison with others, especially those who seem to be doing better than you. Of course, this is something that has to be taken with a grain of salt because not everyone is as transparent on social media as you would hope.
I must admit, as well, that I have found myself to become even more obsessive about my blood sugars than I ever have before. It is frustrating, and it is easy to be hard on myself, but it has also led me to be the healthiest that I have ever been.
The best thing that I have taken out of all of this is the confidence in sharing this disease and being open about it in a more public manner. I have always been open about educating people on the disease, and I have never been closed off when people ask me questions about it.
I was, however, very secretive in allowing Diabetes to be something visible on me. What I mean by this is that I never liked to check my blood in public, and I never wanted people to be able to see my insulin pump.
Now, however, I proudly wear my pump in some of the most visible parts of my body and have nothing but confidence about it! So, thank you Instagram. You have truly changed my life for the better.