My name is Rebecca Sellin. I’m 22 years old and I live in a city called Jönköping in Sweden. Right now I’m studying to become a pre-school teacher at Jönköping University. I’ve been living with type 1 diabetes for the past 6 years, but sometimes it feels like even longer, because I can’t even remember how it’s like to live a “normal” life.
But what is a normal life anyway? Everyone is struggling with something, T1D is my struggle.
But I have decided to see the positive sides of it. I love to have an active and healthy lifestyle, but I don’t like to be treated differently because of my T1D, and that’s why I hid my condition for some years, because I didn’t want people to see me as a weak person.
My diabetes was discovered when I was involved in a minor car accident in my neighborhood when I was 16 years old. Thank God I wasn’t badly hurt, but in the hospital a doctor asked me if I had diabetes, since my blood glucose was really high. I told them that I didn’t have diabetes. At that point, I didn’t know anything about diabetes, except I had a lot of prejudices about it. In hindsight, I can see I had all the classic symptoms such as thirst, weight loss and lack of energy. I had to stay in the hospital for almost a week to learn about T1D and how to manage it. I’m still learning new things and it has taken me 6 years to accept my condition. Diabetes is like a puzzle where some pieces are always missing, and you can’t see the whole picture. It’s like a full time job where you get no vacations, not even on your birthday.
I used to always take my insulin shots in the bathroom, or hide my insulin pump. But eventually I learned that I made my disease even harder when trying to hide it from everyone and trying to fit in. I felt so alone, since I didn’t know anyone with diabetes, and I knew I just had to meet other people with diabetes that fully understands what it’s like. My family and friends are super supportive, but they will never fully understand what it’s like to always have diabetes, and constantly be thinking about it. So I decided to start a group on Facebook to organize meetings and be able to meet with other T1Ds in my city. We meet up a couple of times a month and do stuff together like bowling, taking walks and going to cafes. This has been so helpful for me in the process of accepting my disease, and I can only thank my diabetes for meeting all my new friends, or my diabuddies, as I like to call them.
Also, I’m really happy for the diabetes community that I found on Instagram. To be able to meet people who go through the same things on a daily basis as I do gives me energy to keep on fighting every single day. Together we are stronger and can support each other. My goal is to inspire others who live with T1D, and to never let diabetes stop me from doing what I want in my life and chasing my dreams. I’ve grown so much since my diagnosis, and I’m so excited to see what life will bring.
A month ago I got a diabetes tattoo with my diabuddie, Elin. The tattoo says “I am greater than my highs and lows” which is a great reminder everyday when struggling with your blood glucose.
Follow Becca on Instagram @type1becca