When I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes a "gazillion years ago", I had no idea what I was doing.
Little information was available in 1982, and Google wasn't around yet to ask. Those simpler days sure were nice, but I missed trusted resources and an explanation on what my pancreas could no longer do.
So, without information to help guide me, I never knew how serious this auto-immune disease really was. I was a shy teenager going through puberty with a new diagnosis and about to move to a new state. I didn't understand and I assumed no one else did, so I hid my diabetes. Felt embarrassed, alone and ashamed.
Did you know that depression and anxiety symptoms are twice as prevalent among people with type 1 diabetes than people without diabetes?
Between 20 and 40% of people living with T1D experience…
Feelings of powerlessness and overwhelm due to daily management demands
Fear of low blood sugars
Worries about future health
AND, research shows, “prolonged significant diabetes distress is associated with depressed mood and elevated A1c.” [American Diabetes Association]
Not knowing can feel paralyzing
My lack of confidence showed up with years of poor blood sugar control, and eventually led to a health complication, diabetic retinopathy.
Following my health scare, it took me another 10 years to really wake up. My doctor, supportive friends and my husband who also lives with Type 1, told me straight up that I needed to get my diabetes under control.
I prayed I could just let go and give myself grace with my numbers and find out what being in control of my blood sugar would look like without causing other stress in my life. I realized my blood sugars didn't have to be perfect 24/7. What I needed was to trust myself and know the health scare I got was necessary but didn't have to keep me afraid.
Reflecting back, I now realize that my state of denial and with no clear direction it was no surprise I ran into problems, both physically and emotionally.
Read more about my journey with diabetes and passion to help other women.
You are more than a number on the meter
What to eat, portion size, carb count, insulin on board, insulin sensitivity...exercise now or later...so many factors to toss into an equation.
Navigating the day to day is like an algebra problem, doesn't make sense, but realize it's worth the effort when you do figure it out.
I fumbled around for many years until I figured out a better way, now helps me emotionally and physically.
I decided years ago that I'm not a victim and diabetes was not the enemy. Once I surrendered to my diagnosis and let go...my thinking changed. This mindset shift changed how I decided to live with my disease.
These 3 Hacks help me feel in better control, not perfect but feeling more in charge of my journey.
1) Mindset - I stopped beating myself up for the roller coaster I was on and focus instead on what I am doing well and continue to build on this and celebrate it!
2) Confidence - Years of messing it up with scary highs and lows, I now know what works and I stick to it 80% of the time. Consistent habits and craving how great this feels, is self-motivating.
3) Support - My husband also manages type 1, and he gets it. We both love to eat healthy and move daily. Having someone to lean into when it's working and lean in even closer when it's not.
Btw: as I'm typing this...my blood sugar is creeping up after eating a few to many cranberries on my salad...doing the best I can with this daily science experiment.
Discover what’s possible
Women with diabetes can feel pretty lonely. It’s one of the reasons I created the Diabetes is Delicious Community Facebook group. Without support, it’s so common to run yourself ragged trying to figure it all out. Many women quit and fall into depression — but the world needs you!
Yes, it’s possible to live a full life with diabetes.
It’s possible to have the life/health balance you’ve always dreamed of (the one you probably left behind when first diagnosed).
It’s possible for you to make it all happen in a way that supports your wellbeing and allows you to plan for you and your family’s future. And what an exciting future it will be!
Success happens a lot faster with the support of a community of people who are focused on their health along with you. Join the Diabetes is Delicious Community Facebook group come meet other women, to help you discover real food and lifestyle practices you can sustain to enjoy this stage of life emptying your bucket list.