Written by: Christopher Henderson, Indiana Native and IU Student
Growing up with T1D, you never really think of the differences between what you have, and the other forms. You may read about it online, or learn it in school. Ultimately, you must experience one or the other for yourself. Me personally, I have read on the subject and differences between Type 1 Diabetes, and Type 2, but never really thought about how others would categorize it as the same. It would make the most sense though, wouldn’t it? for someone to think they are generally the same? Sharing the same name, often doing the same thing day in and day out, checking your sugars, watching what you eat. Trying to maintain a stable life while balancing control over your body at the same time. I suppose it just goes to show that even the best of us can be humiliated in the areas we excel in. in my case, I would have thought I knew a lot about my own disease, but that honestly couldn’t be further from the truth.
Thinking back to the way I have explained myself, I can see why a lot of people were confused when they were trying to help. Saying things like “Just eat some sugar, you’ll be fine” or “take some metformin for your high sugars”, thinking that they were all slightly crazy for saying what they did, and not even realizing I was possibly pushing them further from the truth of it all. They only knew what I had told them or what they may have overheard others talk about. I have been a lot more open about my disease than I have in the past. I would often hide it all and try to make myself more normal, but the more I explain and tell the people around me about it, the more they understand and tend to start looking at me in a different light. Not putting me on a pedestal or anything like that, but they do start seeing the signs. I see it more with family and close friends, but I will still have those in my life that think they know, but don’t really. Co-workers, School mates, even the guy at the gas station I see every day when I grab a coffee. The awareness has grown so much from when I was younger, a whole 20 some odd years ago, and it is only through education and talking things out that others will start to understand and possibly even look further into it.
It is important to not be offended when talking about T1D. if anything you should embrace it, something I am working on doing myself. It takes time, and a lot of self-confidence, but if you can embrace it and make a change in the world, even if it is to educate one person. It will have all been worth it in the end.