Guest Post: Diabetes and Eating Disorders.
Today's guest post is from fellow T1 PWD, Megan Roy. Megan has gone though some difficult times with her health, and she's bravely sharing her story with us. Thanks, Megan, for being so honest.
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The first couple of years with diabetes, it honestly didn’t even affect my life much at all. I took shots in my belly and pricked my fingers and that was about it. I still was very active in sports, running and playing tennis whenever I wanted to. It wasn’t until I got into college that diabetes really started to affect me in a way that I wasn’t expecting.
As my A1C began to creep up, my weight also crept up (it happens when you exchange long runs for nights out with friends). Emotionally, this began to weigh heavily on me (literally!). I did what all of my friends seemed to do at the time; I started trying to manipulate my food intake and exercise routine. I thought to myself about when I was first diagnosed, and figured out the weight/insulin connection as well. I minimized my insulin dose to that of a small child. My doctors were confused, but my sugars were improving, so they were happy.
I have always been a perfectionist. I have always been a Type A personality. Give me a challenge, and I will overcome it. So now we have the challenges of being a little different in college with the diabetes + the challenges of every college-aged girl (weight maintenance and awareness) + a perfectionist mind set + body image issues + spending hours researching and figuring out numbers = disaster.
My seemingly harmless diets spiraled over my college years into a full-fledged eating disorder. As hard as it is to talk about, I suffered from anorexia. Sparing the dark details as to how and why, let’s just say it was the worst time in my life. I didn’t feel like myself and I was fully isolated from everyone I loved and cared about. The eating disorder hospital was the hardest struggle I have ever had to take on. This paired with diabetes usually doesn’t turn out well.
Luckily, now two years later, I am not longer in this battle, but I feel like these sorts of issues need to be talked about. I know I am not the only one that has issues like this, and I feel like a conversation needs to be started about the emphasis put on diabetics and food. The main focus when I was diagnosed was put on food (or at least in my mind). It was the one aspect of this uncontrollable and frustrating disease that I had some control over. However, I now have a more balanced mind-set, and know different coping skills and tools that can help me when I have a tough day, week, or month.
Everyone has different struggles, but always know that there is someone who feels the same way, or has gone though similar issues. There isn’t one way to overcome an eating disorder, and it is something that can be a struggle your entire life, and is for many people, but I would say that having supportive, loving people around you makes it easier. It was the toughest struggle of my life, and at some times, I didn’t even know if I would be free of it. I would say the most important thing I can say is that if you are struggling, tell someone. Eating disorders usually come with a lot of embarrassment and shame, and they are hard to explain to people sometimes, but starting the conversation is the most important part.
Megan completed her studies at DePaul University in Chicago, majored in communications, and is now working for a vitamins and supplements company. She blogs at Type 1 Diabetes: The Stuff Doctors Don't Tell You!, so skip over and to read her posts and welcome her to the DOC.