Diabetes + the inevitable eating disorder

Unpopular opinion time – I think having type 1 diabetes is a package deal with at least a low-grade eating disorder.

Even if most of the time we can have a healthy relationship with food, there are always the intense times when all the counting we did just didn’t add up and everything goes wrong. I know many of us have had the thought of “type 1 diabetes would be easy if I just didn’t have to eat.”

I’ve certainly had days when, after a week-long blood sugar roller coaster, I just gave up. It’d be water for the day because I could (usually) count on that to not affect my blood sugar, which I just couldn’t deal with anymore, but then after 20 hours of no food I snapped and ordered phad thai because fuck it.

Or, with a major low blood sugar that had me to the point I was shaking on the kitchen floor and could barely see, I would shove 4 sandwiches, a half-jar of nutella, and 6 packs of fruit gummies into my mouth before I felt like I wasn’t going to die.

From whenever we’re diagnosed, many of us as kids although more and more adults are being diagnosed with the autoimmune disease type 1 diabetes every day (and 85% of people living with T1D are adults who were diagnosed at various ages), we’re given a potentially lethal medicine to balance against the food we eat every day.

And that’s a lot. It’s a constant game of counting, measuring, guestimating, and hoping we did it right. It puts this automatic tension between us and food.

So while I’m thankful for the tools – my insulin pump and continuous glucose monitor – that make this all a bit easier, and most of the time I can see the good in all of this, I think it’s worth patting ourselves on the back for how intense this all can be, and how much we’re processing and carrying in every single moment.

There doesn’t have to always be a positive spin on all of this. Sometimes it’s good to be able to say, “nope, this is bullshit” and keep it movin’.

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