Skip to main content
Home » Managing Illnesses » Chronic Conditions » Finding a New Normal with Type 1 Diabetes
Chronic Conditions

Finding a New Normal with Type 1 Diabetes

Christina Cox Photography

Taylor Efford shares her journey with Type 1 Diabetes, addressing misconceptions, lifestyle changes, mental health, and advocacy.

Q&A bubble
Can you explain a bit about your journey with Type 1 Diabetes?

I was diagnosed in 2020 at the age of 26, so it was quite a shock! It was deep into the pandemic and a lot of my appointments that typically would have been in person were over the phone. It was quite complicated! This disease has a huge learning curve, so it was a rough start for sure. But I was very determined to just keep swimming and find a new normal. The journey has a lot of downs but eventually it led me to advocacy and that has been a fulfilling aspect of the journey. 

Q&A bubble
Have you faced any misconceptions about Type 1 Diabetes? How do you address them on your platform?

There are too many to count! I actually find it surprising how little people know about this disease, and moreover how much it differs from Type 2. We often get lumped together but the two diseases are quite different, and this leads to confusion. I personally try to make content that simply normalizes the disease, and the medical equipment one may choose to wear to navigate it. I like to use humour to address these things, and I try to make the conversation really welcoming because I don’t want to scare people away from asking questions.

Q&A bubble
How do you approach the lifestyle changes that have come with this diagnosis? Any advice for others who may be struggling to make similar adjustments?

I approach the changes with a simple reasoning, either make the change or feel sick, so it’s an easy enough choice. It is not always easy to change your life so much, and I find new things pop up as time goes on and you can feel very burnt out. The best advice I have is to stay present, and not get too overwhelmed by the life sentence of this disease. Just take it day by day and try to outweigh the bad with other things in your life that are positive.

Q&A bubble
How do you prioritize your mental health? Are there any specific practices or techniques you find helpful in navigating this chronic condition?

I am constantly trying to track the effects this disease has had on my mental health. Those first three years after my diagnosis were mainly just survival mode, and I only now feel I’m ready to start healing from the initial traumas of life being flipped upside down. I use humour a lot, but I also try to slowly bring things back into my life from before the diagnosis, things that mattered to me before I got this full-time job of being my own pancreas. I used to really mourn the girl I was before this disease, but as time passes, I see that I can maybe find her again, just in slightly different ways. I think taking time to reflect is key, and in that reflection, find pieces of the old you that were lost that you can still have.

Next article