I love meeting other people with type 1 and making new diabuddies, it’s one of my favourite things to do!
We always have so much to talk about and so many things in common. It’s nice to be able to just sit and chat with someone else that goes through the same things as you do everyday. I get them and they get me. I can understand what they are trying to say without any real need for explanation. To be honest, I think it all comes down to the simple fact that we can relate to each other.
But one thing I cannot relate to are people’s diagnosis stories.
I was three when I was diagnosed and do not remember a life without diabetes. I actually think I am quite lucky but others say they feel sorry for me. It upsets them that I never had the chance to live a “normal” life. So when people tell me their stories about being diagnosed I just don’t get it.
I never had that sinking, sick to the stomach feeling. I never had the hurt, upset and why me thoughts. I don’t know what it feels like to receive that life changing news. I can’t understand why for weeks, months and sometimes years people can’t get to grips with managing their illness. I struggle to see why it’s such a big deal.
This isn’t because I am a horrible person and don’t care about their story. In fact, I often feel quite guilty that I can’t relate to and understand what they’re going through. I wish in those moments that I could swap places with them. Allow them the opportunity to know no different and make it easier for them to accept what they have. While, at the same time, allowing me to understand exactly how hard it is for them, to feel the whirlwind of emotions they did when their life was turned upside down.
This is a particularly sensitive topic for me because of my personal relationship with my partner Gary. He too has type 1 diabetes, funny I know right?! However, unlike me he lived 21 years of his life without it. This makes it difficult for us to compare our situations and even more difficult for me to understand how hard it can be for him at times. I do try but I have to admit, I really struggle. I often find myself getting frustrated with him and have to give myself a pep talk because I know deep down that it’s not his fault. That said, the difference in our circumstances definitely makes our relationship more interesting and I wouldn’t change it for the world. We even got matching type 1 diabetic tattoos 🙂
The benefit of being the way I am does make it easier for me to get why people without diabetes sometimes just don’t get any of it. If I, as a type 1 diabetic of 22 years, cannot 100% relate to other type 1’s, how can I expect a non-diabetic to understand what it’s all about? My lack of empathy for diagnosis stories makes me more tolerant of the ignorance and stupid comments from the people whose worlds don’t revolve around glucose monitoring and insulin.
Despite all of this and the struggles I have, I still love hearing people’s stories. Although I may not be able to relate, I can still listen and learn. It helps me to get a whole new perspective on life with diabetes, and that can never be a bad thing! Please feel free to share your diagnosis stories with me, I would love to hear from you and how you coped with the process.