04/19/2016 09:56 am ET Updated Apr 20, 2017

How I Struggled as a Teen With Diabetes

My teenage years were a struggle, to say the least. I was a typical teenager, combating hormones, stress from school, and lack of self-confidence. Then throw diabetes into the mix, and you have yourself a world full of trouble.

Not many of my peers knew I was diabetic. It often took a diabetic incident to occur for others to notice that I had a health condition. I was embarrassed about having diabetes. I thought that I would be made fun of, or be left out.

The only people who were aware of my condition was my family and a select few friends. But it was hard opening up about it. I almost felt like a burden. It's hard not only dealing with the roller coaster ride of diabetes. But having to depend on someone else to look after you, in case something was to happen. That's a lot of trust and responsibility to place on someone.

There was a day that I remember vividly. I was in the 7th grade during a math class. My sugar ended up dropping severely low. The last thing I remember was feeling very tired. Then all of a sudden, I was being placed in an ambulance. The stories I heard was I blacked out and I fell out of my seat. Thankfully, my friend was there to inform others of what was going on.

That's not a normal day for your average teenager. While everyone else my age was going about their day, carefree. I was on the verge of a diabetic episode. I was a brittle, troubled, teenage diabetic, for sure. I wish I could have helped myself then. I didn't know how to take care of myself. I was "taking shots in the dark," shall you say. Hoping for the best.

I couldn't tell you how many times 911 was called after getting home from school. I think the EMTs knew me by name. Insulin can be a deadly weapon if not used properly. I just couldn't get it together. I wanted to just be normal. I honestly felt like I was being defeated.

"At times, I felt like I needed
guidance -- support.

That I was seeking attention -- like a cry for help."

Looking back, I wish I could have taken better care of myself then. There are so many things I would tell myself, that I know now. But with all of my struggles, it's definitely made me a stronger person. I wouldn't be where I am today. I fought hard to get where I'm at. Thankfully, one day I just woke up -- I realized there is a purpose behind this. That this is part of the person that I am. I won't let it define me, but it will help -- better me.

When I was a teenager, I fought so hard against the reality of what I had been faced with. What changed for me, is that I started growing up -- having a family -- seeing all that life has to offer. All the potential that I have to do great things.

Today I'm the healthiest and happiest I've ever been. I feel good about myself, I don't see diabetes as a weakness any longer -- but as a strength. I'm not the ideal "perfect" diabetic -- by no means. But I'm living proof, that diabetes can be controlled. That you can turn your life around. By just believing that you can.

Follow Brittany on her blog at The Diabetic Journey.