Dreams, mentality, ambition and reality. All those things are things that I think about a lot these days.
I have a problem, a dilemma, a classic case of being in a jam. I don’t often like to talk about this but I have Type One Diabetes. It sucks. I’ve only had it for about a year and half now and it’s only really started to effect me this last few months. The first year was pretty much a breeze. After the initial diagnosis I was taken to hospital, pumped full of insulin and sent on my way. I had really great control over my blood sugar for a long time and during that time I was pretty much ok with having the disease. It was simple, or so I thought. Eat well, exercise a bunch and take your insulin. I had it down pat. My levels were good, my averages were good and I rarely had high or low blood sugars.
I started my journalism career a few short months after getting told I had Diabetes and was convinced I would never let it get in the way of me pursuing my dreams. I was full of ambition and nothing, not even Diabetes was going to stop me. But that’s not the way life always goes and it’s almost never that simple.
For the last 7 or so months I have been suffering from anxiety caused by my disease. It’s been a weird thing for me to go through because I’m usually quite in tune with the way my head works and anxiety is quite hard to rationalize. It only happens sometimes and so far it’s only happened when I’m alone which I’m pretty sure is the trigger.
I had a really crappy experience about 8 months ago where my blood sugar dropped and I had what is called a ‘Hypo’ – an episode low blood sugar. I spent the next hour smashing Powerade, Coke and about 25 jellybeans but still couldn’t manage to bring my levels back up for some reason. That was the first time in my life that I was sure I was going to die. Luckily I had been with a friend who drove me to the hospital just to be safe and luckily everything turned out alright. I remember laughing it off, I even put a status up on Facebook saying something along the lines of “so I was sure I was going to kick the bucket today and all I could think about was how bummed out I would be if I missed out on playing Majora’s Mask on 3DS” which was true at the time, I was worried about that and I did find it rather funny. But something was a little off.
What I didn’t realize at the time was that the seed of doubt had been planted very, very deep. It was under my skin and there was no way it was coming out. I’d been doing so well with managing the disease up until that point and that was the first time my eyes were opened to the possibility of something really bad happening. Furthermore the possibility of something bad happening and someone not being there to help.
It started off as me just making excuses as to why I couldn’t go somewhere or do something. I would say “it’s raining and I don’t want to get sick” or something innocent enough like that. After a while, I started rationalizing reasons to stay at home. I never felt anxious when I was with family or friends who I saw frequently so the penny never really dropped that I was avoiding going outside alone.
I eventually realized what was going on and have since been trying to make changes to better myself. I’m able drive to my local shops by myself no problems – a small step but I’m happy I can do that now.
Why I bring this up is because I’ve been getting offered a lot of opportunities. Mostly for unpaid internships but at ridiculously well known magazines and websites. People often talk about ‘my voice’ as a writer and it seems that those same people are loving what I have to say and how I choose to say it. That’s a huge compliment to me, considering I was told I would never be a writer.
The reality is that when people reach out to me and ask me to write for them, or create content for them in some way, how am I supposed to tell them that occasionally I may not be able to show up to work because I’ve taken 3 steps outside and feel like I’m going to die? The short and truthful answer is that I simply can’t.
I can’t explain why my brain sometimes identifies leaving the house alone as a life threatening situation. The same thoughts and feelings go through my head that would go through another person’s head when they are getting attacked by a bear or a small ninja. I can’t even explain it to myself. I sit there, look around and think why am I feeling this way. Why have I got the sudden urge to sprint away as fast as I can, scream for help and call 000? It’s irrational and it’s stupid and it’s not fair that I’m wired that way. Millions of people have Diabetes, why does my condition have to effect me this way?
Since that day when my friend took me to hospital things have changed. I no longer believe that I am capable of taking care of myself at all times. I can’t rely on my body to tell me what’s going on and how to fix things when they go wrong. I think that’s a huge part of it. I don’t feel right when I’m alone but when I’m with someone I can count on, I know they will pick up the slack and take the responsibility to help me if I can’t do it myself. That’s a weird feeling and thankfully nothing bad has happened since.
Currently I have about 3 jobs available to me that I could apply for and probably get (not to mention the internships) which is why I wanted to write this. Partially because I needed to let it out and also because if any potential employers are visiting my site, I would like them to understand where I’m coming from.
I’m trying to think of a way to end this on a high note so I’ll just say that while this sounds bleak and whiney, I’m working on it. A lot of people have told me that it takes time to get used to having Diabetes and I guess that because most people get it when they are young I’m having a rougher time adjusting at this age.
I’ll do another post when I feel like things are improving which is hopefully soon!