I have known type one for my whole life. Well, the life that I can remember. I was diagnosed aged 2 years, 11 months and 19 days, to be precised. At that point, all my parents knew of type one was the existence of it; they did not know any other type ones (except for a footballer whose name I can't remember, who gave me a signed picture of him many years ago).
So: off we tootled on a few British Diabetic Association (now Diabetes UK) holidays, through which I became a member of the 'Tadpole Club'. I had a jumper and I wore it proudly! I met other type ones there, but, as I sometimes feel now - being as I had not (in my eyes) experienced a life without type one, I did not know a life with type one. I was just who I was, type one was part of me, it wasn't something extra. I hope that makes sense!
Anyway, that ultimately left me feeling as though I had not connected with anyone there, and thus I did not sustain any real friendships.
Until about a year ago, when I joined the fantastic Diabetes Support Forums. Finally, I met people that had type one as long (and longer!) than me. I found a connection in some people that means more than I can possibly explain words.
Now I feel like I have a group of wonderful, amazing, supportive, caring friends who care because they know. I don't have to try to explain my frustrations - they know exactly what I am talking about. They are my safety net.
I'd like to point out that they are friends not only are they people with type one, but also because they are just wonderful people. I do have my own little theory that all type ones are resilient, understanding people - partly because they have to be, and partly because they have learnt to be (that's not to say they weren't resilient and understand pre-type one!)
Because I am type one, I have sought out other type ones. I have read blogs and websites and forums and countless articles about type one. I finally feel slightly at peace with this condition, because I know that I am not alone. I know I have amazing people to talk to when I just want to give up. I have friends.