If you want… | Diabetogenic

The day after I was diagnosed with diabetes, I found myself in floods of tears, sitting in the stairwell of the Diabetes Victoria offices on Collins Street in Melbourne. I’d fled there from the NDSS shop that was housed on level three after suddenly feeling overwhelmed at the boxes and boxes of curious looking diabetes supplies that were about to be sent home with me. I was slumped against the wall, the emotion of the last twenty-four hours catching up with me. Someone came down the stairs and stopped. She crouched down and quietly said. ‘Hi. Are you okay?’

I wasn’t. Of course I wasn’t. ‘Can I sit here for a minute?’ she asked and somehow, through the tears, I nodded.

As it turned out, she was a diabetes educator working at Diabetes Victoria. And she also had type 1 diabetes. She spoke, I listened. And listened and listened. It was the first time I heard another person with diabetes share her experiences. She told me she too felt overwhelmed at times. And, she told me that right now – so new to it all – it feels so big, and that is perfectly understandable. She assured me that it would feel less big. She told me about bits of her life with diabetes and while she didn’t make it sound like bowls of cherries and puppy dogs, she took away tiny bit of the diagnosis fear that punches you right in the heart. Her stories made no sense at the time, but, as my own diabetes story grew, bit by bit, I understood her experiences.

I continue to search for stories today. I share some of mine – the things I feel comfortable sharing. And sometimes the things that aren’t all that comfortable.

I’m eternally grateful to that diabetes educator I met on 16 April, 1998. I told her repeatedly that her kind reassurance was the only brightness in those dark couple of days. I’m grateful to every other person who has so generously shared their lived experience. I never take it for granted – especially the reliving the trauma of difficult times.

And so tell your story. Only if you want.


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