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Living with type 1 diabetes: Dealing with feelings

Edited: 17.04.2024

Anne-Charlotte Ficheroulle

Pharmacist, Digital Innovation Manager, A4D

1. Understanding and accepting Type 1 Diabetes diagnostic.

Type 1 Diabetes doesn’t just affect you physically, it can affect you emotionally too. All young adults with T1D may worry about the challenges of the day to day management of their condition and its impact on their future. As a teenager or young adult, it’s the moment of your life that you are learning how to be independent from your parents and plan your next step in life such as university, work or starting a family.

It is perfectly normal at this stage to feel sad, angry or upset by the situation because most of other young people won’t have to have to face the same challenges as you. But be sure that the more independent you are and in control with your T1D, the more you will feel able to have a normal life like any other adolescent.

So don’t be a bad friend. Be a good friend who cares and is interested. And be someone who communicates daily with the people closest to you. That way you will soon learn about this condition and how to work with it to get the best control you possibly can.

Even if it’s a time in your life when you want to express the natural need of getting independent from your parents you should know that they will always be concerned and care for you. You can always share the burden with them. Both can coexist: independence and support.

2. Dealing with feelings.

One major step on your journey as a Type 1 Diabetic, is acceptance by learning how you can adapt to the situation to stay in control of your life. If you don’t try to constantly battle it but on the contrary learn about it, your mental wellbeing will improve dramatically.

You are not alone, so try reaching out to those around you and ask and look for help, support and information. This condition is all about YOU!

If YOU want to control it, YOU will. The only thing stopping you is YOU. You may not feel it every day but you are so much stronger than you think. You can do amazing things but you have to allow yourself to go for it. The body always follows the mind. Not the other way round – never.

It’s normal to have lots of different feelings about your condition but you will have to get used to taking care of your diabetes and making that care part of your day to day life. You can still be a normal young adult just like anyone else by implementing just a few routines in your life – just like brushing your teeth everyday! The more you succeed in a few routines the less you need to think of the burden of Type 1 Diabetes, and the less complications it will probably create in your life now and later on.

3. Becoming independent.

As you grow older, you may start to contemplate a more independent life, away from your family but for that you have to be even more responsible and being active in the control over your life and your Type 1 Diabetes. Take time to process everything and take each new challenge one step at a time. You don’t need to rush, it’s not easy to change what you’ve been doing.

Being able to adapt your routine in a new environment will be one of the key to success to live a responsible and independent life.

4. Taking care of your emotional well-being.

As it is difficult to live with day to day Type 1 Diabetes, sometimes you will feel a bit down, this is completely normal.

– Depression
But if these feelings won’t go away, you might feel aware of the risk of depression. Having depression and diabetes is more common than you might think – people with diabetes are twice as likely to develop depression than people who don’t have diabetes.

To feel depressed is when you sometimes have a feeling of hopelessness, and where you find it difficult to feel anything positive about your life. You might also isolate yourself more and more from others. What you should know is, that you are not alone in feeling like that once in a while. So it is important to be able to recognize the signs of depression and immediately share it with your family and your doctor.

Diabetes distress
You can sometimes feel frustrated, guilty, sad or worried. You can as well often get anxious about having hypoglycaemia or other complications. If these feelings don’t go away or start to take over your daily life, then it’s important you talk to someone about it. It’s understandable if you feel this way from time to time – you’re not alone.

– Emotions and food
Diabetes can put more of a focus on food and diet. Having to pay close to attention to what you eat can be stressful. Some people find they eat more when they’re stressed or eat less because they’re feeling low. Eating different foods can have an impact on your mood too.

Sometimes, it can mean more of a focus on weight and body image too. This can lead to an unhealthy relationship with food, something called an eating disorder. It is a serious issue that people with Type 1 diabetes can develop. If you’re struggling with it, it is important that you are raising the concern and look from support from your diabetic care team.

5. Looking ahead.

Having Type 1 Diabetes is being prepared for ups and downs. Even when you’ve adjusted to having Type 1 Diabetes, you might have a few struggles. Maybe your blood sugar will get too high or too low, even though you’re following your doctor’s advice.

Try to be patient and be on the lookout for good things that might happen along the way, too, like feeling confident, brave, and proud of all you’re learning to do.

Positive emotions can be part of the adjustment process too. As you adapt to your diabetes, you might find yourself feeling confident, determined, hopeful, relieved, supported, strong — and yes, even happy.

In time, you can become an expert at recognizing and dealing with your emotions, and doing your part to care for your health. In fact, having diabetes might even teach you ways to cope with and adjust to life’s challenges in a way that many other young adults can’t. But please remember this, if it is the only thing you take away from this article. The teenage years are the most important period in anyone’s life who has Type 1 Diabetes.

It is the time when there is a lot of changes in your body and it is the time when good sugar control is essential if you want to avoid severe diabetic complications later in life.

Dont be scared. Just accept this fact, and do your best to achieve the best sugar control you can. That is all any one of us can do. Like always, the only thing stopping you is YOU!

Icon Disclaimer:

You are not alone!

There are many people who have the condition.

on the Type 1 Facebook community.