World Diabetes Day 2016 - reflections

So it’s past midnight in the UK, but not yet worldwide so I can publish this in recognition of World Diabetes Day.

I didn’t intend on saying anything, but right now feel the need. Still, it’s easy to feel lost among a sea of voices on any of these types of awareness days. Often it feels like preaching to the choir, with those that need to take notice still standing with turned backs.

I am feeling somewhat sad, in a state of grief I guess. For my past and what had become.

I only recently found out the exact date of my type 1 diabetes diagnosis, 3 days before my 9th birthday. I’ve also been thinking about the new Quality standard guidelines issued by NICE for children and young people with diabetes. It all feels quite bittersweet.

I remember being told by my endocrinologist that I was close to becoming overweight at a clinic appointment, that I needed to ‘be careful’. The next time I saw him he congratulated me on a loss in pounds that had been starved away with ketones. I recall my diabetic nurse flying off the handle and taking it personally that I had been pulling the wool over her eyes with regards to my blood sugar readings. Of course my HBA1C told the truth. There was no understanding of the fact that I was not doing that to spite her, but only to hurt myself. Overall, the failing in any psychological support was all too clear.

I wonder, if I’d have been recognised earlier as vulnerable or if my clinicians had been familiar with those NICE guidelines back then, would it all have turned out so differently?

Perhaps. But ultimately, wondering doesn’t help too much. I am so pleased that the link eating disorders and diabetes is becoming more widely addressed with psychological issues considered as part of the wider clinical package. It’s a relief knowing that things are changing, slowly. 

We must keep talking. Every person that becomes more knowledgeable about ED-DMT1 and Diabulimia is another victory.

Happy World Diabetes day to all that continue to grapple with this illness day in and out, with or without an eating disorder. As another year rolls by we are still surviving, and that is worth celebrating. You are not alone, and DWED is always here listening. Without you our purpose is mute. Hold on.

By Claire Kearns.