Q: I’m an 18-year-old with diabetes (diagnosed when I was 11), and I’m finding it really hard to cope. I don’t take my medicine or care for myself like I should. I know the long-term effects and what can happen to me if I don’t start doing what I should, but I need some other kind of help getting motivated, and I don’t know where to begin. Any suggestions?
A: First off, thank you for reaching out to JDRF. I know it’s not always easy to talk about what’s going on or to ask the questions you need answered.
I, too, am diabetic, and I was also diagnosed at the age of 11. I remember how much I hated having diabetes, because it meant that I was different than all the other kids in my class, with no one who could relate to what I was experiencing.
Don’t be too hard on yourself about the lack of motivation. It’s pretty common. For many people, the threat of the physical consequences alone is not enough.
I would suggest joining a local support group. This helped me because I got to meet other people with diabetes in my area. You can even do this online with social networking sites like TypeOneNation. You can also look into volunteering to work with people who are newly diagnosed with diabetes. This is the best “medicine,” because it feels great to know that you are helping someone else.
Finally, I also strongly recommend talking to your doctor about how you control your disease. Technology like continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) or insulin pumps can help in managing diabetes, even at those times when we feel unmotivated. I just got a pump, and I love it because it has drastically improved my quality of life! It’s a little device that you wear 24/7 (don’t worry, it can be easily hidden) and that gives you insulin through a clear tube that you change out every three days. It doesn’t hurt – in fact, I hardly feel mine. You can enter your blood sugar readings and the amount of carbs you’re eating, and it calculates the amount of insulin you should tell the device to give you at that time.
Don’t get discouraged – you’ve already taken a step in the right direction by connecting with JDRF!