How art helped me love my Type 1

You’ll know if you live with Type 1 diabetes what its like. Its 24/7. Theres no breaks and its not an easy ride, its a roller coaster. Throughout my A Levels I went through a period of diabetes burnout. Diabetes burnout is classified as ‘a state in which someone with diabetes grows tired of managing their condition’. For me this wasn’t exactly true. I was fed up with my diabetes because my exams were affecting my diabetes and my diabetes was affecting my exams. It was a period of a vicious cycle. My exam stress was making my blood sugars high and my high blood sugars was making my exams harder. I had enough to cope with with my exams without diabetes on top!

During this time I was in close contact with my diabetes team who were helping me with the pressure that was on me because of my diabetes. I learnt that its not possible to be a perfect diabetic and I couldn’t control everything that happened. Due to my diabetes and exams affecting my life it did make me fall out with my diabetes in some ways. The advocate that tried to raise awareness about her condition was just trying to get through every day without a high blood sugar that wiped her out.

For my final art topic of my A Level we had to pick a title from the choices provided by the exam board and make it our own. I picked the title ‘Maps’ and decided to add a personal twist. I decided to call my topic ‘A map of my journey through Type 1 Diabetes’. My art topic which started out as a way to raise awareness actually affected me on a much deeper level allowing me to talk about the feels and emotions behind the needles and blood sugar checks. Talking about my diagnosis, growing up with diabetes and how my diabetes was affecting me at the time showed me that even though I was having a hard time with diabetes at that moment, my life with Type 1 has been a roller coaster and had actually affected my life in a very positive way.

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Showing the different emotions with Type 1 diabetes – a world of emotion

Analysing my journey and my emotions throughout my 7 years with diabetes was a really personal topic to exhibit for my A Level exam. I used artists that represented challenges and emotions people with Type 1 face. My favourite artist within my topic was Lee Price who is a realist painter. She features people in strange places eating food such as in the bath and laid in bed surrounded by wrappers. For me and my topic it represents the hypos we have in odd places and the 15 gram rule for hypos that we all ignore. Throughout my sketchbook I explained my life with type 1  and delved into everything that comes along with it.

I love art and I’m glad art helped me love my diabetes again

Some more of my artwork:

Lots of love The Backpacker and the Pod xxx

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