Please read this story of hope shared by one of our members. Recovery is possible.
My story is much like that of many others with type 1 diabetes. I had just turned twelve-years-old when I was diagnosed and had no clue what I was doing but I checked my sugar levels and aimlessly injected random amounts of insulin in the hope I was getting it right. Two years down the line the only thing I#d ever heard at my regular clinic visits was “you need to lose weight”. This became something I rebelled against in the years that proceeded. This in the form of eating anything and everything, avoiding clinic check-ups and telling lies to the healthcare professionals and worst of all my family.
I got to a stage where I never checked my sugar levels and no longer took my background insulin. I knew I was making myself Ill but found it hard to get back to a routine because I never really had a routine. The advice I had been given as a newly diagnosed T1 was completely wrong by today’s information and knowledge into the condition. I took the courageous step of writing down how I felt and what I was doing and gave it to the diabetic specialist doctor. She was very kind and told me it was okay but nothing else was said and I was given no guidance. I felt let down. I continued with my life and no positive changes were made as I didn’t know how to do it on my own.
I started to cut back on the amount of injections I was taking after a trauma in my life. My big brother passed away and for the first time in my life I didn’t turn to food for comfort, I felt the complete opposite and found I couldn’t eat without feeling sick. I started to lose weight and it felt good but felt I needed to lose a lot more weight as I had reached my heaviest. I became obsessed and found out that the less insulin I was taking the more weight I lost. I regained my appetite and liked the idea that I could eat what I wanted and kept my weight low.
By the time I hit the age of 27 I had it down to an art and had lost a large amount of weight. I loved hearing people gasp and telling me how great I looked. Someone told me in disgust that they could see my collar bones but this only played to my ego and I took it as a compliment. For the first time in my life I could wear beautiful clothes, men found me attractive and people were telling me I looked great. At this point I wasn’t suffering any side effects unless of course you couldn’t tolerate feeling extreme thirst, nausea and exhaustion. I continued to live this secret life and lied to everyone that it was easy: “oh I just don’t eat as much” - which I didn’t and that it was just down to walking. This was the perfect diet and I’d cracked it.
Slowly though I started to notice my hair falling out, damage to my vision was detected and I was vomiting a lot. On numerous occasions I tried to gain some control and sought the help of my GP who in turn referred me to the eating disorders team. Sadly it never helped me as the only treatment available was what would be the same for an anorexic or bulimic. They didn’t understand the complexities of this eating disorder and so I gave up my visits.
I felt lost and depressed; as if nobody knew how to help me even when they tried. I wanted to help myself but wasn’t strong enough to break the cycle, my addiction to being thin. It got to a point where I wasn’t injecting at all and ended up in bed for a week. I was so weak and tired that all I did was constantly vomit into a bucket at the side of my bed. One day I got in to the bath to wash and warm my frozen body up. I floated there far beyond the time I should have and the bath was so cold again it hurt my skin. I had no energy to pull myself out of there but I somehow summoned enough to do so and wrap a towel around myself. I stumbled through to my sofa and lay down.