Anna you have set me to thinking about the connection between diabetes and personality. I would love to hear from other T-1s out there on their views about how diabetes has effected their personality. I do believe there is a connection.
For me, the first 15-20 years or so of diabetes, I spent a great deal of time and energy attempting to prove to myself and others that I could do anything that a non-diabetic could do. As a result, I spent these years in denial of my disease and its effects. I guess the best I can say about those years is that I survived it and in one piece. But, how I survived it is still a mystery.
I left home at the age of 15. Between the ages of 15 and 20, I lived where I could, with relatives, friends or even sharing rent with other displaced teenagers. I traveled around the US and did my fair share of hitch-hiking. I saw and experienced life in a way that was both exciting and frightening. And during this whole adventure, I kept up with my denial of diabetes. Many people that knew me during this period would have laughed it you told them I was a T-1. How much of this denial was caused by the disease itself or maybe by the era of women's liberation or by my own stubborn nature, I will most likely never know. I do know, that as a result of these experiences, my personality was altered.
By age 20 I earned my high school diploma and was accepted at a state univerity. I was one of the oldest dorm dwellers that first two years and gained many lasting friendships. I decided that since I survived to age 20 without trying, I would try the next 20 years and see what happened. After 15-20 years as a diabetic and I was just beginning to accept that it is real. And this acceptance did aid in my personal developement. I graduated with a teaching degree, got married, worked in many different arenas and went back to school and received a MA in Counseling.
So, I made it to 40, still in one piece and I thought it must be time to try even harder as a T-1 and become as healthy as I could be. It is diffeniatly a work in progress. It is a true balancing act to be chronically ill and not be consumed by the ilness(es). For about the last 6 years or so, I have been traveling (mostly by train) back and forth to The Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. Mayo has added much to my health and wellbeing. So far they have saved my eyesite (as a motorcyclist this is important as there is no such thing as a "seeing eye hog.") and they have helped me to regain awareness of blood sugar highs and lows. I consider Mayo the "One-Stop-Shopping" experience for the chronically ill. Where I live in Michigan, if I am to take care of all my medical needs, I would have to travel all over the state and see as many as 15 or so doctors. But at Mayo I can do it all in one place and get the best medical care that is available. My illness is an expensive hobby, but the end results are proving to be worth all the time and money.
What has all this to do with diabetes and personality? For one, I am a real character! I am unique and different and fun and funny and deep and soulful and resiliant and resourceful and intelligent. Can I prove that diabetes is the cause and effect? I doubt it, but in my heart I know that I would not be who I am as a person without the experiences given to me as a result of my disease.
jwd T-1 since 1963