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I look back now and ask myself “was it worth it?”...I scream “No!” with every inch of my being...yet this terrible illness consumes and controls me still.
I've had a binge eating disorder for as long as I can remember, I recall my parents locking the kitchen door and finding myself compelled to climb through a tiny serving hatch in a desperate attempt to numb my anxiety and thoughts of self loathing.
At the age of 6 I was diagnosed as a type 1 Diabetic, prior to the diagnosis along with all the classic symptoms I lost a considerable amount of weight, at first my parents were concerned I was being bullied but it soon became clear something more sinister was to blame. I had difficult relationship with my diabetes and over the years would be admitted to hospital many times.
At the age of 17, overweight and very depressed I spent a brief period in Foster care during which I lost some weight. When I went back to school I was greeted with much praise and decided I wanted to lose more, having a binge eating disorder and not being a great fan of exercise it was clear in my mind there was only one feasible option.
Initially I would skip the odd injection, particularly when I had overindulged. During the next year my obsession with losing weight continued, the weight literally fell off overnight and so a week prior to my 18th Birthday I found myself in a situation where I was no longer taking any long acting Insulin and was surviving on as little as 2 units of short acting, that was if I gave any at all.
I woke up severely acidotic, my blood sugar unrecordable. I had chest pain and was having great difficulty breathing, my head pounded, my mouth drier than the Sahara, my body so weak I could barely lift my head from the pillow. I felt a huge wave of Nausea wash over me, my throat burning as I vomited violently, sweat pouring down my face yet my body shivering uncontrollably. An hour later I arrive at the hospital in DKA where I collapse onto the bed
This is the last thing I remember......
3 days later I wake in Intensive care, I have lines and machines monitoring every part of my anatomy. I can see the relief on my mums face and suddenly I realize the Hell I've just put her through, I feel immense guilt however my next thought is that of panic and disgust when I realize just how much Insulin and Dextrose is being pumped through my veins. I start to wonder how much weight I've gained...How many days will I have to skip my insulin to lose it? The consultant reviews me and tells me that had I arrived 30 mins later I would be dead...
This is the beginning of hundreds of admissions to hospital in DKA and the first of 22 admissions to Intensive Care.
Between the ages of 17-22 I lost a dangerous amount of weight, last year with my body weak and riddled with complications including autonomic Neuropathy and chronic pain I found myself Incontinent and on large doses of morphine. After several attempts previously to section me I was finally detained in a medical hospital to be re-fed.
Unfortunately during this time although I managed to gain the weight I received no psychological support and as such was unable to make any changes regarding my Diabetes management or relationship with food.
A year on I've maintained my weight however really struggle with severe depression, administering my Insulin, monitoring my blood sugars and managing my binging. Every day is an uphill battle and as a result of complications,especially gastric, I am rarely able to leave the house and do normal day to day activities.
It's my hope that in the future ED-DMT1 is recognized as both a life threatening and complex mental health condition and as such criteria for both the diagnosis and treatment becomes readily available. I believe that nobody should suffer the ignorance or dismissal or be labeled an “uncooperative” diabetic that I have been confronted with along my journey.