Psychology & Diabetes: A Crossroads of Physical and Mental Health

family I know of with type-1 diabetes. Type 2 is fairly common. From the moment of diagnosis, I was hospitalized for a week at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta where I was taught what diabetes is and how to manage it.

As a child, I would say my level of understanding was pretty high. It involves a lot of math and I’m good at that. I don’t really remember [having any] depression or moments where I sat and asked: “Why me?” I just knew it was something that would change my life forever but I always tried to live it as normal as possible.

Being singled out of a group when you go eat or play (for instance: someone would always try to bring a diet soda around or ask me “if” I can have a slice of cake) and being constantly monitored by adults was probably the worst part. “Take care of yourself now so that when you’re an adult you can live a full life without complications from diabetes” was constantly preached to me as a kid.

VG: Managing diabetes requires extensive monitoring of sugar levels, food consumption, physical activity, etc.  This can be challenging for anyone.  With your health depending on these important actions, how difficult has it been to manage as an adult?

Antoine: For me, not difficult at all. I’ve sort of adopted the mentality “Do it or die.” It may sound dark at first, but that’s the approach I have with it. If I want to live the best life I can, I must always be on top of my health or the rest of my life will be a miserable one. I have many diabetic friends and while some of them are on top of it, most of them aren’t. From my training and experiences growing up, an A1C of 11 and taking injections without cleaning the site with alcohol was unheard of.

When I was younger, I thought there was only one way to do diabetes. I didn’t realize that what is normal for me, isn’t the norm. It is actually very difficult to manage and is becoming increasingly harder the less insurance (and money) you have. As a kid, I never saw these things because

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