My Advice to Those Newly Diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes

A call to be gentle with yourself when blood glucose management goes wrong, by someone who spent years trying for perfection.



This was adapted by our editor from a longer essay.

To those recently diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, I have two pieces of advice: don’t be hard on yourself and let go of perfection.

I spent the majority of my childhood believing I was in control of my condition, that nothing except me was the driving factor on the path to “perfectly” managing my diabetes. My family has never helped me manage my condition because, really, I never let them. I took the reigns very early in my diagnosis because I wanted control. I hid my frustrations deep inside, and masked them with my compliance. By avoiding support and refusing to ask for help, I put a lot of pressure on myself to always have good blood sugars and avoid lows. Too often my quest for perfection has disabled me from living a full life. I now know that.

Perfection is a mirage. Murphy’s law will tell you that what comes up must come down. You can ride a good management wave, but you’ll end up coming to shore and having to adjust again at some point. There is no end to the process of blood sugar management, but there are always new beginnings. Ride the waves, crash on shore, get up, and do it again.

Don’t try to control the things you can’t. Be a manager. Be kind to yourself. Be confident. Be brave. Be strong. Ask for help when you need it. I’m telling this to myself as much as I am telling you.

You won’t always be able to control Type 1 diabetes. That’s just the cold hard truth. Once you learn to accept that, you will have more opportunity to love and accept yourself. This is what I hope for you.

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Julia Flaherty is an experienced writer, editor, digital marketer, social media specialist, promotions and events manager, and health advocate. She is especially passionate about contributing her voice to the T1D community and aspires to direct positive change through a meaningful career.