Lets kick off the week by talking about why we are here, in the diabetes blog space. What is the most important diabetes awareness message to you? Why is that message important for you, and what are you trying to accomplish by sharing it on your blog? (Thank you, Heather Gabel, for this topic suggestion.)
I’d first like to thank Karen of Bitter~Sweet Diabetes for putting together the seventh annual Diabetes Blog Week. It is wonderful to see the different voices come together each year to participate and I’m grateful to finally have the opportunity to dip my toes in the diabetes blog community waters. What a great way to unveil my own little corner of the world wide web!
I think the most powerful lesson I’ve learned during my decade of diabetes is the realization that you are never alone. This appears to be a common sentiment across the community today and it’s an important one. So often people living with diabetes can get lost in the loneliness of feeling like they’ve been dealt a hand they didn’t deserve.
I spent many years feeling exactly this way. Diagnosed as a fifteen-year-old freshman, I dabbled in denial for a bit, unable to properly accept and deal with the burdens that accompany such a significant diagnosis. I was angry and resentful of my otherwise “healthy” peers that had the advantage of navigating high school and their teen years without a chronic disease. Diabetes was not a friend of mine and I didn’t seem to have any friends with diabetes either.
I regret how long it took me to find a place where I felt that I belonged. After my first DKA experience, I knew I needed to make changes in how I approached my diabetes. Facebook groups and online forums were the first place I turned for support.
I am eternally grateful for the girls who first made me realize I wasn’t fighting this war alone. The guilt I had surrounding my inability to properly and responsibly manage my illness began to disappear as I realized I wasn’t the only one who saw the art of keeping yourself alive each day as a bit of a struggle. Had I known the secret to my own personal diabetes success was to embrace the very thing I saw as my weakness and weight to carry alone, I would have tried this positive perspective thing a whole lot sooner!
It is my hope that through this blog I can continue to positively contribute to the online community that helped me find my way when I was lost and lonely. The fellowship and friendships I’ve found through the DOC give me hope for the future. There’s just so much love and support to be shared and it’s terrific seeing others try to also harness that incredible potential. I feel fortunate to live in a time where technology can be utilized so personal connections can easily be made despite the geographical limitations.
Living life with diabetes can be hard on the body and on the spirit, but that doesn’t mean that you need to deal with it all on your own. There are hands to be held and shoulders to be cried on. There is a feeling of belonging and understanding to be realized and I’d like to do what I can to help this sense of a shared experience grow.