Survivor’s Guilt

Earlier today I saw a post in one of the diabetes groups I’m in, and it struck a chord with me.

A lot of the general ignorance of type 1 diabetes doesn’t phase me anymore. I’ve become so numb to the harmful (and completely misguided, ill-informed jokes) that they just roll off of me now.

But this got to me.

The post was an article about the ever-rising price of insulin. Someone had left a comment on the post and the mom of a type 1 kid screenshotted it and shared it in the group I’m in.


Immediately, my stomach lurched and I wanted to cry.

A thousand thoughts rushed through my mind – familiar thoughts that I’ve had many times before, but that doesn’t make them any less troubling.

What if I’m meant to be sick?

What if I’m meant to die?


Survivor’s guilt. It isn’t something that is openly discussed in the Diabetic Online Community. At least, not that I’ve seen. So here I am, proclaiming it – I deal with survivor’s guilt over my diagnosis.

Before 1921 when Dr. Frederick Banting and Charles Best discovered insulin, every single person with type 1 diabetes died. Every. Single. One. At most, they could live a few months post-diagnosis – but it was more of a shell of a life, an existence spent in ungodly suffering from the havoc high blood sugars can cause.

Is my life greater than any of theirs?

What about the people who are on insulin but still pass away due to dead in bed or other complications of diabetes? Or the ones who are misdiagnosed and die.

I shouldn’t be alive. I suffered under misdiagnosis for five months. I should have complications. But I don’t. Why? Were those people somehow less deserving of life than I am?

Is it destined that only the richest of the rich will be able to afford insulin and the rest of us will wither away? If you look on the streets, that’s already the case. Diabetic homeless people die every day because they do not have access to insulin. Are their lives of less worth than mine?

I don’t write this to incite pity, but rather to just air my feelings out. I can’t help that I feel this way, and living in denial of what I’m dealing with will only make things more difficult for me. As someone who already suffers from Seasonal Affective Disorder, I don’t need anything else messing with my mind.

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2 Comments

Filed under Real life, Support system

2 responses to “Survivor’s Guilt

  1. I feel survivors guilt when I think about how lucky I am to be born in Australia. Even in comparison to the US, we have it so much better and it is so much cheaper and easier to access insulin. I have survivors guilt because I was born in Australia, and not in an African country, or Thailand, or any other country where Type 1 might still mean a death sentence.

  2. I so feel this, too. Once in high school a friend joked that if this were Survival of the Fittest, I’d be losing. That has always stuck with me- how lucky we are to have insulin, but why us? Why were we born at this time? Great post, especially in the inundation of diabetes awareness month stuff. Our community needs to consider this more often.

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