Paris Lavalle, type 1
The most difficult issues that I have encountered would be the stigma of being a diabetic. The question I dislike more than anything would be is “do you have diabetes because you were/are fat?” or “Is it because you eat unhealthy” For years, this question lowered my self-esteem.
I didn’t like that people presumed that I had caused myself to have diabetes because of some unhealthy habits, considering I was diagnosed when I was only two years old and although I am by no means skinny, I have never been an overly large or unhealthy person. This stigma caused a problematic relationship between my diabetes and me.
There was a struggle between being healthy and having controlled diabetes, and trying to have that perfect body image by dieting and detoxing. There is also the vicious cycle with taking insulin – the more insulin you give yourself the more weight you put on but the larger you are the more insulin you actually need to take to control your sugar levels.
It was hard being a teenage girl with diabetes. I would skip meals, which obviously had negative effects on my sugar levels and overall control but even worse, I skipped insulin injections for a long time because I believed reducing the amount of insulin I gave myself would help me lose weight.
Now I am older, I understand that everybody is different and I care less about what other people think as long as I am happy with myself and my own body image and that being healthy and having control should be the ultimate ambition. Having this outlook has helped me achieve small goals that have allowed me to get back on track with my diabetes management, and accepting my diabetes and educating myself and other people has allowed me to teach friends, family and colleagues about type 1 diabetes and get rid of the stigma that diabetes is caused because you are overweight or unhealthy.