The Struggles of Being a Type One Diabetic, as Told by a Type One Diabetic

In honor of Diabetes Awareness Month, we are bringing you the reality of living with type one diabetes.

I was diagnosed with Type One Diabetes 14 years ago when I was five and since then life has been complicated. I have been on numerous treatment plans and medications throughout the years and for a long time I haven’t found “my community”. I have recently found my diabetes online through diabetic influencers and I am sure many of you would relate to the struggles of being a type one diabetic and if not and you know one, you will have a new appreciation.

Emotional Lows

When my blood sugar goes low I get very emotional. Emotional lows are one of the hardest parts so being a diabetic, being on the top of the world and then suddenly you wanna curl into a ball and cry. The worse part is when you feel like you haven’t eaten all day and start binge eating. If you see a diabetic having a low, please don’t get mad at our mood swings, just offer us a juice box.

Sensor going off after eating high carb food

What I eat everyday fluctuates and in general, my blood sugar will go up a little if I decide to eat carbs after the meal, you know normal stuff. But of course, your continuous glucose monitor alarm goes off freaking out because you ate pasta. The worse is when it goes off and people ask if you’re okay. It’s like “I’m fine, I just wanted pasta and it’ll take a while for the medicate to you know work.”

Having people stare at you

I feel every diabetic has a story about the stares, especially if you’ve ever been on injections. What the average person doesn’t understand is that we just want to live and if they don’t like then don’t stare while we do our medical treatments. We need to do these actions to take care of ourselves and we will not be shamed into doing it in a dirty bathroom. Sorry, not sorry!

“But you can’t eat that..”

People always feel the need to police what we eat, acting like they are our doctor. We can eat whatever we want, assuming we don’t have dietary restrictions, we just need to correct for it.

Then people try to offer sugar-free things with high calories, sugar-free does not equal loaded with carbs. My taste buds are not broken, I’ll splurge on something sugary every once and while with zero regrets. Do not shame us for eating or you know just existing.

I also feel comfortable lumping food shaming with people body-shaming diabetics, like we did this to ourselves? Never tell someone that they don’t look diabetic because they’re skinny/in shape or ask them if they got diabetes from being fat. No, we didn’t and even if we did, who would want this disease? Just no.

Two words “medical supplies”

Every diabetic has a closet full of medical supplies. I recently found a tester from over 10 years ago in my stash. It is a full-time job just to keep organized. If you follow the test strip trail you will find a diabetic, despite trying to dispose of them, they always end up on the floor. Are you even a diabetic if you don’t have bins of medical waste waiting to be picked up? Not to mention being the only friend with snacks and a bottomless bag with medical supplies. You can never be overprepared, especially after learning the hard way.

Finding the correct basil and bolus

Because everything affects your blood sugar, literally everything and it seems like an impossible math equation. The factors change every day: what’s the weather, did you go for a run, are you sick, is it a blue moon? I have concluded that I will never have the perfect basil or bolus. It’s just an achievement to eat pizza for most diabetics and not spike high.

Never sleepings

I have seen so many memes about diabetics not sleeping and I saw say they are true. My continuous glucose monitor wakes me up multiple times at night, even if it’s not high enough to correct. Even before my CGM, I would wake up in the middle of the night to lows, barely having the energy to get out of bed to treat. Diabetics are always tired for a reason, we don’t get a break or a good night’s sleep.