Shazia is 31 years old and lives with her parents and two younger sisters in Glasgow. She is currently on a break from studying pharmacology at university.
Shazia lives with insulin-dependent diabetes (Type 1), which was diagnosed 21 years ago.Â Her two sisters also live with this condition.Â It has proved hard to bring Shaziaâ€™s diabetes under control and it continues to cause her ongoing problems.
In addition to diabetes, Shazia lives with osteoporosis, a condition she developed as a result of experiencing severe clinical depression following two family bereavements when she was 18.Â While depressed, Shazia did not eat or drink, which led to severe weight loss and a loss of calcium in her bones.
Earlier in 2010, Shazia was eventually diagnosed with an overactive thyroid after experiencing chest pains, fast heart palpitations, weight loss and a rash on her body.Â The diagnosis came only after Shazia insisted that her blood be checked.Â She did not accept the doctorâ€™s view that the rash was associated with problems controlling diabetes and that she was too young to have chest pains arising from heart problems.
Shazia has problems with her memory.Â She attributes this in part to her history of depression and in part to her thyroid condition.
What self management means for Shazia
Given the difficulties in controlling her diabetes, for Shazia self management means monitoring her blood levels and then deciding whether she needs insulin and, if so, how much.
For me, self management gives me independence.
Shazia administers from 4 up to 7 insulin injections daily if need be.Â If her blood sugar drops through the night resulting in a seizure, her sister alerts the family so that they can balance her sugar level again.
Shazia is on a large amount of medication.Â To counter her memory problems, she takes as many as she can last thing at night.Â She has built this into her bedtime routine, making it less likely that sheâ€™ll forget to take her medication.
You get your input from doctors when you need it, and then you can manage your condition in your own way for what suits you.
Shazia uses a diary to help her plan and make sure she does not forget things.Â She also enlists the help of her family, telling them about important appointments and putting notes on the fridge for everyone to see.
Shazia spent 6-7 months in a Priory clinic when she had severe depression.Â There she learned cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).Â She sometimes finds herself using CBT tools to help her self manage.
Shazia works part time in a pharmacy.Â She enjoys being at work and feels that this helps her self manage.Â Even when she is not feeling well or is in pain, work helps her to feel better.
Because Shaziaâ€™s mother and sisters also have long term conditions, they can support each other and share experiences of whatâ€™s working for each of them.
When Shazia experiences low mood, she does things that she knows will help lift her.Â Sometimes shopping or going out for a walk helps, even though walking is not easy for her.Â Shazia also really enjoys Asian music.Â Putting on upbeat music to dance to often makes her feel better.
Self management is about trying to do what you can to feel happy.Â You know what makes you happy, so you should do it.
Shazia is involved in Diabetes UK advisory groups because she wants to help other people, particularly those from minority ethnic communities.Â She helped Diabetes UK produce a leaflet on diabetes and depression, and has participated in talks for Diabetes UK and LTCAS as well as other organisations.