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Shared experience

What would I do in a zombie apocalypse?

Temi Olonisakin has been living with type 1 for 12 years. A doctor herself, she shares what she’s learned about managing type 1 diabetes and her emotional wellbeing.  
Content last reviewed and updated: 18.03.2024

Temi Olonisakin smiling at the camera over her shoulder with her continuous glucose monitor visible.

I’ve ended up making true lifelong friends who have diabetes. We go to lunches, we hang out and we talk about everything under the sun, diabetes and otherwise. You learn that there is no thought that you’ve ever had that someone else with type 1 hasn’t had.

I had always had this thought about how I would survive if we ended up in a zombie apocalypse. How would I get insulin and store it? It was something I couldn’t express to my family or friends. One day I was in an online chat and someone said that they always had the same thought.

Suddenly I had a group of people telling me that they were thinking the same as me. Even little things like that can make a really big difference.

Talking therapies

I would recommend NHS talking therapies. I tried out NHS talking therapies because they are free and if you have a chronic condition, there are specific therapies for you.

The one I went on was once a week for six weeks. It was a great gateway into therapy for me and it pushed me to want to continue. I think that type 1 diabetes affects every single aspect of your life, so why not find someone to talk to about it, someone who is impartial and is trained to help you with these issues?

Burnout

Burnout is something I’ve experienced a few times in my life. I think that the reason for them was different in each time. When I was at university and not taking very good care of myself, I think the burnout came from my physical health not being good.

The burnout I had post-covid was because I was focusing too much on my diabetes, trying to get it super perfect, trying to make sure I never had a hypo, never went high. I think that we as people with type 1 can put so much pressure on ourselves. It’s a 24/7 condition. We get no pay, we get no annual leave and really we get no thanks.

I found that reducing the number of times I checked my CGM in a day helps me when I’m experiencing burnout, or setting really small goals that aren’t too overwhelming. So, say that I want to try and reduce the number of night time hypos I’m having this week, I’ll focus on that.

Whatever happens in the day happens in the day. But if I focus on making sure I go to bed with a blood glucose level I’ve aimed for, then that’s a goal I can be proud of.

Type 1 diabetes is a journey

We have to be easy on ourselves. Type 1 is an ongoing journey. Not only are our sugar levels high and low, we will have high and low moments in life. Nothing in this world can be perfect and you certainly can’t be perfect when you’re trying to be an entire organ yourself.

We should all be really proud of what we’re doing. Being a part of a community is always better than being alone. Finding the community has filled me with so much joy, and I didn’t realise that I needed people with diabetes around me.

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