Diabulimia Robbed Me Of My Sight - This Is Me Admitting I'm Scared

I want to take it all back. I wish I could time travel and be able to shake my naive 14-year-old self back to sense, right at the moment I stepped over the edge
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I never meant to do this. It wasn’t supposed to go this far. This was not the person I ever imagined myself becoming. But I am here and it’s happening and I am terrified.

In the beginning I was just flirting. Experimenting with diets and slight adjustments to my insulin plan, a trim of some units, a lie here and a secret stashed away there, but it was nothing serious, I just wanted to lose a bit of weight and then I’d stop, right?

Here we are about 17 years later. It began in September 2001: the start of my back to school ‘diet’, which quickly turned into starving myself, with episodes of bulimia and diabulimia - insulin omission. I was diagnosed with anorexia with the binging/purging subtype. Persistently high or erratic swings in my blood sugars and resentment towards my diabetes came alongside.

But, like my vision, those days are a bit of a blur. I don’t truly know how I even got here. I can’t even understand how or why or where all those years went. I feel cheated. I am not this age, I did not live those years. It’s almost like I’ve been comatose.

Twenty-one years of type one diabetes. I’ve pushed and I’ve kicked and I’ve denied its existence. Now it feels like it’s paying me back for the neglect and damage I’ve caused.

In the past I’ve shrugged off the complications that have been caused by my eating disorder and diabetes. I’ve not been so bothered by them, and scare tactics or warnings relayed to me by health professionals, my friends or my family have had little effect.

But when the issue is right ahead of you, blocking your view and pressing on your brain, it’s impossible to ignore. My eyes are failing me. I’ve had diagnosed retinopathy for a couple of years now and undergone four bouts of extensive laser surgery. I’ve had numerous floating islands and wispy strands of black appear at the backs of my eyes that have mostly dispersed gradually or been corrected by laser. My left eye has always been worse and this time it is chief troublemaker. Again.

In July, I noticed blurriness over my left field of vision and it seemed to gradually thicken throughout that evening. I struggled through Saturday hoping that it would break up and dissolve like the similar patches I’d had occur. But it stayed put and on Sunday seemed to be even more serious.

This prompted an A&E visit, a seven-hour long day, out of hours on call eye clinician, and relying on my patient brother to take me and stay with me.

The verdict was that I have a huge bleed right on the macular of my left eye and I cannot see anything besides blurriness out of that side. I was told they could do a procedure to break up the bleed but that nothing could be done outside of regular clinic hours and so I’d be given an urgent appointment that coming week.

Three appointments followed, and it was determined that I most likely needed to have a vitrectomy operation as the bleed was just too large to attempt anything less invasive. For that I was to be urgently referred to a London specialist hospital. I waited, and I waited and due to an administrative error I’m still waiting for the surgery.

It’s left me wandering aimlessly, disoriented, dizzy, drifting and confused. From my left eye the sky is only indistinguishable by colour and direction, from the ground. I can see a waving hand but not the number of fingers held up. I can see a bright light but no letters on the reading chart. I look at a word, or a sentence and the middle part is all mixed up with pieces missing. And today, I can now see a black inky puddle floating ahead of my right side of vision.

I want to take it all back. I wish I could time travel and shake my naive 14-year-old self back to sense, right at the moment I stepped over the edge.

This is me admitting I am scared. This time I am fretful. It has been raining heavily for a decade but the damp is only just soaking me and sinking in.

A version of this post featured on the website for Diabetics With Eating Disorders.