We Are Diabetes is an organization primarily devoted to promoting support and awareness for type 1 diabetics who suffer from eating disorders. We are dedicated to providing guidance, hope and resources to those who may be struggling, as well as to their families and loved ones.
We Are Diabetes also advocates for living well and living strong with type 1 diabetes. The daily challenges of living with this disease, as well as the emotional and financial toll it takes, can oftentimes result in a sense of defeat or isolation. We help those who feel alone in their chronic illness find hope and courage to live healthy, happy lives!
If you or someone you know is a type 1 diabetic who is struggling with an eating disorder and are seeking support, or if you have any other questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to reach out to us.
News and Updates
December 01, 2015
Supporting Someone You Love Who is Struggling with ED-DMT1
Thoughts from We Are Diabetes Executive Director Asha Brown:
Having an all consuming addiction like an eating disorder means that you don't have to worry about all of the hundreds of things one must think about on a daily basis when living with T1D; your focus is solely on your eating disorder. This provides a false sense of comfort and security to a person who normally has to adjust, adapt, change and re-evaluate on a constant basis every single day. When a person with T1D who is actively struggling with an eating disorder is finally at the point where they can see the physical and emotional destruction that their eating disorder has created, and know that they need help, many stay silent due to the fear of how their families and healthcare team might respond.
The guilt and shame that these individuals feel is overwhelming. It was that very shame, and fear of my family's reactions that kept me silent for ten years. I knew what I was doing was dangerous, but I did it anyway. I could imagine my endo yelling at me and listing off all the complications I had given myself and admonishing me for being vain. I felt like the worst person in the world and I didn't want to hear other people confirming that.
Providers and families need the education and the resources to properly channel their concerns (and we can help to provide those resources). They should not be directing those strong emotions towards the person who is struggling. The individuals who silently struggle with ED-DMT1 needs to know that when they are ready to share the truth about what they have been battling, they will be met with kindness, compassion and empathy.
If an individual with ED-DMT1 is asking for help they already realize that the thing that they have been relying on for a sense of control and order is ruining their life. They KNOW the consequences of their actions and they don't need to hear it again. What they need is for their loved ones and their providers to listen; without judgement, and without a horrified look on their face.
We Are Diabetes offers a number of resources for our clients who need help finding support from their families and friends. We have a section dedicated to providing clear information as to how to communicate with a person who is struggling with ED-DMT1. We offer scripts to our clients who are finding it difficult to communicate with their families, friends and healthcare team. We also spend a lot of time working one on one, not only with the individual who is struggling, but also with their families. An eating disorder affects the entire family and we’ve observed that when the entire family educates themselves on how to support their loved one who is struggling, the potential for a strong recovery is much higher.
Announcing the 2nd Annual College Diabetes Week Hosted By CDN!
CDN (College Diabetes Network) is hosting it's second annual College Diabetes Week next week! Over 30 college campuses will be participating November 9th-13th. Each day of College Diabetes Week will have a theme that the chapters across the country will be participating in.
To read more about this important event check out this blog written by University of Rochester's CDN Vice President Morgan Kath. To join in the fun visit CDN's Blog for updates through the week!
We Are Diabetes Executive Director Asha Brown, and Executive Assistant Amy Gabbert are hosting two opportunities for support during one of the most stressful times of year: the Holidays! Any T1D knows it can be tough to keep blood sugars stable with the abundance of holiday parties, bolus-worthy treats, and changes in schedules. A T1D struggling to maintain their recovery from an eating disorder may find this time of year even more difficult, and it's not uncommon for periods of relapse to occur during this time of year.
WAD wants to support our community members in recovery in every way possible, and we would love to have you join us at one of these live Google Hangout groups! To RSVP email firstname.lastname@example.org with the date you plan to join us, or connect with Asha on Google Plus and let her know you want an invite to the event!
With Halloween right around the corner, and Thanksgiving not far behind, it's important for us to address a very important topic that cannot be avoided when you live with T1D: Diabetes and Food. Many of the individuals who seek one on one support from our team are striving to repair a damaged relationship with eating and their diabetes management, and it's not an easy journey. We want to focus on this topic for the next few months in a variety of ways, starting with this introductory article written by Mark Heyman.
Mark believes that addressing psychological health is a critical, and oftentimes missing piece of the diabetes management puzzle. When Mark was diagnosed with diabetes in 1999, he was frustrated by the lack of resources available to help people navigate the behavioral and emotional challenges of living with diabetes. Now as a diabetes psychologist, Mark is committed to tackling these complex issues by providing education and evidence-based clinical treatment to people with diabetes, cutting-edge training to health care providers, and innovative program development and strategic consulting services to the diabetes business community.
Mark’s specialized behavioral health treatment for people living with diabetes (both type 1 and type 2) is available to any PWD (person with diabetes) in the state of California! He works with patients at his private practice, located in Solana Beach, CA (just north of San Diego), as well as through a secure video connection.
