No one can ever prepare you for the day when you hear you're being diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes.
You never think it will ever actually happen to you; that one day you'll just get ill and you'll never ever get better or cured.
That every day you'll be required to give insulin injections knowing full well that you need them to keep you alive but those same injections could also potentially kill you.
I mean, if someone told you that now, that you're a Type 1 Diabetic, how would you feel?
You're probably thinking 'Hey, it's no big deal!' and you'll just carry on your life as normal, right? But, have you ever thought about the mental aspect of it all? How would you feel then?
For me personally, when I got the news it was as if my whole world had been turned upside down. Especially because I had been diagnosed at the age of 30.
My whole life up until that point had been 'diabetes free' and then suddenly I was being told about injections, insulin, hypos, hypers, ratios, carb counting, adjusting, doses, corrections, bolus, basal etc. The list was endless and it was just so much to take in. Suddenly the realisation that my life was changing forever was pretty petrifying.
It really effected my mental health too and to be honest, when I got diagnosed, that wasn't something I had initially thought about; not really.
I already suffered from depression and anxiety previous to my diagnosis. Up until that point I had managed to get it under control to a degree and I was medication free. However, being given some news as life changing as that can have a traumatic effect on your mental state and for me personally it really knocked me back.
It triggered off a lot of feelings and emotions. I suddenly felt very isolated and alone. It was as if I was putting up a barrier; a defence walk perhaps. I was too scared initially to even speak to anyone about how I was feeling and eventually I started pushing people away.
I wasn't so bothered about my diabetes at the time either. I mean, I knew what I needed to do in order to keep myself alive and well but, at times, I just didn't want to do it. My depression was holding me back and it's really hard trying to manage all three conditions at once; depression, anxiety and Type 1 Diabetes.
It's not easy battling with your own mind along side a life threatening condition, especially when people and society are constantly trying to tell you to 'snap out of it' and 'Don't eat that!' etc..
It simply doesn't work that way and it's really not that simple.
People seem to think that when you're a Type 1 diabetic you just have a quick injection and that's it or you can't eat any sugar.
However, there's so much more to it than just that.
It's difficult to try and explain something that people can't see nor can they fully understand. It's as if you appear ok on the outside but are also invisible at the same time.
It's not an easy condition to manage and it takes a lot of perseverance. Now imagine that with depression and anxiety too. It's as if I knew what I needed to do to manage it all but my mind was taking over and stopping me. I was technically battling against myself. It was both exhausting and draining.
Depression and diabetes isn't a subject that gets discussed a lot. It's as if it's a taboo subject. Something that doesn't really get mentioned about so when I was struggling initially, I felt very alone.
Luckily there are a number of support groups out there now to offer advice and help to those who need it.
No one needs to suffer in silence.
Access to emotional and psychological support is one of the 15 healthcare essentials that Diabetes UK says every person with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes should have if they are assessed as needing it.
Diabetes UK also has a helpline called Careline which is great to get help, advice and support. Their website is: https://www.diabetes.org.uk/careline.
By speaking out more about depression and Type 1 diabetes hopefully we can help to raise awareness.
Mental health is nothing to be ashamed of. Neither is talking about it openly either.
No one should ever have to filter their feelings.
To read more about my journey with Type 1 Diabetes, anxiety and depression please visit: