Being your true self with T1D

Being your true self with T1D

Entering university or college is a big and often scary start to a new chapter in life. As a second year student, attending university has exposed me to many new social situations – playing on teams, meeting new people, networking, going to parties – just to name a few. At university, the number of people you will meet and the opportunities you will have to create relationships is like no other time in your life. This can be overwhelming even for a non-diabetic teen, but for someone living with type 1 diabetes (T1D), many of these social encounters can seem daunting and intimidating.

It’s tough to expose an aspect of your personal life to people who you’ve just met. Others can go from relationship to relationship without exposing aspects of their personal life, if they don’t want to. I personally feared people would think differently of me if they saw me being “diabetic”. So how do you become comfortable about being diabetic in public?

Here’s a small glimpse into my early experience having T1D at university.

I attend Ryerson University in Toronto and play on their varsity soccer team. During my first year of university when I was starting to meet people, I didn’t want to share that I had T1D.  I would try at all costs to avoid showing that side of my life. I loved socializing and meeting new people, but I was dismissive and quick to shift topics if someone tried to engage me about my diabetes. I was really not being my “true self”.

It wasn’t until I understood what I am about to share with you, that I could finally feel comfortable testing in front of others, answering questions and eventually sharing my story from my blog to my whole social network.

Diabetes does not define who I am unless I let it. I know that I am more than just a “diabetic teen”, I know that I am more than just a guy who always needs to “watch what he eats”, I know that I have goals, passions and aspirations that don’t relate to diabetes and those goals have become stronger and bigger precisely because I had something I needed to overcome.

When you truly see that you have more to you than just being a diabetic person - even if “what’s more to you” relates to something motivational or inspiring about diabetes - then whatever you choose to share about yourself to others isn’t that big of a deal. In the back of your mind you will always know “I am more than just someone who has T1D, I have dreams, aspirations and goals that I want to accomplish”. And I will, because diabetes won’t hold me back.

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