CDMH trains healthcare providers on the psychosocial, emotional and behavioral aspects of diabetes. Training can be delivered in-person or virtually by phone or videoconference, and can be tailored to meet specific needs. In addition, CDMH offers ongoing clinical consultation to support healthcare providers in meeting their patients’ mental health needs.
The supposed hallmark of eating disorder recovery is "coming to terms" with one's body (what does that even mean?) and loving your body, flaws and all. I think this is a admirable goal, but for most people living in a society immersed in weight preoccupation, this goal is likely unattainable. It also may not be a necessary ingredient for eating disorder recovery. I think there can be unwarranted pressure from loved ones and professionals on eating disordered individuals to reach a certain level of body satisfaction in order to be recovered. If you admit there's a day or time in which you are not thrilled with your appearance or shape, there is concern your recovery is compromised.
Despite being in recovery for several years, I don't jump for joy at the sight of my thighs. Cultivating a more positive body image may have helped me get past the initial hurdles of recovery but body love wasn't the catalyst that helped me create a life without an eating disorder. I don't dismiss the theory of loving your body entirely, but my focus is not loving my body. I much prefer the concept of body neutrality, as Melissa Fabello discusses here.
I don't actively hate my body. I just concentrate on what I can do to feel good and healthy. Do I need to drink more water? Is this outfit comfortable and does it suit my tastes? Where is my blood sugar at? It seems like a simple approach, but it took many years and a lot of practice to get to this place. I don't find it constructive to force myself to think positively about my body, nor do I find it necessary to do so in order to validate my recovery. My goal is body neutrality, and I am content with that.
We’re so excited to be able to share some of the highlights from our presentation at AADE15! We were in one of the larger lecture halls, so please keep that in mind as this was recorded with a cell phone (thank you, Christel Aprigliano).
The portion we have chosen to highlight was our performance-based introduction. We found that the audience responded better to it than we had initially hoped. Our unique approach toward sharing insight about what goes on inside the head of someone struggling with ED-DMT1, and on how to effectively communicate with a patient you suspect might be struggling with ED-DMT1, were very well appreciated and we spent quite a long time after our presentation receiving many animated “thank yous” from the health care professionals in attendance!
We want to thank all of our donors for the generous contributions given for our fundraising efforts to send us to AADE! The trip was highly successful, and our presentation was very well received. Founder and Executive Director Asha Brown, along with co-presenter Marcia Meier had the opportunity to be interviewed for two endocrinology publications, and had many engaging conversations with CDE’s who watched our presentation. Having this very serious topic addressed at an AADE conference is a huge achievement in our overall mission to spread awareness and effectively educate, and we couldn't have done it without our supportive community!
We're working on a small video that shares highlights of our presentation, stay tuned!
Dr. Ann E. Goebel-Fabbri is Seeking Participants for a Book About Recovery from ED-DMT1!
We are thrilled to share the news that our friend Dr. Ann is working on a book about recovery from ED-DMT1! Below is a statement from Ann on the specifics of her study, and details on the qualifications needed for those who wish to participate:
My name is Dr. Ann Goebel-Fabbri, and I am a psychologist and an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. My research and clinical work has focused on the issue of eating disorders and type 1 diabetes for over 15 years.
I am recruiting women who identify themselves as recovered from eating disorders in type 1 diabetes – sometimes called “Diabulimia.” My goal is to gain your insight about what you believe originally put you at risk and what helped you in your recovery. I see you as the experts, who have much to teach clinical providers about how to create more effective treatments. Your experiences and ideas will be the basis for a book on this important topic.
Participation will involve completing a brief online questionnaire and a recorded phone interview. All information will be kept strictly confidential. Once it is completed, you will receive a copy of the book (digital or paper) as my way of thanking you for generously volunteering your time.
Participants must be women who have had both type 1 diabetes and an eating disorder for at least one year each. Not all women with T1DM and eating disorders restrict insulin, but the book will focus on those who did restrict insulin as one of their eating disorder symptoms.
Defining recovery remains an ongoing discussion in the eating disorders literature. For this book, recovery will be defined as: 1) consistently taking appropriate insulin doses, 2) not engaging in rigid dieting, over-exercise, or intentionally keeping blood glucose high, 3) eating in a flexible and healthy way most of the time, and 4) not acting on eating disorder thoughts and feelings even if you still experience them.
If you have questions or are interested in participating, please contact me at email@example.com.
The material on this website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to constitute or be a substitute for medical advice from a qualified medical or mental health professional. The individuals associated with We Are Diabetes are not medical or mental health professionals. We Are Diabetes does not endorse any specific treatment centers, physicians, healthcare providers, mental health professionals, tests, products, services, procedures, opinions, or other information that are mentioned on the web site.
Always consult your physician or other qualified healthcare or mental health provider for advice, diagnosis and treatment of any health-related matter, including relating to diabetes and/or eating disorders. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.