Diabetes Awareness Week

13165952_10208466237947015_7147422273512036331_nThe one with mental hair is my friend Liv. Olive. Olivia Jane. Wifey 4 Lifey. Dick’ed. Or however else you want to describe her.

We do the regular best friend things, like go out for coffee, get way WAY too drunk together, take stupid photos on each others phone and then set them as the wallpaper. Just the general everyday stuff that most bffls do.

However, we also do things like Liv wakes up at mine in the middle of a hypo (hypoglycemic shock) and I have to quickly run downstairs to collect all of the sugary food I own to get her blood sugar levels back to normal.

She’s Type 1 Diabetic, and considering it’s Diabetes Awareness Week, I asked her very politely if I could write about her diabetes/diabetes in general on my blog (because you’re not a true journalism student until you’ve exploited those closest to you for a story, amirite).

Type 1 Diabetes is a form of diabetes mellitus that results from the autoimmune destruction of the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. In layman’s terms, one day Liv’s pancreas decided to stop working and now she has to inject herself with insulin to stop her blood sugar from going too high (a hyper, which she said feels like a hangover) or too low (a hypo, when she feels like she’s drunk).

I never really knew anything about diabetes until I met Liv. But since then, I’ve tried to remember everything I can about it so that if anything happens – e.g, she gets so low that she can’t feed herself – I don’t freak the fuck out and make the situation 100 times worse.

I had no idea how much diabetes affects those that suffer from it, and I definitely had no idea that there were so many stereotypes surrounding it. Diabetes is more than just watching what you eat and making sure to inject on time – it has a serious impact on a person’s mental health as well as their physical health (for example, diabetics are more likely to suffer from depression than those without diabetes).

I was ignorant of diabetes for 18 years of my life for the same reason that most people are – unless you’re diabetic yourself, or there’s somebody close to you that has diabetes, you’re literally just NOT taught about it. Diabetes is basically ignored in our society, despite the fact that more people in the UK have diabetes than cancer and dementia combined.

We’ve all seen the adverts on TV raising money and awareness for cancer, heart disease and other health conditions – why isn’t the same being done for diabetes? I don’t know why society has just decided that diabetes isn’t worthy of the same amount of attention as these things, but for some reason it has and it needs to stop.

So the next time you see somebody buying the diet or sugar-free version of a drink, rather than thinking “but Diet Coke tastes like shit what are they doing” – maybe think instead that it might be because they’re diabetic and that, unlike a non-diabetic, they don’t actually have a choice.

Now here’s more photos of mine and Liv’s faces:

We’re so #relatable

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