Type-1 Diabetes in Pakistan; an Overview (Guest Post)

Introduction of the writer

This is Minahil Awan. I am 18 years old. A couple of years back I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. Due to lack of knowledge about a topic which is sensitive to most of the young survivors, I took an initiative to be vocal about this mainstream issue, its causes and effects, and how it controls every aspect of our life. Side by side, I write about the situations that lead young ones to the inescapable cave which takes us to depression and anxiety. I want to raise my voice regarding all these forbidden truths that will educate others to be more cautious among people like us. If my work makes 1 person feel better about themselves I will consider my efforts have borne fruits. You can follow me on my socials to get in along my journey and observe my experiences.


Living in a developing country where people have no idea of what a chronic illness stands for, it’s safe to say that almost eight out of ten people will have no knowledge about what diabetes actually means. And not going to lie, the same was for me when I had not been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. When the word diabetes was heard by me, I never had this bigger picture in my mind which I have now. I do want to change that. And I do want everyone to know what it actually feels like to suffer from such discomfort being a kid, especially a teenager. It’s not ignorance I’ll say, it’s the lack of awareness, which is supported by what I’d like to call, a poor education system, where knowing things that actually matter is not really the key point. Not blaming what actually is taught but other things also require importance and attention. Without going too far with the education topic, which will not be done justice if I try to portray it in this piece, let’s get back to the point here. Diabetes, Type 1 diabetes is what I’m mostly here to talk about. “Type 1 diabetes, once known as juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes, is a chronic condition in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin. Insulin is a hormone needed to allow sugar (glucose) to enter cells to produce energy”, defined by Wikipedia as nothing similar to how I’d like to explain it, (we’re not going to go there). But honestly, it’s not the diabetes part that gives you the hardest time. It’s everything revolving around it, including yourself. It’s the “can you eat that?!”, “get well soon”, “herbs can heal you!”, “I know a doctor who cures diabetes”, part that gives you frustration. Diabetes is definitely a difficult sickness to live with, without a doubt. You never know what to expect, this constant fear of uncertainty of what’s going to happen next hovers over your shoulders all the time. As the American singer-songwriter, Nick Jonas says; “Chasing perfection with type 1 diabetes is impossible, there’s so much that’s out of your hands and finding a way to remain calm and patient in moments where diabetes interrupts your life is the key”. Insecurities overwhelm you the entire time cause remember, you’re the kid who never fits in, the one who never comes to school trips cause your lifesaver(insulin) needs to be in a certain temperature otherwise, it’s not going to result in good. I’ve realized that despite the physical and emotional pain, the economical factor is the one I really don’t like. in spite of the fact that medical supplies are expensive, with no such awareness in the society, it gets pretty frustrating to see people compromising on their life to actually feed their families. Diet, an important part of being a diabetic, it’s really intimidating to find things that are helpful to maintain your health easily. I would not really call our local store ” diabetic friendly” at all. It’s not about the price of things that’s really annoying at first, it’s the availability. Fresh, good quality products, not a chance! Eliminating everything I’ve said, suffering from chronic sickness, I’m not going to think twice before saying that the most important aspect is the emotional one. Not being accepted by people is one of the most common things I’ve seen so far. People in our society like to cancel people out when they can’t really understand them. You really need someone to completely understand you, which in my case the count would be zero probably. I find myself through times where it gets pretty dark, knowing I have a lot of people who I can call or text and talk to, I choose to stay quiet. Cause honestly it’s easy to stay quiet and go through it all on your own rather than trying to explain how miserable and helpless you’ve become in front of a sickness. But definitely, everything has its pros and cons, and as they say; “things get better with time”, which I definitely wish for. In a country like Pakistan, without a doubt, it’s a bumpy road to travel through but as always slow and steady wins the race. Just like that every diabetic prays to God; checks their blood sugar level; confirming that it’s fine, goes to sleep, with this hope that someday someone may find a cure and that someone maybe be them.


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