I Survived an Insulin Overdose
Trigger Warning: Contains content related to self-harm and diabetes burnout.
I’m now 33, having been diagnosed right before I turned 4. I don’t understand a “normal life.” Each time I’m asked what would I do if diabetes was cured, I’m at a loss for words.
Growing up, I did “normal” things. I played sports, even went on to be a starting soccer player in college. I drove fast cars, got invited to parties, had great friends. What was missing was all mental. That lead to a very dark path.
This path consumed me and took me into a depression. In my early 20s, all I could imagine was how much money I would save without diabetes, how I could keep a girlfriend without her being afraid of my illness. How I could travel and not worry. These thoughts made the depression worse.
Into my mid-twenties, I found out I was going to be a father. The joy and excitement that should come along with this was soon overshadowed by the what-ifs: What if I never get to see him graduate school? What if I can’t be there for him because diabetes took me to soon? What if when he needs me most I’m having a low and am incoherent?
With these questions looming, I reached a point of no hope, no light at the end of the tunnel. It was better to leave the earth then before he truly needed me later. Trust me, I know it sounds selfish. It is. When you are clouded by thoughts of a lifelong illness, the depression that comes along with it takes hold of everything.
I decided the easiest way out without anyone knowing of my decision was to take too much insulin. I measured my dose and injected. Unbeknownst to me, there were greater things in store for me. Things that outweighed my selfish decision. Instead of my insulin working in 20-30 minutes as usual, it took nearly three hours for my blood sugar to crash. I was already at work by this time.
Sitting there crashing but unable to speak, I could see my life, not in imagery, but in thoughts. Scared and knowing what I had done, I faced my mortality. Lucky for me, my boss and friend recognized what was happening. That’s when everything went black. I awoke to an ambulance and paramedics surrounding me.
After this ordeal, I sat with my roommate. We walked around our neighborhood as I filled him in on what happened and why. He was one of my best friends and felt betrayed by my insulin overdose. But he looked me in the eye and said he loved me like his brother and that we would get through this together.
Mind you, this all happened before people withy diabetes gathered on social media. Prior to this, you had pen pals from camps, or maybe someone you met in a waiting room who you’d talk with. Nothing like now. If you are in that place, please don’t feel ashamed. I made it through that dark time!
Years after the darkest moment in my life, I’m happy and I have found joy. It wasn’t overnight though; it took time. I met my wife, who dove into learning about diabetes and who stood by me as we got my blood sugars under control. She helped me get my A1c from above 12 to below 8. Together, we have four beautiful kids. I started a group called The Betes Bros with a great friend of mine. Most importantly, I’m able to share my story to offer insight and hope to those who are suffering.
If you are in a dark place, utilize the vast networks out there. Use Twitter or Instagram. Just type out #Diabetes and see how many of us there are out there. You’re probably reading this on your phone, so go and download the Beyond Type 1 app! There’s plenty of friends out there to show you there’s a future. Don’t let a dark time steal the light from the great days that lie ahead.