Jenna Feely was a recent guest on my podcast where she talked about being diagnosed at thirteen years old, her adolescences with type 1 and her outlook on her life with the disease. About halfway through the conversation I asked Jenna about her advocacy online and she told me about her Instagram page (She has nearly 5,000 followers!), later I asked her if she would write a guest post for Arden's Day about her experience with type 1 advocacy and how she uses her Instagram page to help people. I hope you enjoy her post and take time to listen to her episode, 'Eighteen and Already Amazing'! - Best, Scott
When I am not feeling my best, I seek support. When I am feeling positive, I try to give support.
When I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, I was 13 years old and I had no idea what type 1 diabetes was. I also didn’t know that social media could have really helped me in that moment. It took me a couple of years to realize that social media could be a huge outlet to connect with others going through the same daily monitoring to take care of themselves.
It can be easy to feel isolated when living with type 1 diabetes.
We have to take care of ourselves, and monitor our health in ways that most will never have to. Whether you prefer Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, or other sites that provide support, you can voice your concerns, your worries, your progress, or just have a good laugh!
Social media has provided an outlet for me that helps me relate to others, and hopefully help others with type 1 diabetes. I love being able to support others who may be having a tough day, and talking to others who are dealing with the same bumps that I am. It can be very easy to feel different, or cut off from the world when you are living with a chronic disease. However, diabetes has actually helped me in many ways that, as a society I feel we tend to ignore. Yes, I have had sleepless nights, scary lows, scary highs…..but through all that pain I have also learned to move on, and to get on with life. Diabetes has taught me to be more patient with others as well as myself. I have also learned to forgive others as well as myself. As you all probably know, if you don’t forgive yourself for those little mistakes, you will go crazy!
When you know how it feels to have a chronic illness, you can empathize with others who are also going through something similar, even if it is not type 1.
We can learn from each other through social media.
We can all share tips, and tricks that we may have found over the years whether they relate to physical or emotional wellness in our management. Social media also helps me stay inspired in my management. When I am not feeling my best, I seek support. When I am feeling positive, I try to give support. We can all give and take from each other. Through social media, we can help others forgive themselves, support each other through sleepless nights, and also add a little humor to type 1!
You can find Jenna on Instagram @DiabetesTips and I am on Instagram @ArdensDay. Jenna's episode of the Juicebox Podcast can be found here, listened to below, on iTunes or where ever you get your podcast fix.