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Shared experience

Diabetic Duo on breaking the stigma around type 1 diabetes

Diabetic Duo, Beth McDaniel and Ellen Watson, have been sharing their experiences on social media to help tackle the stigma around type 1 diabetes.

The Diabetic Duo showing their type 1 diabetes technology

When were you both diagnosed with type 1 and could you tell us your diagnosis story?

Beth: I was diagnosed two years ago at age 20. It was a huge shock to my family as we have no family history of type 1 diabetes but as I was displaying all the symptoms I went to the GP and was diagnosed just an hour later!

Ellen: I was diagnosed the week before my seventh birthday; what a lovely present! My mum who is a nurse noticed all of the four T symptoms and brought me to get checked at the hospital. It was difficult to process being so young.

What have been the biggest challenges you have faced since your diagnosis?

Beth and Ellen: As type 1 diabetes needs to be constantly monitored it can be both mentally and physically exhausting. Sometimes we have days where we ask, ‘Why me?’ but it’s important to see the positives.

What’s your favourite thing about creating TikTok videos?

Beth and Ellen: We love our online community who are super supportive and interact with what we post. It’s so refreshing to create content that relates to other people with type 1 who feel the exact same way. We can share tips and tricks and be there to support each other

How have people responded on TikTok to you sharing videos of living with type 1?

Beth and Ellen: We were overwhelmed with the response we got from our videos, others with type 1 were reaching out from across the globe to tell us their stories and share experiences. We have received a very positive response.

What tips would you give to young people who are diagnosed with type 1 and heading to university?

Beth and Ellen: We would recommend that you communicate with your lecturers and course director about your condition and let them know your needs. Also let your new friends know so they know how to help in times of hypos. Remember people want to help and they will be super curious and interested about type 1!

What are your top tips for managing type 1 during holidays?

Beth and Ellen: Don’t beat yourself up if your sugars are a little more unstable during holidays. Time in range can’t always be perfect especially during holidays like Christmas where sweet treats are everywhere!

Do you use type 1 technology? If so, how has it helped with diabetes management?

Beth and Ellen: We both wear the Dexcom G6 continuous glucose monitoring device to help manage our blood sugars. It has been a life changing piece of technology that has improved both our time in range as well as providing constant reassurance that we are in control of our levels.

What would you say to someone with type 1, who’s worried how it will affect their work?

Beth and Ellen: From experience when in a working environment we inform HR, our management and our team exactly what our condition is and how to help in emergencies. This has always led to positive conversations and our work colleagues have always understood if we need additional breaks to treat hypos.

You must have to spend a lot of time on social media – how do you manage your mental health and wellbeing?

Beth and Ellen: Spending hours on social media can really affect your mood. One of our new year’s resolutions is to reduce our screen time! We love to scroll through TikTok but you have to make time for other activities too like socialising with friends, university work and spending time outdoors! We are huge advocates of telling someone how you feel instead of bottling it up.

What’s next for ‘Diabetic Duo’?

Beth and Ellen: We continue to say yes to the fantastic opportunities that come our way while we embark in our final year of university. We love working with incredible companies such as Dexcom, they have changed our lives! Our ultimate dream is to be the female Ant and Dec!

You can see more of Diabetic Duo on their social media channels:

TikTok: @diabeticduo

Instagram: @the_diabetic_duo

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