I had heard about the BBC three documentary on diabulimia but had not actually watched it until this week. I knew the illness existed and as a type 1 diabetic myself I was curious to find out more. I was very surprised by many things throughout the documentary which I had not expected. One of the main areas that I was surprised by was that it is not a recognised illness and very little has been done in terms of trying to build a treatment plan, even though the issue has been one known about for many years and is increasing. I was also completely shocked by some of the statistics.
I know that my own relationship with food has been affected by my diabetes and so has my mental health just in general. It made me wonder how much diabetes effects sufferer’s mental health and so I started to investigate it.
I found this medical journal which I found very interesting along with many other people questioning diabetes and mental health in general
It also made me find the website beyondtype1 which I found personally very useful and keep going back to read more of the articles, I do not know if I have ever personally responded to an article as much as the page they have on depression. https://beyondtype1.org/depression-and-its-relationship-to-type-1/
I am really struggling with controlling my diabetes currently and the effect it is having on me is completely draining. Diabetes is not just being unable eating sugar as some believe. Nor is it as simple as just having an injection when you eat. It is affected by so many different factors that it is incredibly hard to control. Stress, the weather, illness and even time of day can affect it. I must have an extra injection every morning because my sugars suddenly start rising for some unknown reason. Insulin can decide not to respond correctly or an item you eat may be lower/higher carb than you think. Continually you must think about all these different factors and try and control your blood sugar levels so that they stay within a very close range, day in day out.
Yet you are not to complain because it is not as bad as many other chronic illnesses, you just must get on with it. In general, you feel like it is your fault if it is going wrong, you over corrected, you didn’t realise it would be hot, you messed up. When diabetes does go wrong it greatly affects your mood which so many people do no understand or even believe and is not something ever talked about. I asked for help from the diabetes nurse and felt so judged and isolated, they told me I was caring too much and nothing was bad was going to happen. I had to have somebody pick me up earlier that week as I had a hypo so severe, I could not stand. Thankfully I managed to see my consultant who is diabetic himself and was not pleased by the nurse and told me that in January they are going to be getting a psychologist for the diabetes ward.
I completely understand why diabetics have so many mental health issues, but I doubt many without the disease do. I think that it should be talked about more, including amongst diabetics. At the clinic I attend the last 4 times there has been a slot for, but no leaflets on diabetes and mental health, and I only attend once every 3 months.
I think that I want to try and find a way of displaying and illustrating the issues for the exhibition. It would be very personal to me, but it is something I am very passionate about and I think needs telling.