After I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2016, I had a difficult time finding approachable resources that could help me live a better life while managing my blood glucose. I was 26 at the time, and I couldn't find anyone talking about how to manage happy hour with your friends, or living with side effects from oral medications that make you run to the bathroom every 15 minutes while you're at work.
When I didn't find someone else talking about these life-changing moments post-diagnosis, I started my own blog, Hangry Woman.
I began being open and honest with my victories and struggles around blood sugar management and living with diabetes. I also started talking about the shame and stigma people face when it comes to having a type 2 diagnosis.
Not surprisingly, others were looking for those same resources and that same community. I was thrilled. I could finally leave my feelings of isolation behind. I knew that other people understood what it meant to try their hardest to stay between the lines of blood sugar targets, and they were there with me.
People with type 2 diabetes are sometimes treated like we're not human, or that we did something to deserve an insulin resistant body.
Sometimes it happens in our doctor's office. Sometimes it happens with our family, and sometimes it happens most with other people with diabetes - people who should understand most how hard it is to live with this disease.
Many times, it comes from strangers on the internet who have never met you.
As I became more outspoken about respecting people with diabetes despite their type, I'd get comments and messages. I wanted people to see that I was doing the best I could. Most of all, I wanted the judgment and ridicule to stop.
But online that translated to harsh comments about my weight, assumptions about my abilities to manage my diabetes, and a tone that basically said, "You deserve this," or "You're not trying enough."
I was hurt and devastated by those remarks. All I wanted was to be able to say, "I don't deserve this" and "I AM trying really hard."
It hurt even more because I was, in fact, living between the lines. I finally achieved in-range blood sugars. I was getting out to exercise every day. I focused on my mental health. I looked at each day as a way to make progress toward my goals, and I finally felt like I had a healthy relationship with my body and with food.
It made me realize that only you and your care team know how well you're managing your blood glucose and living in between the lines.
From the outside, because I'm overweight and I have type 2 diabetes, there's already a perception that I don't try. There's rarely a moment where a stranger will try to understand my story.
On the inside, I know that I'm working my hardest to achieve the health goals I set for myself. I think that's true of anyone. It's hard not to let outside judgments make you question your own process.
I just keep thinking to myself, "I'm doing the best I can." and that's what gets me through each day.
Mila B is a type 2 diabetes patient advocate and the founder of Hangry Woman, which shares approachable food and lifestyle tips to help others living with type 2 diabetes. Hangry Woman covers topics like diabetes management, shame and stigma, cooking, and self-care from the perspective of someone living with the chronic condition.
Mila is the author of Diabetes Food Journal: A Daily Log For Tracking Blood Sugar, Nutrition and Activity. Her work has been featured by The New York Times, Healthline, WebMD, GE, Health, and Diabetic Living Magazine.