I Have T1D and This is Why I Go to Therapy

I have type 1 diabetes and this is why I go to therapy

When you say something about “being in therapy,” people often associate it with recovery or mental illness. For some that is the case, but I’d like to talk about why I choose to go to therapy.

As someone living with type 1 and professionally working in the field to help empower others to advocate for their needs and get involved in research, I often neglect my own self-care. I go to therapy to talk about my own diabetes issues. I don’t (knock on wood) have long-term complications, a high A1c, or an endocrinologist who doesn’t listen to me. I have health insurance. I have a wonderful supportive husband, family, and close friends. So why would I need therapy? Because it’s a chance for me to talk to an unbiased person about everything and anything I want to, related to diabetes or not. However, being diagnosed at 6, I have found that diabetes comes into play as it relates to how I respond or react to a situation either with friends or at work. But my therapist helps me understand why I might be feeling this way. I find it interesting.

I don’t have a diagnosis of depression or other mental health issue, but living with diabetes, I feel like at least for me, I keep a lot inside.

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I go to therapy because there are some things I just don’t feel like telling anyone. And at the end of the day, after I’ve read and responded to dozens of comments or status updates online, I wonder—what about me?

Diabetes stinks. There are sometimes when I’m low in the middle of the night and I wake up and just do my own thing like chug juice directly from the carton (sometimes change my t-shirt because I’m dripping in sweat), and head back to bed and stare at the ceiling, waiting for the safety zone “northeast” arrow on my Dexcom to show up to give me confidence I’m on the rise. All of this happening while the hubster is in sleepyland. Sigh.

But does he really need to be up with me for 40 minutes in the middle of the night so then we can both be crab apples the next day? I go to therapy to figure out how I want to communicate about my diabetes to my loved ones. It has helped me be a better person to others.

I go to therapy because sometimes I don’t want to talk about diabetes. Over the past year I’ve traveled a lot, got engaged, then married, and am now on the hunt for a house (yes, I’m hooked on HGTV). There are some sessions where diabetes doesn’t come up at all, but whatever is exploding in my head gets brought to the table and I’m able to feel better about it, which as we all know, is probably affecting the blood sugar graph anyway.

I was reluctant to go at first. A close girlfriend of mine convinced me it was a great idea. The more I talked to her the more I realized I might like it. I am forever thankful for that conversation. It is definitely a commitment, and a relationship you have to be okay with (you should shop around like you do for an endocrinologist). Sometimes I wish I “didn’t have to go” but often like the gym, once I’m there I’m so glad I went and never leave the 50-minute session with anything less than motivation and self-awareness. For those on the fence or pondering the idea, I highly recommend it.

Anna Floreen–GluAnna

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