It has been a week of nerves, excitement and change. I have never been a afraid of change but when starting a new job, there is one concern….to tell or not to tell?
I am lucky to have started a role in an environment where you can say it is ‘accepted’ but there have been previous roles that I have been in where I have hidden my diabetes from those who I worked with.
I wouldn’t say that I am ashamed, not at all, but I never really knew how someone else would respond when you tell them.
A few years ago, I was working in an environment where I felt very self-conscious about having type 1. I have no doubt that if I was more open about it my colleagues may have understood my behaviours or working patterns better but I carried all the burden myself. Some colleagues found out over time but I wouldn’t say I spoke about it often or in public.
This translated to my everyday life as well. I rarely spoke about it with family and friends and if it was brought up I would try to dodge questions. I don’t even think that my boyfriend saw me test myself for the first year or two of dating.
I saw type 1 diabetes as a weakness and a burden, not only on myself but also for those around me. I thought I would be judged if anyone knew the truth of why I get so frustrated, down or burnt out in both my personal and work life.
Having a career change and pursuing my passion for raising awareness of type 1 has been empowering. I truly believe that everything happens for a reason and feel like all my decisions have gotten me here, where I am today.
As soon as I stopped hiding and being paranoid about other peoples opinions, I became stronger. The more honest I was, the more support I received from family, friends and colleagues.
My last work place was extremely supportive and given that they were working in the diabetes industry, there was a different understanding.
Type 1 can impact or influence your life in so many different ways, so my opinion is to definitely say something to your work place or those who surround you on a regular basis. It is so important to let people in even if it is just a little bit. I’m not saying share all the ins and outs about life with type 1 but when those around you are aware, I think it helps you cope better.