When the doctor came back into the room and told me I was a diabetic, my reaction was similar to being told I had a sinus infection. I expected the doctor to just write me a prescription, and send me on my way, but instead I was on my way to the hospital. I was only 15-years old and knew nothing about what was going on. I had no idea that a few weeks from then I would be stared down by strangers while trying to take my medication. I had no idea that I would uncontrollably stuff my face with food every time I got low blood sugar. Everything the hospital told me about this disease went by in a blur and did little to nothing for to prepare me for what was to come.
I went from living the dream of a high school student to living in what seemed like a nightmare. I felt the need to hide myself when taking my medication just to keep others from staring at me like some drug addict. I felt like my life was spiraling out of control. I felt like I didn’t belong anymore because of how people acted to me pulling out a syringe in public.
After getting released from the hospital, I wasn’t sure how my friends would act toward me anymore. I was afraid that they might abandon our friendship, but I had to force myself to tell them what was going on with me. I hated having to tell them, because I felt as though I was forcing them to take care of me if something were to happen to me when they didn’t ask for that kind of responsibility. Luckily that situation hasn’t happened, but with my friends having an understanding of my disease it eased my mind a little knowing that I won’t be left alone if my blood sugar goes out of whack.
Something that young people who are diagnosed with diabetes need to realize is that going through this radical life change has a possibility of really affecting your mind. I found this out the hard way, due to a low blood sugar. When your blood sugars drop, and even when they go high, you can sometimes lose yourself. I would stuff my face with anything edible I could get my hands on, until my mom walked in the room and asked why. All I can remember is yelling at my mom: “Until you have been through the s*** I’ve had to go through, don’t act like you know me or anything about me.” All she did was ask what I was doing and why I was eating so much and I snapped.
All of these factors, the people staring at me, low blood sugars, and the feeling that I didn’t belong, drove me into a depression. It took me the better part of three years to realize that all of these negative thoughts were due to my own close-mindedness. I had been making the assumption of what people thought of me, instead of thinking that maybe they aren’t used to seeing someone give himself a shot in public.
There are plenty of stories out there about people letting their diabetes control them, and I almost became one of those people. I became tired of always feeling sad and depressed, and I did anything I could to turn things around. I had to force myself to stop caring about what people were thinking when I pulled out my medicine in public. Trying to change your mindset isn’t something you can do overnight. It took a lot of work, but now I use my experience with this as the building block to work through other problems I come across.
Getting this disease isn’t the end of the world, nor is it something you should let control your life. It’s simply a bump in the road of life. It’s up to you to determine how big of a bump it is. Now I let my goals in life be the driving force to taking care of myself. I want to be a professional photographer at a newspaper, and if I don’t take care of myself, there is a chance that this disease could make me go blind. I’ve never heard of a blind photographer so that is not an option for me.