T1D – Invisible Illness

One of the frustrating things about living with T1D is that it is invisible.

I know, that is a strange thing to say and difficult to comprehend, but let me try to explain it to you.

Most illness and disease that people live with have some sort of physical indication that the person isn’t well. Now please don’t misunderstand my intention here. I am in no way intending to downplay the awful illness and conditions that so many people live with. I am only mentioning a difference between those illnesses and T1D.

A broken leg is obviously a broken leg.
Arthritis, as it progresses, becomes quite clear. I know; I have early stage arthritis myself.
MS becomes quite clear that the person isn’t well.
Asthma, skin conditions, even epilepsy, can show themselves quite clearly.

But a person living with T1D doesn’t necessarily show any physical sign of the T1. So long as the person, and don’t forget there are 30 million of us around the world, is in reasonably good health and manages their T1 well, nobody would ever be able to tell that they live with this chronic illness.

For example, after 46 years and 55,000 injections, unless you followed me around for 24 hours and watched my every move, you would never know that I lived with this illness.

“But why” I hear you ask “is that a frustrating thing?”

Good question. Let me explain.

When you combine the fact that T1D is invisible with the general public’s confusion about the significant differences with T2D – the “diabetes” that is most often is discussed in the media – and then stretch that to people thinking they are armchair experts in the modern world about all things dietary, we sometimes find ourselves needing to defend what we have to do to stay alive. As I have described in another post, we can be dead in 8 hours if we don’t actively manage our T1.

The modern confusion between T1D and T2D can even lead to sad situations, such as a mother of a child with T1D being accused of causing it by feeding their child “bad food”.

It is situations like these that can make this invisible illness unnecessarily frustrating.

I know; maybe I should wear my arm in a sling. At least then people would be interested and show sympathy for an imaginary condition, rather than be confused and ignore an invisible one.

Marathon des Sables – A Type 1 Diabetes Adventure

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