I’m a little fed up and let me tell you why.
Being a person with diabetes is already difficult on the day to day. All of the things you must remember, the bags you must carry, the shots you can’t forget to take, the medications that seem like they aren’t going to stop. The days where you just want to throw your arms up and scream because you did everything you could, but nothing will get your blood sugar on target.
I’m more fed up because having diabetes comes with all kinds of judgment. It is frequently misunderstood and often times, I hear people say things like “do you have the bad kind of diabetes?” or “OMG if I eat this much candy I’m going to get diabetes!” I hear things even from other people with diabetes who will say “No, I don’t have that kind of diabetes” about Type 2.
This has to stop. In my lifetime, I hope that I’ll see more people who understand what this illness truly is. I hope that I’ll see more people take it seriously. I hope that I’ll never have to correct anyone again. But right now, it’s a part of the struggle.
To be completely fair, there are people who just don’t know what it’s like, but their questions are genuine and they have a willingness to learn. There are also people who don’t want to and leave it up to you to teach them, and still, they decide that it’s not worth learning about.
Flat out, when you get that diagnosis, it sucks. There few ways to make it better. One of the things you need most is support. You need people who, whether they understand it or not, will ask meaningful questions and back you up. Not make jokes and poke fun.
It. Just. Sucks. But you know what sucks even more? Judgment.
It sucks when someone who doesn’t know you says things like “oh you shouldn’t be eating ice cream!” Because yes I can eat ice cream. I can’t eat a tub of it, but a couple of bites every few months isn’t going to kill me.
It sucks when someone tells a joke about diabetes, and it sucks, even more, when they think it’s funny enough to say out loud.
It sucks when people don’t realize how serious it is to be diabetic, and they brush it off as if it’s not something that takes over every minute of your whole life.
Many people with the illness make the best of it as often as we possibly can. We learn to take care of ourselves, we seek out others for support, we find methods of coping because we know that it’s what we have to do to get through each hour of the day. We train our families on what to do if an emergency happens.
Some of us put it out front – not in a way that defines who we are, but in a way that makes people pay attention to how strong we are and how much we deal with on a daily basis.
But it is one of the worst feelings when someone casts a judgment about a body they don’t have to live in.
Every day since I was diagnosed two years ago, I have struggled. I’ve struggled with food as an emotional crutch, waking up early to work out, high blood sugars, low blood sugars, needles, needles and more needles, getting used to blood and pinches, feeling like I’ve failed and lost confidence. I know it’s not my fault, and even though I can chant that to myself over, and over, the moment I feel like I can start to climb the mountain again, someone comes and pushes me off with a judgment.
So, the next time you want to judge someone with diabetes, or anyone honestly, think about this: what if someone scrutinized you for something you couldn’t help, something you couldn’t change? What if you were trying your very best every single day, but all you heard was negative comments about your life.
You get back what you give to this world. So give good things. Be kind to people. You never know where someone else is struggling.