So Kim at textingmypancreas.com came up with the brilliant idea of creating a video project in which people with diabetes spread awareness to other people with diabetes who need to know that it gets better.
"We could let them know that those dark times are something we all face; that we all experience. And that they never, ever have to be alone – because there are many of us out here going through the very same things." More information about the project can be found here: textingmypancreas.com/2011/06/you-can-do-this-project.html.
I thank you Kim for bringing out the best in me and many others.
I finally decided to participate in this project even though part of me was unsure. My main concern was getting negative feedback from the internet trolls and how I looked on camera, but I really started to think about it and realized that I wish I had the type of support I have now years ago. So even if I did get trolls, it would be worth it if I at least helped one person.
Shortly after I posted my video, which could be seen here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cnC3Pr6NvCEI got some feedback on my video.
I messaged the person who gave me some feedback regading my video and I asked if they had dealt with depression or diabetes, this is what they messaged me back:
"I was really sympathizing with both. After dealing with diabetes for a long time, my teen years felt really awkward when I was the only one who carried around an insulin pump all the time. I slowly went from doing less management in front of my friends until a point where I basically acted like I didn't have a problem at all. But I didn't really have your luck, I've had about 11 seizures in my life between the ages of 7 to 19, my last seizure being May of this year. It turns out that I had epilepsy as well, so piling that on top of my other medical issues really made me feel isolated. So from there I started becoming more and more depressed and in the past month I started taking anti-seizure medication. Just having all of these things piled on top of each other made me feel like an alien, a freak, a robot, all of the above. Since I started the anti-seizure stuff I've become more and more depressed and have considered suicide on several occasions.
I just want to say your video actually gave me something to look to and make me feel like I wasn't alone. I don't know how much this says but seeing someone else going through a lot of the same things I was going through and knowing a lot of what I have felt for such a long time made me feel less alone in the world. I'm very grateful that you made the video and I'm really thankful for the support and I hope I can return the favor by passing it along and making others feel like they're not alone.
Anyway, I wanted to just say thank you for being you and I'm glad I don't feel alone and like someone understands my feelings for a change. You're awesome and you really helped me a lot. Thank you so much and hope we can have a nice talk again sometime."
This message meant so much to me, but it hurt to read because I was exactly in that place not too long ago. If it wasn't for the Diabetes Online Community (D-OC) I probably wouldn't be so involved in diabetes advocacy at this point, but now I feel its part of my job to help those who feel they don't have a voice. I completely understand that some just don't feel comfortable enough to share their stories out loud, but at least if they can message us and communicate one on one, that works for me. I've never felt so inspired until meeting everyone from the D-OC.
Please reach out if you feel alone, it doesn't just have to be regarding diabetes. Remember, there is always someone out there hoping to find some sort of support group but have no idea about going about it. If you know someone who could use help, point them in the right direction, don't be overbearing.