I love what you have written here; thank you for sharing. I think it’s important to share these types of posts. Living with diabetes is a journey, and our thoughts, feelings, and experiences with it change over time.
I definitely think that T1D has influenced my personality. Absolutely. So have so many other things I’ve lived with for my remembered life: being legally blind, having severe food allergies, being Canadian, having a loving family, being introverted, all my interests and hobbies. I would be a different person if any one of these factors had been different, since they have all combined with all my other life experiences to make me who I am today. I don’t think that’s a bad thing.
I’ve never been that private about my diabetes. I’m not open and loud about it, but that’s because I’m not open and loud about anything (at least not in person). I do what I need to do without hiding it, and answer questions if people ask. I’m defined more by my visual impairment, for sure, than I am by any of my other health issues. But that’s mostly because that’s the most visible thing about me, and it’s something strangers see right away, and it’s something that people have very deep-seated, and at times very negative, stereotypes about, even more so than diabetes. At one point in my life I was doing a degree focused on visual impairment, volunteering for several organizations related to it, as well as living it in my daily life. At that point I had to back off, because I felt like it was becoming all-consuming. And at times, even now, I worry that (at least at the moment) most of my life is dedicated to managing chronic health issues, and I worry that it starts to overtake my identity. I’d like to get back to a place where I’m crushing unrelated goals rather than just getting through the day. But that’s just a place in my life where I am right now that will hopefully change as time goes on.
I’ve given up on having anyone else truly understand what I go through. Unless you live it, there’s just no way you will truly understand, regardless of how much I describe things and how closely you listen. That used to really, really bother me when I was younger. But now I’ve decided that the best and most healthy thing I can do is just accept that no one will truly understand the daily struggles outside of communities such as this one. So I reach out to communities such as this one when I need to, and I read them almost daily even when not reaching out. I do work hard at advocating to help others understand issues that really matter to me in areas where their actions or comments directly impact my life; that in itself can be a big, drawn-out process even to just understand and accept a tiny fraction of my needs.