5 Things I've Learnt About Masculinity Through Living With Diabetes

Diabetes UK ambassador and Ironman triathlete Jack Anderson shares his learnings since being diagnosed.

Listen to Chronic, our anti-wellness podcast about living well when you’re chronically unwell. Available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you listen to podcasts – just search for “Chronic”.

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Jack Anderson is 20-year-old personal trainer, and Ironman triathlete. He’s also lived with diabetes since being diagnosed when he was 15.

At first, coming to terms with his chronic illness diagnosis was hugely challenging, not least because of his phobia of needles, which gave him an aversion to injecting.

Now, five years on, he’s a Diabetes UK ambassador and advocate for diabetes awareness.

For National Diabetes Month, he’s joining HuffPost’s Lucy Pasha-Robinson on our anti-wellness podcast Chronic.

The episode explores the themes of ambition and limitations – and how these are impacted by a chronic illness diagnosis. Jack also talks body dysmorphia and eating disorders – all in the pursuit of “wellness” – and the specific barriers some men face in seeking support when living with illness.

Here, he shares five things he’s learnt about masculinity since being diagnosed with diabetes:

1. Acknowledging that I have a condition is so important – it’s sort of like having a pet that needs time, care and attention in order to manage it well.

2. Talking is so important, so I never feel alone.

3. Listening to advice from peers about how to better manage my condition.

4. Proving myself that this is a condition you can coexist with, and it shouldn’t stop you from doing anything you want to do.

5. Inspiring others with the condition to not feel limited.

Hear more from Jack on this week’s episode of Chronic, available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you listen to podcasts – just search for “Chronic”.

Follow Jack Anderson on Instagram @Jackptuk. Stay tuned for more on all things Chronic by following host @LucyPasha on Twitter.

Want to reach the team? Drop us a line at chronic@huffpost.com