Balancing Type 1 with school, work, and personal life

Hi! I’m 19 and I was diagnosed this June. This is all kinda new to me and me and my family are trying our best to adjust. I’m a full time college student and I also work part time. As the semester progresses I’m finding it harder and harder to balance everything. I am naturally a very social person and used to go out a lot before I was diagnosed, but I feel that my social life is being neglected. I love my friends but they don’t really understand what I’m going through right now, it’s all still really new. Any tips on how I can get back to my “old self” while still balancing everything else?

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Hey, diabetes is such a big adjustment! It’s no wonder that you’re feeling unbalanced right now, but as someone who is there with you - I know that it’s possible to have good management and balance your life with diabetes! There is hope!

As for me some things that helped, particularly when I was first diagnosed, was following some T1D community members (specifically I read a lot of the blog Six Until Me). Although that may seem like I’m adding something for you to do I really appreciated seeing someone talk realistically about T1D AND it’s a good model to see how other people manage the craziness that is diabetes.

Honestly, the most important thing is giving yourself grace and patience! Diabetes is hard so there is no need to be hard on yourself on top of that! Grace and patience are keys for balancing diabetes with everything else.

I know I’ve rambled but as for practical tips I think that what has most helped me is learning what my body needs and having to be vulnerable and ask friends to work with me in those times. For example, I know that if someone wants to hang out with me in the evening I need my friends to know that I’m going to need to be careful of my blood sugar dropping from too much activity or something. Also do test runs with safe people. If you are planning on doing a new activity or you’re going to be doing something very different, make sure the first time is with people who are safe.

I know I rambled but I hope this was at least sorta helpful?

Thank you! This definitely helps a lot. I don’t know anyone with type 1 so it’s reassuring to get advice from someone who can actually relate.

hi @SydneyNicole205 Sydney, the first year with t1 is a huge learning process. There’s a new language (what the heck is IOB) , new tech (meters, CGM, pens, pumps), emotional stress (why did this happen to me… what do you mean forever???) and so many everything that involves food and activity or lack of food and activity. go easy here, no one likes this and no one wants to have to do this - we tend to do this because we are forced to in order to survive.

managing diabetes can be accurately described as painful and relentless, with the penalty of mistakes resulting in feeling awful, and the only reward for doing a good job is you get to feel normal for 45 minutes.

then there’s life. pure chaos, an almost tornado of family, work, milestones, unimaginable joy and occasional bottomless pits of pain. What I thought life was going to be like when I was a kid, when I was in grade school, high school, college, my first 10 years working, my second…was nothing what I thought, and so much more. There will never, ever be a time where things “settle down”, there will always be change, something to get used to, something to learn, and it’ll be everywhere.

the big take-away? a positive attitude and a general affinity for people in your life that help you and bring joy in some way, and knowing yourself is all you need. T1 falls into a “reflex” category in a year or 2, a background subroutine that you will have to dedicate part of your brain to but will not be front and center all the time. don’t worry, there’ll be plenty of other things happening. The best things a brilliant little old lady ever said to me? “This too shall pass”, and “you are either laughing or you’re crying”. cheers hope you have the medical support you need and welcome to Type One Nation.

Hi Sydney @SydneyNicole205, first a Warm Welcome to TypeOneNation and a welcome to this wonderful “club” of people with T1D [which nobody wants to join].

I’m not really surprised that this is new to you and your family because you are “the only one” - only about 10% of newly diagnosed have a first degree relative with this condition. Yeah, we are an “exclusive” group and each of us is a little bet different than all the others - what works for someone else may not work for you; keep that in mind as you read the many posts here and elsewhere.

As both Krista @Cereline and Joe @joe have said you gave much to learn and I’m certain you will soon have a pretty good understanding of what you need to do and figure out some really good tricks of “good” diabetes management - you will have many awesome tools to assist you.

The real basis of diabetes management, and I’ve been trying this since 1957 and continue to learn more and more, is how to balance your activity and food intake with insulin. Yes, as Krista said, patience is important, This isn’t an easy task and just when you think everything is just perfect the bubble will burst - this happens to each and every one of us - so don’t get down on yourself but rather smile and say let’s just try again. A “way off” BG reading isn’t the end of the world - but rather it is a marker you may use to progress.

Social withdrawal could be a symptom of depression.

I urge you to find another T1D to speak with on a regular basis. No one who does not have it truly understands and while others may be sympathetic and helpful they cannot stand in your shoes. There are online forums of course…such as this one…but nothing compares to sitting with another and being able to truly relate to them on the same basis.

I am a junior in high school and I think a lot about going to college and i am worried that I won’t be able to handle living on my own and balancing everything. High school is hard enough!! Maybe you could ask at the health office on campus to see if there are others on campus with Type 1 that you can connect with.