This blog post is a response to a prompt provided by my friends at the College Diabetes Network, who are celebrating College Diabetes Week from November 12-16. Even though I’m no longer in college, I like to participate in CDW activities as much as possible to show my support for the CDN!
Invisible illnesses like diabetes can be difficult for healthy people to truly understand. Typically, they only see bits and pieces of it; for instance, when someone performs a blood sugar check or injects insulin. There’s so much that they don’t see: doctor’s appointments, late/sleepless nights, complex calculations, careful monitoring, and so forth.
But what’s really difficult for anyone to see is the emotional impact of diabetes.
Unless I choose to open up to someone about it – which is easier said than done – then there’s no way for another person to grasp the magnitude of the emotional side of diabetes. There’s no way for someone to feel the incredible amounts of anxiety, fear, and anger that cycle through me as I deal with diabetes. While I don’t experience these emotions every single day, I DO have to experience diabetes daily, and it’s impossible for someone to know what that’s like unless they either have T1D or care for someone with it.
I don’t wish for anyone in the world who’s unfamiliar with the (literal and emotional) ups and downs of diabetes to actually learn what it’s like. But I do wish for a world that’s a little more understanding, accepting, and educated when it comes to all things related to diabetes – and that’s why I advocate.
One thought on “Type 1 Diabetes, an Invisible Illness”
Amen. Most people when its brought up talk about the physical problems and the side affects of diabetes. Rarely does anyone bring up the emotional side of it. I just had a friend from back in high school post on Facebook about being so frustrated with fighting to get her meds and dealing with the day to day issue of diabetes for so long (if I remember right she was diagnosed a year before I was. Anger, sadness, depression, and fear are maybe the most common for us. Sadness and depression are listed separately since they are in essence two different things. Not hitting your A1C goal can make you sad, but day after day of seeing highs or lows can make you feel depressed. Depression is more than just sad. It is a feeling of no hope. You feel like lhe universe is out to get you or designed to make you fail. Being able to talk to someone helps. Having someone close by to lean on can help also. Your college group is a great resource to fill that need.