Coming of Age With Chronic Illness and Mental Health

Usually, there’s more than one thing going on in life. But sometimes you or the people in your life put all of the focus on one thing.

For me, that focus has often been my type 1 diabetes (T1D). I’ve done this, but so have the people in my life and the rest of the world around me. I firmly believe this caused some other things to get missed or not acknowledged enough while I was growing up.  

I was diagnosed with T1D when I was seven years old. I wasn’t diagnosed with ADHD, anxiety, and OCD until was 22, and I wasn’t diagnosed with PCOS and endometriosis until I was 23. One thing from these new diagnoses that remained consistent? It’s obviously been around for awhile.

My anxiety, ADHD, and OCD diagnosis all stated that I presented with symptoms before the age of 12, but the person who screened me believed that it was even before my T1D diagnosis.

After I was diagnosed with PCOS and endometriosis, my doctor and I talked about the fact that my periods have been miserable since my first period when I was 13.

Why did this all take so long? I know a lot of factors come into play. I know there isn’t one key thing. But I have some resentment I need to channel. I need somewhat of an explanation so I can focus on how to try and fix it. But I also believe that a big part of this was the focus on my T1D.

Everything was about the T1D. It was the focus or the blame.

Was I anxious? Well, yes, because I have diabetes. Did I have major issues with my period? It was probably because I have diabetes. So people stopped there, including me. I didn’t look for further explanation even if I knew it wasn’t diabetes. I had had those conversations too many times. I knew when I just needed to focus on how to deal with it. I’d figure out how to work around it on my own if possible.

I haven’t decided if I wished I had gotten these diagnoses earlier. I do wish that people looked beyond diabetes and the numbers. It is nice to have explanations for things in my past- making things clearer. Maybe some things would have been easier? Who knows!

But now that I know what I have along for the ride, I can work with it. I can do something about it. I can find my community, just like with diabetes.

I now don’t have a period because it’s not good for my health overall- including my mental health and diabetes.

I now take medications for the ADHD and anxiety/OCD.

This all helps with my diabetes management which is still the focus of the world around me (and sometimes myself), but it helps my life overall. It improves my quality of life. It makes things easier. It helps me be happier.

Of course, these things can still suck, and it is okay to admit it! Things can suck (always or at the time), but you can still live your life.

All of these experiences (and more!) pushed me in the direction of a project I started about two years ago. I’ve written a book, and I’m pursuing self-publishing. It’s about coming of age with chronic illness and mental health. I want to balance the positive with the negative of life experiences with honesty. I’ve always wanted to be an author, but to be perfectly honest, I never saw myself writing this type of book. I have though, and I have also decided to utilize crowdfunding to make this dream a reality!

Mindy is self-publishing an honest book about growing up with chronic illness and mental health. She wrote the content before rose-colored glasses impacted her experiences too much. To help this book get published, you can visit the crowdfunding page to learn more, back her project, and help spread the word. You can also follow Mindy on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and her blog “There’s More to the Story”.

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