Friendship with T1D

I feel so lost. 

Diabetes and I have a funny relationship at the moment, because I have completely lost contact with the diabetes world it seems. 

Many people live their lives with T1 just as part of their life – testing, giving insulin and going to appointments. But that’s perfect for them, they don’t feel the need to socialise in the diabetes world and that’s fine by them. But for me, I’ve grown up going to events, going out for dinners and just generally being involved. However, with GCSEs then a levels amongst other extracurricular things I’ve been picking up, plus life happening of course, I have no time in my life to do any of this anymore! It’s funny how you take things for granted until they’ve gone, right?

I always knew knowing other diabetics was important to me, but I had no idea it was this important. Simple conversations about a painful set change, how each of your bloods had been recently and laughing over the mishaps are so much more than just conversations. And don’t forget about the heart to hearts over the more serious side of diabetes, although few and far between they also have their place in conversations between those with T1D. What others don’t hear is the unspoken understanding and feelings that are shared by diabetics. It simply isn’t the same telling a non-diabetic, no matter how much they know, because it is just different being the one with diabetes. 

Those without diabetes don’t quite know the frame of mind you have to be in to do a set change or what it feels like to have a painful one set you back. They may have had a set change done or know how it feels to put one in someone, but they don’t know what it feels like to do it every 3 days to themselves. Equally, a fellow diabetic knows the frustrations and emotions you go through with diabetes on a daily basis, no non diabetics I know understand that. They may have a child, sibling or friend with it but those are different feelings to that of a diabetic. 

I’m not disputing that it may be as hard to be the non diabetic in the family or how hard it is to know how to help your diabetic friend – it’s just different. And after a while it simply isn’t the same talking to so many non diabetics when you need to hear maybe even the same words but from a diabetics mouth. 

“I know” means two completely different things from a diabetic and a non diabetic to me. 

I really, really miss those connections I used to make with people and the ease with which you can be diabetic (yes that sounds weird, but I personally find it more comfortable to be diabetic around other diabetics!). Don’t get me wrong, with certain groups it is okay  and natural to be diabetic like my family and closest friends, but it just isn’t the same as with other T1s.

Another group I find I relate to is others with medical conditions. I have more than just diabetes so I fit completely into that world too! It is a similar knowing connection and aconversation about each others experiences (differences and similarities) really goes a long way. It’s lovely knowing you share thoughts and feelings about medical things you’ve each gone through but that isn’t enough for me. Friends I have with other medical problems such as those with CHI but different treatments or even others who aren’t anything to do with diabetes or CHI, they help me in their own way that diabetics can’t. But I also need the support and knowing of diabetics that know exactly what your day to day life struggles and triumphs are really like on a first hand basis. Honestly, I need both. Because I fit into the diabetes world and the CHI world but I also fit into the world of just other medical problems, so I need people to chat with from both! I never realised this until recently, when I lost a great deal of the opportunities to find these people who are clearly so essential to me. 

I don’t know how many diabetics find they feel like this, or if they do how they are different to me. But, I do know this:

Don’t take your friends for granted. Both unrelated to diabetes or completely involved as a diabetic themselves. Some of the people you meet through having diabetes and other things are more important to your well being and happiness than you might ever realise. Love them, appreciate them and let them know. 

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