Type 1 Diabetes isn't a very good life companion. It can be very stressful and taxing to constantly treat yourself. You can't get a holiday from diabetes and the complications of untreated type 1 diabetes can be severe. Diabetes treatment is expensive and depending on your country, it can really make a dent on your finances. Is there anything good to be found from type 1 diabetes? Are there any silver linings? Here's what I have found during my 14 years of diabetes.
1. A community and a good way of doing volunteering work
Some diabetics can go for decades without meeting other type 1 diabetics. I had a time period in my life when I wasn't involved with other diabetics for almost 5 years. I did fine, but when I met others, I realised how nice it felt to share parts of the burden. My communities are online groups and in part more official diabetes associations. I attend meetings, hiking trips, events and whatnot.
I feel the communities really enrich my life and the meetings are really like a diabetic home base of sorts to me. And through the communities I have done volunteering, like "mentoring" teenaged type 1 diabetic groups. Volunteering is very important for me and diabetes has given me a good way to do it.
I think communities are an important part of social web for people. They prevent feelings of loneliness, provide a sense of belonging to something. Communities are good for you.
The biggest silver lining. Another diabetic understands your worries way better than "a normal" person. Your diabetic friend understands from a half a word and you don't have to explain diabetes related stuff. They are also sources of peer support that help you endure this shared condition of ours.
I met most of my diabetic friends through community and diabetic meetings. Not all community members become my friends, but there is always some people I "click" with the most. Friends are one of the most important things in the world. And I have gained many due to diabetes.
3. Regular health checks, blood tests and health monitoring by my Endo
My genes are really bad. In addition to insulin, I take medicine for high blood pressure and cholesterol. My endocrinologist knows me and we have a good relationship. She monitors my blood work and adjusts my other medication accordingly. My tendency for high blood pressure was noticed by my Endo in my early 20's and I have already eaten medicine for it for 10 years. Instead of 150/90, I've gone a decade with 130/70 values, thanks diabetes!
4. A free reminder when I'm not living as I should
When I don't exercise enough or eat unhealthily, my BG levels constantly nag me about it. A normal person can forget to exercise and eat whatever and the body doesn't really signal that you are doing something wrong. You just slowly gain weight and your blood values worsen.
Now if you listen to your diabetes, you can hear it signalling when your metabolism is slowing down and you need to do something. It reminds me to go and work out instantly. I dare to say I'm in better shape because of diabetes.
5. Healthier way of living
And in general, living with type 1 diabetes has made me more conscious about my general health. I want to keep myself going on for at least a hundred years still! Young people often have an illusion of immortality. Like we can do whatever we want, we are young and can take it. No worries about tomorrow! Diabetes is a constant reminder that we are not immortal.
With my mind on these five silver linings, my diabetes burnout phases are shorter and milder. Even when I'm tired, I can still treat myself pretty well. Before acknowledging these silver linings, I felt like being alone with type 1 diabetes. I've found that when I focus my energy on the positive aspects of diabetes, it makes it easier to bear.- Miika Rautiainen, Digital communications professional, community manager anda type 1 diabetic.
Have there been any times when you were thankful for your Diabetes? Share with us your stories.
IBD Medical (an IBD Group company) is an Australian-owned boutique pharmacy sales and distribution company. We are committed to providing innovative yet cost-effective solutions to common personal problems. We search the world for high-end quality medical & personal care products that have been proven to be effective. We then make them available to our customers in Australia at affordable prices.
Dottli is a diabetes management app that lets you log your values and automatically share them with your type 1 diabetic friends or family. Download Dottli's app here: http://dottli.com/apps/
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