Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Connected

For every one of my diabetic friends, this one's for you.

A couple of weeks ago I went to Thorpe Park with my sister, her boyfriend and our cousin, it's a massive place, lots of people, filled with the noise of excited shrieks of people riding the rollercoasters, scrambling to the front of various queues, waiting to get splashed by the water as Tidal Wave comes surging down the drop...So many characters, so many people, all living very different lives. Upon boarding the boat on Storm Surge, a boy in front of me looks at me and says;

"Be careful with that...!" Puzzled, I'm like, "Hmm...be careful with what?"
"Your Insulin Pump!" ..."Oh right yeah, thanks!" Honestly at this point my first thought was, oh how cool that this boy knows what an insulin pump is! Then he pulled out his own; "Look, I have one too!" In my excitement I say "What are the chances?" and then...slap my sister's boyfriend on the knee- sorry, Jeremy! Later on in the day I saw another girl queuing up ahead of us, an omnipod stuck to the back of her arm. Then I realised that even in such a vast place, with so many people, I am still not alone in this, I realised that I probably walk past so many Type 1 Diabetics every single day and don't even realise it- 400,000 of us make up the 5% of people that live with Type 1 and so many of us have no idea that one another even exist!

Then it made me think about the Diabetes Online Community, and how brilliant it is that we are all connected. How many times have you heard/seen a post from a newly diabetic person talking about how alone they feel? I feel like that is one of the most common reactions, to feel alone in this fight, to feel like you're the only one out there who will ever understand what this is like- and it's so easy to feel like this, I think because this disease requires so much attention from the person living with it and you rely on yourself to act as your own pancreas 24/7, it can feel isolating. I have made so many wonderful connections, there are so many people I can turn to who will understand exactly what it's like. As much as our family help us, it's so hard for them to fully understand what we go through, so speaking and knowing other Type 1 Diabetics is such an important part of living with Type 1.

But that's because I'm engaged. A lot of young people will turn away from their diagnosis and refuse to engage in it, they will be in denial, they won't want to accept it. That itself is such a barrier, I know there are probably so many other people out there who don't have the same mindset as the DOC and so will never be open to it, will never discover this whole other side of a life with diabetes. The side that teaches you that you will have rough times with this disease but it will get easier, the side that teaches you that you are not alone, the side that shows you all the amazing things you can still accomplish despite your disease.

To all my diabetic friends, to every one I've ever connected with, even if we only spoke once, know that it's valuable, and that you're valuable to every other diabetic person you've ever spoken to. Even if we don't know it, subconsciously, it helps to talk, it helps to be connected.

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

80,000

80,000.

80,000 people have, at one time or another read my blog, that's a hell of a lot of people. I'm doing my best to get back into blogging properly again. My blog is over 3 years old, but in the 3 years that I've had it, it has had a massive impression on my life in terms of advocating for Type 1 Diabetes and everyone else living with it. It's got my name out there in the diabetes online community, it's connected me to so many amazing people, it's inspired others, it's inspired what I want to do as a career, it's opened doors to amazing opportunities like going to and speaking Parliament and being a professional blogger for Diabetes UK at the DPC.

I still remember being in awe of 200 views, because at the time, that was a lot of people, that was a proud moment for me, so much so that I took a photo of my computer screen so I could relish in the moment for a bit longer. It's all relative isn't it, to how old your blog is, when you first start a blog any number of views is brilliant, any number is good enough to spur you to keep on going, to keep getting those views. As my blog has grown I've seen the numbers go up often with out me having to put in too much effort, I got it to a point where it could hold it's own, and people knew about it. I'm proud of me for that, I'm proud I managed to stick to something and actually get something out of it, friends, inspiration for other people, inspiration for other people and most of all diabetes awareness, because ultimately, that is what I'm here for.

There is no personal agenda here, no want to be the best blogger out there, just to be a good blogger, and for people to read my blog so that I can continue to be an advocate for Type 1 diabetes and continue to inspire and support people, and be the one who can get that message out there that even though diabetes is not easy, it's not your whole life, there is so much more. Things are a little bit different in the diabetes online community these days, I can't say it's in a bad way, but in a way that I want it to be how it was when I was 15 years old and being inspired by all these different blogs. If I could remember who's blog I was inspired by I would write it but I can't. I started my blog when the 'GBDOC' as a brand, or whatever you want to call it, was a baby! I am happy to see it continue to have an abundance of people involved, and see people connecting and connect with other people but sometimes I can't help but feel like I'm getting lost in a sea of so so many people that it's hard to see which direction it's going in. I will leave that point at, I hope it continues to be true to what it was originally started for. There is a bit of drama around these days and perhaps that's also contributed to why I took a step back.

However, I will continue to blog, I have been a bit torn about whether or not I will, but I have made my decision.

80,000 views later and here it is, here is my blog, my baby, and one of my proudest achievements.

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

For me

When I started my blog I was in school, I was 15, and apart from having to do school work I didn't have much else to do or have much else on my mind. As I've got older, I had A-Levels to do, I got a job, I have other things on my mind apart from diabetes and blogging and it's something that I have not cared for properly at all these past few month or year even. Blogging has always been an outlet for me and when people actually started to read it I had even more of a desire to carry on with it. This is not a dig in anyway or a bitter remark, but as the GBDOC has grown, there are other, better blogs out there than mine and that added to my feelings towards stopping blogging all together. I have gotten myself into the mindset that I am no longer important in the world of diabetes and there are other blogs people care about- what even is my blog? Why do I do it?

Then I realised I do it for me as an outlet and I do it so others can learn and find insight from my blogs. I don't have a personal agenda. I do it so I can raise awareness and tell people what life is really like with Type One Diabetes. So I need to realise that, and start blogging again. Even if I don't have as many readers as I used to. So I don't have all the diabetes tech, I can't afford a Freestyle Libre every month and I don't have sensors with my 640G and I don't look at my blood sugar averages often and post about them, or compare pre and post exercise levels because quite frankly I don't exercise- I feel like everyone now cares about the tech and the data and how inspirational you are if you exercise or never have a down day with Type 1. I'm not like that, from me you get feelings, you get what comes from my heart and what I feel like on any given day due to Type 1. But maybe people don't want that, who knows. For now as I try and start up my blog again, I need to figure out what it is I need to do and what it is that will bring my passion back.

I am flattered by everyone who's told me I inspired them to set up their blogs and by everyone who's told me that my blog is good.

I don't quite know exactly what I'm trying to say in this blog, but what I do know is, I have to believe it myself, this is as much for me as it is everyone else.