As a child, I had no diabuddies. I refused the camps I was invited to. I wanted to be as "normal" as possible so that no one would notice I was different.
Now, when I see kids enjoying themselves at #friendsforlife in DisneyWorld, showing off their pumps on social media, making diabuddies...it fills me with so much joy knowing they are growing up confident with their type one diabetes. I'm almost a little jealous, and disappointed that I didn't allow myself the same opportunity. As a child I ended up feeling like I was the only one for miles who had “it” and I had never felt so alone and angry at the world.
Recently, I wrote down some thoughts about what I wished I could have told 11 year old me. Should you come across this and your feeling the same, I hope it helps just a little. And if you know of anyone who may need right now...send it to them.
You're back at school now but you're still angry and sad all the time.
I get it. It’s okay to cry and shout. That feeling never really goes away. It’s always there....but eventually only for a few seconds. And then it goes.
I am sorry that you feel embarrassed by the “new you”. You see people staring and you hear whispers and you think they are about you. Sometimes they are, but that’s because they don’t understand.
Your sick of people telling you you’ll be okay, but they don’t have what you have. How could they possibly know? Your annoyed by the pity in people’s eyes ...and when they eventually stop your annoyed that people can go back to their normal lives so easily and yours still seems destroyed. It’s not destroyed...it’s just different. I am sorry that you want to be just like everybody else.
You're not anymore.
But that’s not a bad thing. You're one of a kind. You are unique and brave and you shouldn’t hide this new part of you. You are a warrior. And if you stop hiding, you’ll see you’re not alone. Don’t wait years before you embrace the real you. Just be yourself in front of whoever’s watching. Do not jump through hoops to hide any part of what makes you “you”.
Even if it’s the part you hate most right now.
You won’t always feel this way, and one day you’ll wish that it hadn’t taken so long to just love yourself the way you are now, WITH diabetes.
Is there anything you wish you could tell 11 year old you? Or in fact, is there anything you wish you could have told yourself after diagnosis? I'd love to know what advice you'd have given to younger you.