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22 Things To Remember If Your Loved One Suffers From Type 1 Diabetes

22 Things To Remember If Your Loved One Suffers From Type 1 Diabetes

Many people mistakenly think Type 1 Diabetes develops because of a sugar-laden diet and lack of exercise. If your loved one has this disease, you know how far this is from the truth.

But imagine how difficult it is for them to constantly hear phrases like, “but you’re not fat,” or, “should you eat that?”

Day in and day out, they live with a disease that is largely misunderstood by the public. Unless you have Type 1 Diabetes, you can never completely understand what living with a life-threatening disease that needs constant treatment is like. However, you can support, empathize, and find heartfelt compassion for your loved one.

If you can remember the following twenty-two things that your loved one faces, you’ll come a lot closer to walking in their shoes:

1. They constantly face misguided judgments

Many people don’t know that Type 1 Diabetes is inherited. Your loved one constantly feels faulted by ignorant people for eating too much sugar or not exercising.

2. They have an incurable autoimmune disease, not a lifestyle disease

They cannot cure their disease by changing their diet or by exercising. Please help them by correcting people who suggest they quit eating sugar or start riding a bike.

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3. They live each day with a serious disease that often seems to arise out of the blue for no apparent reason

With their diagnosis of diabetes, their lives changed forever and they had nothing to do with it.

4. Their definition of normal is much different than yours and mine

They will take injections or use an insulin pump for their entire life. Their normal is giving themselves several shots a day or monitoring a pump attached to their abdomen.  Normal is keeping their blood sugar in a safe range, or else they could get hypoglycemia and slip into a coma.

5. They look like everyone else from the outside

…but the inside is way different. Their pancreas has stopped producing insulin, and if they don’t take insulin, they will slip into a coma and could die. They live with this reality.

6. Insulin pumps can make management easier, but not worry-free

Insulin pumps come closer to mimicking how a healthy pancreas would work, delivering insulin on a set schedule. This is not a cure, and diabetics need to monitor their carb intake and watch their blood sugar levels. Successful pumps require frequent user input.

7. They want to smack people who ask them if they got the disease from eating too much sugar

Their disease has nothing to do with indulging in too many sweets and they are sick of being asked if they have an insatiable sweet tooth.

8. They live with a disease that never leaves

Even using state-of-the-art monitoring systems, there is no program-and-forget option for Type 1 Diabetics. Too much or too little insulin can result in death.

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9. A canine could be their best friend and save their life

Specially trained dogs can sense rapid changes in blood chemistry before the symptoms of hypoglycemia are evident. A diabetic alert dog might be a wonderful gift for your loved one.

10. They grew up with parents who need to protect and hover

Most people are diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes as small children or adolescents. They grew up with parents who needed to protect and care for their child. It can be a matter of life or death, after all.

11. They represent just 5-10% of the diabetics in the world

…but the impact it has on their lives is often huge and overwhelming.

12. They need you because they have lost other close friends to the disease

Type 1 Diabetes is life-threatening and is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States.

13. If you see them acting strangely, they are not drunk, and it could be life threatening

The symptoms of hypoglycemia include shakiness, blurred vision, confusion, and lack of coordination.  Get help if you notice them acting strangely.

14. The insulin they inject or pump each day is not a cure

They will take it every day in order to stay alive.

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15. They can’t ever have a holiday from this disease

It is with them every minute of every day.

16. Life is a never-ending balancing act

They have to be their own mathematician, nurse, and dietitian just to stay alive.

17. They hate it when you offer everyone but them a slice of birthday cake

They know how to handle their blood sugar much better than you do, so let them indulge and adjust their insulin levels.

18. They live with a disease that is often stigmatized

Some 71% of people with type 1 diabetes feel like they are stigmatized as being a burden on the healthcare system or a failure of personal responsibility.

19. Help them by becoming a Type 1 Diabetes myth-buster

They live in a world that misunderstands Type 1 Diabetes. Help people understand the difference between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.

20. They don’t want you to treat them like they are handicapped

Yes, they live with a disease, but diabetes does not affect their intelligence or make them immune to people’s stares at their pumps and insulin pins.

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21. They are wise well beyond their years

From a young age, they have had to take control of their health care. Diabetes pushed them to be their own best health advocate and nurse.  They have seen friends die from this disease.

22. They want your love and support, but not your pity

They want you to treat them like a human, one who feels joy and pain. True compassion and empathy show that you want to understand what life is like for them.

True empathy is walking in your loved one’s shoes and seeing their world without judgment. Empathy is not being bossy or giving unsolicited advice.

Remember that your loved one understands their disease a lot better than you do. So rather than telling them to change their lifestyle, why not treat them to a fun evening or pamper them with a day at a spa? Perhaps join them for a diabetes fundraising walk.

What would be the biggest improvement in their life?

A cure for diabetes. Help the research by donating to research for a cure

People with Type 1 Diabetes often feel alone and misunderstood, but with your support and solidarity, they can feel accepted and appreciated.

Featured photo credit: Person-woman-alone/Pixaby via pixabay.com

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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