Age: 21 Year Diagnosed: 2001 Current Location: Vienna, Austria
“A couple of weeks after my diagnosis, I went to one of my favourite art museums in Vienna and got kicked out by the security because they thought that I was injecting drugs, whereas in reality, I was just trying to bolus. This was still when I was absolutely devastated and did not know what to do, as I did not really understand what had just happened. However going through this situation made me stronger and taught me to stand up for myself and raise awareness for t1d everywhere I go.
One misconception about t1d that I'd wish I could change is "So you cannot eat that!" and "Oh, so you got type 1 diabetes because you ate too much sugar". Unfortunately the stigma of diabetes and sugar is still anchored in our society. But living with t1d isn't just about "sugar". It's so much more than that. It's sleepless nights, being frustrated and tired because you cannot get your blood sugar levels down. It's getting up at 2am, shaking, because you're having a hypo. What bothers me about common misconceptions about t1d is, that people tend to believe that they suddenly are the experts and know everything about what it's like to live with a diabetes diva and that I could simply make it all go away with a spoon of cinnamon.
If you would have told my 10-year-old-self that I'd start sharing my life on social media, travel and connect with people from all over the world, I would have never believed you. As a kid and teenager, I was a very shy and self-conscious person. Most of the time I was to afraid to speak up for myself, because I was too afraid. I was struggling quite a lot with self-doubt as I always wanted to fit in. And as weird as it sounds, I sometimes feel like my diagnosis was a blessing in disguise, as it helped me learn how to accept myself and my body & to be proud of myself and the things that I do. All the blood sugar testing and changing my infusion sets lead to me getting more and more confident in myself and my abilities. Because not everybody can say, that he/she casually took over their beta cells' job! ;) It taught me, that you do not have to change myself to please other people, but that you are perfect just the way you are: strong, brave and unique. Living with t1d made me appreciate the little things even more and taught me to be a patient with myself and my body.
One piece of advice that I'd give a newly diagnosed type 1 diabetic would be: Take a deep breath, take it slow and believe in yourself. There will be a lot of things that you'll need to learn at your new job as the CEO of your own beta cells, but you'll do a fantastic job. Take it step by step. Listen to your body. Living with t1d may be hard at times, but you got this. There will be some tough days, but you will get through this and grow even more from your daily challenges. You are stronger than you think. “