I’m usually inherently positive about diabetes, and to be honest, about life in general. I crack a lot of jokes. I laugh at myself, and I laugh at my illness. Sometimes. Of course, that’s not always the case – like when I was told I had Type 1 Diabetes, I quietly went through the five stages of grief.
Stage 1. Denial and Isolation
Maybe it’s all just a big mistake, maybe I don’t have diabetes. How do they know for sure? If I don’t check my blood sugar I can pretend it’s fine. Ignoring it will make it go away. If I isolate myself I can hide this.
Stage 2. Anger
What did I do to deserve this? Why do I have diabetes? I look after myself, it’s not fair!
Stage 3. Bargaining
Please take it back, please tell me it was a mistake. I’ll do anything. C’mon pancreas, start working again and I’ll act like this never happened. I’ll run more, I’ll eat better. Please?
Stage 4. Depression
This is it, this is my life. I have an incurable chronic illness. My life is ruled by test strips and insulin shots. I can’t do this. I don’t have the strength for this. I don’t have the mental capacity to do the mathematics to keep my body functioning right. This SUCKS!
Stage 5. Acceptance
The fifth and final stage of grief is the reason I need to ‘clean it out’. It’s part of the reason I got my medical alert tattoo – to accept that this illness is for life. Diabetes turned my world upside down. I went from a low maintenance girl to a high maintenance girl – except instead of needing more time to do my hair, I need a little more time to test my blood sugar and inject insulin. Instead of holding my hair back when I’m sick, I might need you to open a juice box for me instead. Diabetes has taught me that my body is a little more fragile than it used to be. It’s a little more temperamental. It needs a little more care. But diabetes has also taught me that my body is stronger than I could’ve ever imagined possible, and that power was always within me. My body still endures pain, my lips still kiss, my skin still feels, my eyes still see and my heart still beats. I’m still here, and I’m still very much alive. My name is Tamsin and I have Type 1 Diabetes.