I think I’m going to take this opportunity and be slightly serious. I’m 136 and calm, and that means this is coming from a “normal state of mind.” Not an “I’m high or low state of mind.” or an “I’m stressed state of mind.” I don’t do this very often, be serious with something involving myself. I’m trying to work on that aspect of my life. So here it goes. Here’s my attempt. At “talking about it.”
I have this thing. This thing where I’m not a fan of asking for help. I’ve been like this ever since I can remember. I don’t know exactly where this comes from, but I know why I do it. I don’t like asking for help because to me that means I can’t do something. I’m all about “I can do it. and I can do it by myself.” Asking for help to me feels like I’m failing. I know that this is a completely incorrect view of asking for help. Am I the only one? Believe it or not. I have gotten better at this whole asking for help idea.
This is super apparent in regards to Diabetes. Growing up, I knew that being diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes was not my fault, but there was a blip in the connection after that. In my mind, Diabetes was not my fault, but everything after that was my fault or I had to deal with it myself. It took me a long time to realize that Diabetes was actually a big deal. It didn’t click for a long time. As a child, I just felt that it was something I had to do, and that was as far as it went. I didn’t realize that having Diabetes was something that impacted everything I did, and that not everyone has something like that to deal with. People would tell me these things, but it usually went in one ear and out the other.
As you know, I’ve had Diabetes for over 13 years. I didn’t realize all this (previous paragraph) until I got to college, and I registered with the DRC (disability resource center) on campus. That means, I had Diabetes for over 11 years before I realized that asking for help with my Diabetes was not a big deal. Wait. What??? This should not be how it was, but it is. My parents never really said anything was my fault or completely my responsibility. My endo was very up front with me from a young age, which I thank for that. I had awesome friends who would help me, and I was the lucky kid who continuously had awesome teachers who backed me up.
Why is this so? Well I think there are many reasons that add up to why I didn’t understand this.
The only time I interacted with other Type 1’s, until college, was at Camp Kudzu. So that means means for around 358 days a year, I was the only one. I was different, and as we all remember from our schooling experiences- being different is not always rewarded in school. I was teased (this will be talked more about at a later date). I didn’t want to be the kid who had to take a break or wait because of my Diabetes. I knew that I could do anything others could do, but I had to manage my Diabetes. Sometimes being low or high might delay this doing anything anyone else can do, but it doesn’t stop you. Well, as a child I didn’t want any delay. This probably is one of the reasons my a1c has always been decent. I’m super intense about it. I was always the different kid checking my blood sugar and counting carbs and carrying a “beeper.” I didn’t get to watch others have a Diabetes journey while I had one on a regular basis.
I had AWESOME teachers (most of them) growing up. But after the teachers, everything else was a different story. Most of my teachers were very on top of it. They learned about Diabetes, and made sure I was okay. They would joke with me (8th Grade). They got involved (many). They didn’t judge me or say I was faking it. BUT. The minute I stepped out of the classroom. It was a WHOLE other story. We got a school nurse the year after I was diagnosed, and there was one in middle school- They were awesome, and always helped me out. In high school, there was no nurse until my junior year. The nurse we got didn’t know anything about Diabetes… what… So. whenever I left the classroom and I was not in the nurses office, I had to fend for myself. When I would ask for help from other school personnel, they always made it seem like a chore to help me out. They made it a big deal, and they made sure I knew I was a “bother.” Asking for accommodations – was asking for world peace in their eyes. I would often have to BEG to be heard or helped, and when I do finally ask for help- I really need it. Coaches were weary of me participating in sports. Parents of classmates would sometimes make comments, and I heard them. They would make comments about my accommodations and about my “special” treatments, and how I was a problem. It wasn’t fair to their kids. I was a distraction. NO!
Besides my diabetes. I just don’t like asking for help.
These are just some of the reasons I think asking for help freaks me out. After being in college and speaking, I have learned some things. Asking for help is okay – I still need to work on it. But I do understand that it is okay. Taking care of my Diabetes and things that happen involving Diabetes- are not my fault. It is a responsibility, but now I realize…. it is one that many others do not have. It is okay for me to take a moment and say “Wait. I need (….).” and there are people in the world who will not make helping you a big deal. These people are awesome.
I embrace being different, but I also embrace the idea of being able to do anything anyone else can do- it just requires testing and being conscious. and knowing when to ask for help! Not asking for help can be a problem. Remember that! Never let anyone tell you, you are a burden or you can’t do anything. They are wrong!
Love, Words, Inspiration, and Insulin! -Until next time! and until there’s a cure!
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