Thumbnail

Emotions

Diabetes doesn’t just affect you physically, it can affect you emotionally too. With so much to think about, you may sometimes feel overwhelmed. But our stories show whatever you're feeling you're not alone — and what may help. 

Muhammad cheering

Muhammad IsmailDiagnosed aged two-and-a-half

Peer support

Speaking to a health psychologist helped give Muhammad a different perspective, but sharing experiences with other people who live with type 1 and face similar daily challenges really transformed how he felt about his condition. Muhammad always recommends you speak out if you're in need of support. 

Peer support gives you a mental space where you can be yourself. You can learn from people, you can express your emotions because you don’t have to explain what you have to do to manage your condition – people get it. It removes a lot of barriers.

“I think some people worry that if they were completely open and honest with their clinicians, they’d be given a really hard time. But peer support isn’t like that. You’re not going to feel judged by your peers, so you can have more open and honest discussions.”

As a keen footballer, Muhammad was motivated to manage his diabetes around the sport that he loved. Keen to build on his increasingly positive outlook, he joined The Diabetes Football Community – a supportive community for people across the UK who live with diabetes.

Read Muhammad Ismail's complete story
""

Jordan Charles

Recovering my voice

“I was very worried about managing diabetes, but I thought the way to get through it was to be as proactive in my healing as possible.

“Emotionally, it was like I’d had my entire self stripped away. But I then had the opportunity to find and become myself again. 

“Being intubated (when you can't breathe on your own) was physically terrible, and losing my voice was mentally terrible. When I was extubated, I said, with no hint of irony, ‘you’ve ruined me!’

“Getting back to being myself took a long time.”

Jordan had counselling to help him deal with the psychological effects of his ordeal, while his singing teacher helped him recover his voice.

Today, Jordan is healthy and back at work, performing across the country. He currently treats his diabetes with metformin and insulin.

“My diabetes team has been very good at giving me the medical support I need and also dealing with the worry and the fear side of the condition. Sometimes it feels like I’m fighting with this thing that’s not always tangible."

“Now I have a better understanding of how different foods and drinks impact my blood sugars. The biggest surprise was that there’s secret sugar everywhere! Now, if I see anything on a label that ends in ‘-ose’, I don’t go anywhere near it.”

Young black man wearing sparkly suit and singing into a microphone in a jump

Raising awareness

Jordan wants to raise awareness of the symptoms of type 2, particularly for people who are recovering from coronavirus.“I hope that other young people and other Black people are aware of the symptoms and know that diabetes is something that can be easily tested for

I understand how disorientating those symptoms can be and how easy it is to blame them on something else. It’s unfortunate that I wasn’t tested earlier. If I had, it may not have become such a big dramatic issue.

“When I was recovering in hospital, I was continually impressed, surprised and moved by all the people who were involved in keeping me alive. I want to thank them for everything they did because I wouldn’t be here without them.”

 

Jordan's story first appeared in our membership magazine Balance.

Read Jordan Charles's complete story
""

AndieJanuary 2021

Removing stigma

A huge thing for me is that I don’t see my diabetes as an illness, but rather a condition that I have to manage (which I had initially been ill from). I’ve got a few other conditions too, and the fact Learning Zone has given me simple, straightforward and easy-to-understand information I can build into my day-to-day life has made such a huge difference in making my life more manageable, and enjoyable. 

I once worked with someone who lost his foot due to type 2 diabetes complications. I don’t think he ever really came to terms with his diagnosis and the lifestyle changes he’d have to make to manage it. I think for certain groups of people — for example perhaps older men, who have maybe not grown up feeling comfortable to feel through or talk about their vulnerabilities.

Being able to see videos of people like you talking openly about their diagnosis, and normalising type 2 diabetes rather than it being something you have to be ashamed of would make such a huge difference to accepting and being able to live better with their diabetes.

If sharing my experience helps someone understand there are tools out there that can help them feel a little less scared, anxious, or overwhelmed, I am very happy.

Read Andie's complete story
""

JonDiagnosed with type 1 diabetes aged 5

How diabetes has impacted my life emotionally 

People don't necessarily realise the impact that being diabetic can have on you and the number of extra decisions you have to make each day.
Even a simple cup of coffee, when you're having milk in it, changes from if you're having a flat white or cappuccino. You have to think: “Right, what size is it? How many carbohydrates am I going to have? What's going to happen now? Have I given myself my insulin early enough?”

The Diabetes Football Community has been an incredible support. It was set up by a guy called Chris Bright. I saw something on social media and I met him in a café in Worcester. Before I knew it there was a big list of things I’d agreed to be involved in. We're all living with type 1 diabetes, with a range of different experiences. We all advise and support each other and you can ask all sorts of questions. And it’s great for me to learn from some of the people who have been newly diagnosed too.

Just knowing that you're not alone in it and there's hundreds of people going through the same thing helps. The diabetic football community is tight knit - if you are struggling with diabetes, it is just simple; tap out a message, send it there, and the support that comes back in is absolutely incredible and so powerful.

I was lucky enough to go away to Ukraine a couple of years ago to play over there with a group of other diabetics. I knew that it might be a struggle as it was my first time away from the family – my youngest was only six months old. I spoke to one of the other older guys who's got two kids, and we decided to look out for each other, which was great. We both got to know each other's families. 

Positives of diabetes 

My advice to other people would be: It’s going to be all right. It might be a pain in the backside but it opens up so many other opportunities. I wouldn’t have been involved in the diabetes football community or gone to Ukraine with them. I wouldn’t be able to do this interview and use it as a chance to inspire others. 

If someone else sees you can actually live a normal life if you’re living with diabetes, you’re going to help that person.

Read Jon's complete story
""

Kaajal Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was 5.

Managing emotions

I think diabetes first started to affect me emotionally when I went to school. I couldn't go to friends' parties. When I did go to them, I had to take my own sandwiches and snacks. 

I remember one party where the kids laughed at me and just looked at me funny - why is she coming in with sandwiches? I think that affected me as I grew up. I thought that there was something different about me.

This made me feel out of place, maybe slightly inadequate, or unwelcomed. And that just made me try and push myself more in life to say, “well, there isn't anything wrong with me.” I tried to live a full life after that.

When I got to 17 or 18, I was exercising quite a lot, eating less, trying to be a certain size and I ended up having such low sugars. From then onwards, I said, “I need to eat.”

Questions 

When I started dating, my ex-boyfriend's family asked if I could have children. It had never crossed my mind that that would even be a problem. I've always just done what the doctors have told me is medically correct. The rest of the world started questioning me too, saying, “Can you do this? Can you do that?” That made me question myself, but I never let it affect me in any way.

I want other young people living with diabetes to know that there's nothing wrong with you and that it’s not the end of your life.

"I am now in the best place possible because of the experiences I’ve had as a result of what I’ve been through. Just because you live with diabetes, doesn’t mean you should feel unwelcome or out of place in any situation!” 

If I didn’t have diabetes, I wouldn't have the good habits that I have today, like exercise and eating well. So I’d tell other young people to just live life fully.

Read Kaajal 's complete story
Brand Icons/Telephonecheck - FontAwesomeicons/tickicons/uk