Chronic Illness, mental health, Type 1 Diabetes

The 5 Stages of Grief & Type 1 Diabetes

Almost four years ago, I was given a life changing diagnosis: Type 1 Diabetes (T1D). I look back on that time a lot and I remember feeling a lot of things like fear, guilt, and depression. One thing I noticed after looking back on those first few months is that I was going through what felt like the five stages of grief. I even remember feeling guilty that I felt that way because I wasn’t mourning the loss of a loved one and my diagnosis wasn’t terminal. I think that’s the most confusing part of a manageable, but incurable, disease diagnosis. I was sad, and honestly the person I was before that fateful day was gone, but my life was going to go on almost like normal. I didn’t have months to live, and there wasn’t what felt like a gaping hole in my heart from missing a person who left us too soon. It was hard to tell people how I was feeling because I was sometimes met with: “Other people have it worse,” or “At least it’s not cancer.”

It’s hard to not feel guilty for feeling like you’re going through the five stages of grief, or anything about your diagnosis, when you’re met with those kinds of statements after you open up about how you’re feeling. I decided to make a five part-series about my journey navigating through the five stages of grief after my T1D diagnosis because it wasn’t fair for people to tell me I couldn’t feel that way. Whenever someone told me that I should be happy my diagnosis wasn’t something more serious, it didn’t make my world seem like it was falling apart any less. Instead, it made me feel like I couldn’t feel anything toward my recent diagnosis. I wasn’t dying, therefore, I couldn’t be sad that life my was going to be completely different. They were right, I wasn’t dying, but getting diagnosed with an incurable disease, no matter how manageable, is a major life event.

I knew from being active in the online diabetic community that I wasn’t the only one who felt like this. I wasn’t the only one who felt like they went through the five stages of grief after their diagnosis, and I wasn’t the only one who was met with that same ‘it could be worse’ attitude after opening up about how I was handling my diagnosis. I’ve wanted to write this series for awhile because I want others to know that whatever you’re feeling after any kind of diagnosis is valid. No one has the right to tell you that you can’t feel sad or angry about your diagnosis. On the flip side, no one has the right to tell you that you’re handling your diagnosis too well. I hope by reading this series, people can look back at their own diagnosis and relate to what I was feeling, but I also want those who are trying to figure out this new normal to realize that it’s okay to feel whatever it is that they’re feeling.

I will start posting one part of this five part series every Friday for the next five weeks starting May 29. Make sure you subscribe to my blog so that you don’t miss a post or follow me on Instagram for post updates, and all things related to life with Type 1 Diabetes.

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