How are diabetes and self-esteem related ?

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I am sure that you asked yourself these questions at least once: ''Why me?'' ''Why am I the one that was born with or who got diagnosed with diabetes?''. To be honest, I asked myself these questions a lot of times. I wouldn’t understand why I was the one who has diabetes. I couldn’t accept it. On top of that, there was no history of diabetes in my family. I was the special one. But as the years flew by, I realized that this disease is a blessing. It has thought me so much self-discipline and patience.

It also made me realize that it plays a lot on my self-esteem. Just by asking the simple question: ''Why me?'', it was weighing on my self-esteem. I remember always feeling like the different one. I would be in class in elementary school and every kid would be excited when the teacher would pass candies on Halloween, or just for fun. Every kid would scream: ''yayyy'' and I would be like: ''Should I eat it? Should I test first?''. I feel like diabetes has the tendency to put us aside, make us feel different, the ''sick''ones, the ones who have to be careful with everything. It is true, but we are different in a positive kind of way. We notice what we eat, we consider the quantity we eat, we take into consideration the carbs, fibers, proteins, sugar in what we eat, and that is a good thing for our mental and physical health!

I was reading a book about self-esteem a couple of days ago and I started smiling when I saw a passage where the author was talking about self-esteem and illness, and he included diabetes. It made me feel good because I thought: It is normal to feel like that. It is normal to feel like we are different, that the others have it better. The thing is that we can never know if someone has it better. We never know what’s going on in someone else’s life. I am not trying to be all negative and mean, and wishing bad things for people don’t get me wrong, it’s just that the more we compare ourselves to others, the more we’ll be hurting.

When I was volunteering for the Ride to Defeat Diabetes last month, another volunteer came up to me and started talking and asking me questions. She told me that she is on the edge of having type 2 diabetes and I told her that in my case, I have type one. Her answer was (and I am not even kidding): ''Oh poor you'' (I know it’s weird, it was a T1 event but let’s not judge here!). I would normally be so emotional, mad, sad, you name it. Instead, I started telling her that I accepted it, that I think that it is a blessing for me, that I am on the pump, and that it’s like being on a diet your whole life. The lady started understanding me, but when I noticed that she actually did was with what happened next. A girl she knew came to join us in our conversation. Of course, she asked why we were here, and I told her that I’m a T1. Then, the other lady said RIGHT after: ''But she made peace with it and she fully accepted it now''. I smiled because she said that when no one even mentioned it. She just understood me and I felt like a made a difference instead of feeling low about my disease.

You know, the beautiful thing about self-esteem is that you can work on it. Next time that you feel low or different tell yourself: So what? I AM different, it is true, but I am different in a good kind of way!

-Judy