Monday, May 1, 2017

We Deserve a Safe Space

Almost three years ago I created a support group called T1 Empowerment this group was made for teen girls living with diabetes. The reason I created this group was because I felt the need to give back to the diabetes community.  I was diagnosed in 2009 and was so fortunate to be introduced to people living with diabetes almost immediately, I was put into contact with Connected in Motion - which is an excellent organization for people living with diabetes.

I strongly believe that being connected to others with diabetes is so, so important. Having a space to speak, heal, scream, vent, laugh and cry is so important.  I wanted to create connections among peers living with diabetes, that would last forever. Connections that when people left the group, they still had that support. They had someone to text, snapchat or hang out with. I wanted those bonds to happen naturally, but also catered in a way that would make sense and make sure even those that are too shy to speak out, or reach out, still had a voice.

This is a difficult task because working alongside teen girls living with chronic conditions isn't always easy.  I am almost twenty-seven years old and times have changed a lot, the way we connect and the fast pace of everything around us.  There is peer pressure in schools more than ever to look 25 when you're only 15 and to get as many LIKES as you can on every social media platform. Everything has a filter now and I don't mind filtering through what is acceptable and not, but a filter that fogs what life is actually like and about. Those girls that are dealing with a chronic illness don't always have the time to focus on life as a teenager, nor have the empathetic understanding from their peers to be open and honest when they're struggling.

I can only hope that in communities everywhere, people are reaching out and connecting to one another.  Just a simple "I get it" to bring it all in.  We all deserve that safe space. 


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