Dear 16 year old Ash,
Hi there. It’s (almost) 29 year old Ash writing to you.
…I’ll pause for a second for you to get over the shock that you’re around to see your 29th birthday.
I know you’re in a dark place and feel like there’s no way out. You’re finding out that people you thought were your friends really aren’t. You feel alone. You feel isolated. And most nights you’re in your room angrily scribbling poetry on every notebook you can get your hands on. I’m here to tell you to keep writing – it helps you keep your head and your heart clear. I’m also here to tell you that you get through this, and you get through it without doing anything catastrophic. It wasn’t an easy road, and some days it’s still difficult, but you’re here. You survived.
I know you’re sick right now and getting bounced around from doctor to doctor. I’m sorry to tell you that you’ll experience the same thing soon after you graduate from college. You’ll start feeling weird but you won’t quite be able to put your finger on what exactly is “off.” You’ll go to so many doctors you’ll find yourself ready to give up. But keep going because eventually you’ll get to an Endocrinologist and find out that you have diabetes.
Type 1.5 to be precise.
Yes, you get your own category that no one even knows about at the time you’re reading this. But with how colorful your medical record is, you shouldn’t be surprised. At all.
If there’s one thing I can tell you about this diagnosis, it’s that it’s going to make you feel so many things. It’s going to make you feel broken or less than. It’s going to make you feel like you’re just a number. It’s going to make you feel like there’s things you can’t do.
I’m here to tell you none of that is true. There’s nothing you can’t do. Your diagnosis does not deplete you of your determination, it only serves to strengthen it. It doesn’t make you breakable, it makes you stronger than you ever knew you could be.
There’s days when it’s going to beat you down and make you feel worthless. It’s going to make you hate your body in a way that you never have before. It’s going to make you truly battle with food on a daily basis.
But you survive. You always survive and find a way out of it and a way out from under the dark cloud that diabetes continually tries to hang over your head.
The most important part of all of this is that you survived. You are surviving and you’re thriving.
And, holy shit, you’re happy.
Seriously. You’re happy. And you’re in love.
I’m not going to ruin that journey for you. Just follow your instincts and eventually you’ll end up exactly where you’re meant to be.