I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in November 2011 following months of sheer mental and physical torture. I was an exchange student in the United States back then and felt very sick but the doctors didn’t believe me at first, brushing me off telling me it was either the flu or homesickness. It came to the point where I was too weak to even stand up in the shower alone and I decided to fly back home to Germany. I’ve got the treatment and education I needed but those miserable months really affected my mental health and I developed depressions and an anxiety disorder. (You can read the full version of my diagnosis story here: https://www.insulea.de/2018/10/eng-american-doctors-ruined-my-life-my.html) My diagnosis shaped my life in many ways. It painfully made me realize that life is precious and you never know how much time you have left. This made me give myself a promise: living my life by being exactly who I want to be and doing what I love not caring about what society would think of me. My diagnosis and the battles I fought afterwards were a really low point in my life, but my determination and strong willpower helped me overcome my struggles. I now know that I can always lift myself up again. And with that in my mind I started to step up for things that are important to me: Educating and raising awareness about chronic conditions and mental health, about diversity, inclusion and human rights. I’ve been an eager advocate for social justice and equity for as long as I can remember. With my positive mindset and honesty my words catch people and empowers them. I pour my heart out writing about my life with Type 1 Diabetes and all it’s obstacles and I think it’s that vulnerability that makes people listen to me. And I love that I have the opportunity to be a voice for other PWDs and help to shape our future. How do I advocate and raise awareness for Type 1 Diaberes & Mental Health? I write a blog since 2014 about my daily life & obstacles with Diabetes and Mental Health, especially about my former anxiety disorder and depressions. Since 2015 I'm an active author for the German Online Magazine "Blood Sugar Lounge". I regularly attend Conferences and Workshops about Type 1 Diabetes and had the opportunity for some speeches, interviews and even 2 short movies about my life with Diabetes. Last year I attended the European Patient Forum's workshop week with fellow young patient advocates and got the chance to network with people with various chronic conditions. This year I got selected as a Young Leader in Diabetes from the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) and I will immerse myself in projects helping fellow humans with Type 1 Diabetes over the next years. I have a lot of ideas & I'm determined to realize ALL of them!
Lea is a constant source of inspiration for people with diabetes around the globe. She is positive, yet real and she is not afraid to share her own personal story. — Stephanie
I’m a Patient Leader