I moved home after my sophomore year in college in hopes of getting some support from my family, as my diabetes had landed me in the hospital a couple of times as my sugars really started to take a toll. I decided to keep trying to lower my insulin levels by cutting back on carbs, and found that my blood sugars were slowly improving.
Seeing doctors every couple of months kept me very aware of the ups and downs of my weight and I saw the correlation between my blood sugars, my weight, and my carb and food intake. This is when the obsessions with the scale really started to take over. It was then that I got an insulin pump, that promised even better control of my blood sugars.
The pump made me even more aware of my body in the strangest way possible. I know had to pinch the fat on my belly in order to insert the needle. Pinching my belly only made me hyper aware of my stomach and its shape.
The mix of fashion magazines I loved to read, being an athlete whose body looked more athletic than thin, and my obsessions with health magazines, eating healthy, and doctors who educated me about the different thyroid hormones that were always a struggle to keep level which affected my weight, and also my perfectionist tendencies ended up taking over every aspect of my life. When I was feeling down, I would convince myself I needed to be healthier or thinner or better, and this would drive me to do weird things.
With diabetes, you are very aware. You are aware of every single thing you eat (because you have to count it), every time you go for a walk, take a sip of something that isn’t water, every time you decide to go out with your friends to a restaurant.
My junior year I decided to really take my independence to the next level. I wanted to experience life from a different perspective, gain more freedom, and I decided I wanted to take my love for writing and photography to London, England. I signed up to study abroad though a program that sounded amazing through New York University.
The summer before leaving for London, my obsessions had taken over my everyday. My thoughts and actions were consumed with being one-pound lighter everyday on the scale. I would step on the scale in the morning and this would determine my day. If I were lighter, this would be a good day. If I was the same or heavier, it would usually be an exercise filled day, and a day of only eating what I thought I should, which was usually next to nothing. Actually I can remember whole days where I remember exactly what I had eaten in the day because I usually ate the same thing every single day for months at a time. My blood sugars have never been better than during this time. I ate at the same time every day, ate the same thing every day, and exercised at the same time every day. My body was no longer out of my control, it was under perfect control. I was no longer a person that had much free will, I was someone who was controlled by my disease, but this is the only way that worked, I thought.
I went to London terrified, nervous, but confident that I was doing something independent and on my own. Even though I had to bring a separate suitcase of only diabetes supplies, that part of my life felt controlled. I wasn’t scared that I would have to be hospitalized overseas, because I had it perfect. Just find the exact foods you ate here in the states, and you would be fine. Stay in control, I thought to myself.