Will it get better? It all started about a year ago. You know how you see the commercials on TV that speak of diseases like AIDS, STD’s, etc. And you say: “That’ll never be me..”. Well, I said that exactly 1 week before I went to the doctor and got diagnosed with Juvenile, or Type 1, Diabetes. For me, at 12 years old, it was A terror! This meant no candy, only diet drinks and sugar free stuff, and a strict diet. Not to mention a 3 day stay in the hospital and check-ups every 4 months. I cried for 2 hours. I am a little over it now, but I still have my days when I break down and cry again, not feeling like I’m able to live like a normal person.
A few months after that, I kept having recurring thoughts of suicide, but never attempted it. I remember clearly, just as the suicidal thoughts started to leave, I get home from school one day and BAM!, I find out my diabetic grandpa committed suicide around 11:00 that morning. The day before the funeral, I was standing by the casket with my cousin, looking at my cold, lifeless grandpa. I remember my cousin crying and saying to me “I just…I just want him to wake up, I expect him to wake up. But it’s not going to happen.” I cried with her, I felt the same. She talked me into touching his hand, which I left the bud of a flower in, for the last time. The funeral was terrible. It was raining and everyone was so sad. I remember going with my cousins to another cousin’s apartment and listening to music. I had to listen to music to get my mind off it. After that, nothing was the same.
My mom has been weird. I’ve been “bad” and tried suicide 2 times, obviously without succeeding, and my grades in school are going down. Life has gotten bad for me. I still have a few good friends and the ones who are good, true friends, know who they are. I spend much of my time watching sad movies and being online. Will life get better?
- Being diagnosed with a chronic illness, especially at such a young age, can make you feel isolated and like your future is being controlled by your illness. You are brave for being able to face your illness and live with all the struggles that come with it.
- There are many sufferers of Type I Diabetes. It may help you emotionally to connect with others that have the same illness as you. Venting how you feel to people who are going through the same things as you and who may know how you are feeling can help you feel more validated, less alone, and even like you have more control over your life.
- Read up on how other sufferers of Type I diabetes deal with their illness. The internet can be a great pool of resources through which you can find tips and maybe even products that will make your life easier. Make sure you have a parent help you decide which internet resources are safe and reliable. For example, maybe you want to look for an insulin pump– people often post reviews on health products so you can find the product that suits you best. Or maybe you miss eating dessert– there are many recipe blogs online that post desserts using artificial sweeteners so you can still enjoy food without impacting your health.
- Remember that you are not alone. You have a support network if you choose to use it– you not only have a community of fellow Type-I diabetes sufferers, you have your family and friends who love you dearly and would like to see you thrive. Being diagnosed with an illness does not have to end the quality of your life. You can be a successful student, friend, and family member while having diabetes. Know that even though you do not have 100% control of your diagnosis, you do still have control over your life and where you’d like it to go.
- The major obstacle you most likely face is the emotional weight that comes with being diagnosed. These negative emotions may fade on their own– it just takes time. Things tend to get better with time, so if you can be patient with yourself, you may slowly see that your life will improve. Living with Type I diabetes is a major adjustment but you may feel much better after you finally adjust and accept your new life. To move on, it is important to accept your situation and then decide how to make the best of the situation. If you ever feel that your new life is one that is not worth living, please call Child Help USA at 1-800-4-A- CHILD (1-800-422-4453). This hotline is available 24/7 to listen to you and help you cope with suicidal thoughts. Please remember that your life, with or without diabetes, is still one worth living and one that is filled with love and support.
- What does diabetes keep you from doing in your life? What doesn’t diabetes keep you from doing in your life?
- What can you do to make your life with diabetes more bearable?
- How has your life changed since diagnosis? What can you do to fix this?
- What hasn’t changed since your diagnosis? What do you love about your life?
- How can your friends and family help you through this rough time?