Having Diabetes - Our Stories
Now, one of the problems with having to live with something like Diabetes is the fact that you can't actually tell that someone's got it through just looking at them.
"Well surely that's a good thing" I hear you say, and well yeah, I suppose it is a good thing in some respects - "I mean, thank goodness it doesn't make you disfigured or confined to a wheelchair or something" and yeah again, I'd agree wholeheartedly. Sometimes though, the fact that it's one of those "invisible" conditions, actually makes it doubly hard to live with...
Being diagnosed with Diabetes at the age of 8 years old was something that I just wasn't prepared for - and why should I have been? After all, since that day, the only thing I had to worry about was what I was having for tea, or what I was getting for Christmas - the normal stresses and strains of being a young boy. Then, all of a sudden it was - "Right then, you're going to be injecting yourself 2-3 times a day for the rest of your life and you'll have to carry glucose and biscuits everywhere you go... any questions?"
Yeah, it was a bit more complicated than that (and still is) but I can tell you that my life hasn't been quite the same since, and although I do admittedly manage quite well - it's something that will never go away and is still (to but it bluntly) a right pain in the a*se.
In a nutshell then, Diabetes is a condition which describes when the body stops producing Insulin (the hormone needed to break down sugars in the bloodstream) and so therefore it has to be given "artificially" through injections or tablets. It's not a contagious disease or anything, it just kinda "happens"- and it just decided to sort of "happen" to me out of the blue... what a bugger.
Thankfully though, when I was young, all my school chums just accepted me and my funny habit of having to run out of assembly (or wherever I was at the time) to go and eat a biccie - and they still do, which has really helped me over the years. Being a thoughtful kid though, it began to dawn on me that I was a little bit different - and whilst everyone else didn't really bat an eyelid when I sat out of P.E. or whatever, I felt really fed up. It was these thoughts that often made me feel totally alone and depressed...
The best way that I could describe being a Diabetic would be living with a Tamagotchi Virtual Pet (y'know, those little electronic eggs that you have to feed and send to bed etc.) that you can never turn off. For me, it's a life of constant decisions - Should I eat this? How much insulin should I have? What should I take with me? - and when I occasionally take a step back from it all, I realise that it occupies loads of my time.
It's this continuous, unrelenting way of life that my friends and family just don't see - and in a way I'm grateful that they just let me get on with it. Sometimes though - I'd like them to experience having a hypo (when my blood sugar drops low) and feeling crappy in the middle of the night or having to take an injection with them every time they visit a restaurant - because sometimes I would just like to show them what I put up with. That way they might appreciate why I occasional get moody, or why I don't feel like going out sometimes - it's tiring (not to mention annoying) having to explain yourself all the time I can tell you!
"So what are you actually trying to say then?" I hear you shout, and my answer to that would be - "Well nothing really". I mean, I'm not trying to wrap all Diabetics in cotton wool or anything like that, but I 'spose if you know someone who has the condition, then maybe you might read this and think - "Hmmm, maybe I'll find out some more about it" or even perhaps give that person an easier time or offer help when they're not feeling well next.
If you are a Diabetic reading this, then I know that your experiences of the condition will be different to mine - it's one of those things that affects everyone in slightly different ways. I really hope though, that maybe it might make you feel slightly less alone, because although it probably feels like you're "The Only One", loads of people have to put up with it every day just like you….it just doesn't seem like it eh?
I decided to write this article for pupiline because I thought that having Diabetes, much like being bullied or picked on, often makes a person feel depressed, despairing or whatever (I know it does me sometimes) and believe me, no-one ever deserves to feel like that.
Anyway, those were my thoughts - I could ramble on for days about other stuff that's happened to me and more, but that would be no use to anyone...just boring. I just want you to remember though, that although it's not a disease you can catch or a visible disability - it is still a bit of a problem for those of us who have to live with it!
- Eddy Vista