I, like many others living with diabetes have at some point tried to separate diabetes from the rest of my life. For a long time it was just something that I tried to keep hidden for the most part because I didn't want to be known as the girl with diabetes. I did take care of myself and had good control, but I just didn't try to thrive with diabetes. I didn't want it to be a part of who I was. It was just something I had to live with. This mentality can make it hard to really thrive in any area of life. Once I started accepting the fact that diabetes was a part of who I was and that it did help define me, then I truly started to thrive.

Let’s face it, dealing with diabetes on a daily basis can be draining both mentally and physically. But it doesn't have to be. If you tell yourself that you are going to be a structured individual and that you need to plan your schedule to accommodate your diabetes care then it becomes much easier to deal with. You can do this even if you have a very sporadic and unstructured personality. Trust me, you can… I did. For years I just tried to make diabetes fit into my other plans, which were always sporadic. I hated having to live with a schedule and just kind of went with things as they came along. Living that way and trying to get diabetes to fit my schedule, or lack thereof proved to be very unhealthy and much harder than I thought.

I am not sure when things started to change but slowly I started paying better attention to my body and what I needed to do to have good diabetes control. Eventually I just sort of fell into a schedule, which to my surprise was so much easier to live by than just going with the flow. I got so much more done and was able to focus on the task at hand, and ultimately felt fulfilled in my life. I didn't have to change who I was to have good diabetes control I just had to let it be a part of my life and from there things just sort of fell into place.

I no longer worry about people knowing me as the girl with diabetes, but as a successful human being that just so happens to have diabetes. It is a part of who I am, it helps define me and my characteristics. Characteristics that aren’t negative, but positive side effects of learning to live with diabetes. I know it sounds strange that there could be positive side effects from effectively managing diabetes, but there are: discipline, organization and mental strength just to name a few. Diabetes is still hard. But if we use the qualities that we develop from managing our diabetes to make a difference in other areas of our lives then our potential becomes great in whatever endeavor we choose to pursue. If I can be successful in life and control my diabetes, then there really isn’t anything from stopping me from doing hard things and in the process hopefully inspire others to do so too.

To learn more on this topic:
8 Ways to Love Life (With Diabetes)
What We Learn from Living with a Medical Diagnosis
9 Ways to Laugh and Be Joyful Despite Chronic Illness