Teenage Kicks: Being Diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in Your Teens

Becoming Disabled as a Teenager

Has your teenager had to deal with something life-changing? Life can be tough, and when something big happens to change your child’s landscape it can suddenly throw them right off the track they thought they were on, and into what can feel like quite a scary place for the whole family.

Is Type 1 Diabetes a Disability?

Daniel Newman is HR Advisor at JDRF, the charity dedicated to Type 1 Diabetes awareness and research. He was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes – a life-threatening disability – when he was 10. Although he handled things well to begin with, things took a more difficult turn for him when he started secondary school, and didn’t want to stick out as being the one with the disability.

How to Control Type 1 Diabetes

Teenage years are often when children start to wobble with previously well-managed situations. Type 1 diabetes is controlled with multiple daily injections of insulin, and numerous calculations every time you eat, to work out what dose to take. It can become exhuasting, especially when you have other priorities – especially when you’re a teenager!

Daniel told me how he ended up failing his GCSE’s because he simply couldn’t engage with school as well as dealing with the implications of his diabetes. But he says that wake up call gave him a can-do attitude that he thinks everyone can learn from scratch.

Can you get rid of diabetes type 1?

Type 1 diabetes has no cure. It’s a lifelong medical condition that needs a lot of management, and it’s not easy to do it alone. You need the support of your family to cope with the mental strain of it, but as a teenager it’s not always easy to open up to your parents.

My guests always tell me that they wished they’d been able to talk to their parents, but Daniel – who isn’t a parent – goes one step further and tells parents how he thinks they might be able to break through the wall that teenagers often put up when we try to get them to open up. Have a listen, it’s certainly made me rethink my strategy when I want to know what’s going on inside my teenagers heads!

Daniel was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes as a teenager

How do you Cope with Diabetes Burnout?

I think Daniel’s learning curve is a fascinating insight into just how possible it is to turn things around even when you’re at your lowest. I love the fact that he started with just tiny goals to make himself feel positive about his progress, and start turning the curve upwards. I also think his advice to parents about how to engage on their teen’s level is a genius way to get them to open up and start a more natural conversation about what’s worrying them.

Daniel has been through a lot as a result of his diagnosis, but now has a hugely positive outlook on life, and how to live with a condition you’d rather not have!

“Listen to how you’re talking to yourself. You’re your biggest motivator.”

You can find Daniel on Twitter and Instagram. You also can listen to his podcast on living with Type 1 Diabetes – The Talking Type 1 Podcast.

You can also find support if you’ve been diagnosed with a life-altering medical condition from the following websites:

  • JDRF – information and support on living with Type 1 Diabetes
  • The Mix is a charity dedicated to supporting young people with mental health struggles
  • See if your diagnosis is a recognised disability, and find out what help you can get
  • Facebook groups offer a lot of support – try the Parents of Type 1 Teens in the UK group for diabetes support

Where to listen to this type 1 diabetes podcast

You can find the episode in your usual podcast app, or if you prefer, you can listen online below.

View on Zencastr

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Podcast on getting diabetes as a teenager

Subscribe to the Teenage Kicks podcast

Thank you so much for listening! Subscribe now to the Teenage Kicks podcast to hear about the new series when it begins. I’ll be talking to some fabulous guests about difficult things that happened to them as teenagers – including losing a parent, being hospitalised with mental health problems, and battling an eating disorder – and how they overcame things to move on with their lives.

I’d love to hear from you if you have any suggestions for future topics on the Teenage Kicks podcast. Contact me here, or you can find me on Instagram and Twitter at @iamhelenwills. I appreciate every message, and love to hear from my listeners.

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For information on your data privacy please visit Zencastr. Please note that I am not a medical expert, and nothing in this blog or in the podcast should be taken as medical advice.

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