DBlog Week Day 3: Words, Words, Words

If there’s one thing that’s a sure bet with diabetes, it’s that some people feel the need to comment on your lifestyle choices after you reveal your diagnosis. While it doesn’t happen to everyone every time, it happens often enough for us to make memes about it- so yeah, pretty often!

When people talk about these experiences, they highlight them as offensive, insensitive- implying that they caused their disease when they should have known better, and making comments like “I could never give myself shots every day!”

I find it hard to blame people for some of these comments; after all, very little has been done to dispel old myths about type 1, and the diagnosis and treatment of type 2 have become more prominent in the media. Type 1 is covered much less often, so it makes sense that people equate “I have diabetes” with what they know about diabetes from the news.

But first and foremost, even before it’s offensive, commenting on someone’s lifestyle choices IS RUDE. I’m not offended when someone is surprised that I’m “so thin for a diabetic” or assumes that I can’t eat anything with sugar, but I am frustrated that people think that it’s okay to comment on other people’s choices, and make assumptions without knowing the circumstances. Making comments about the lifestyle choices of people without health complications is not considered acceptable; why does a diabetes diagnosis reverse this attitude?

In regards to how we speak about ourselves and our diabetes management- everyone has their own “dialect” of diabetes lingo. “Check” vs. “test,” “dose” vs. “bolus”- each person learned these terms a different way, and has their own preferences. The use of “diabetic” versus “person with diabetes” has gotten a lot of attention, and most people strongly prefer one or the other. While I wouldn’t use “person with diabetes” to describe myself- I feel like it’s a mouthful- I do see the benefit of using a term that separates the person from the diabetes. For me, that’s “I have diabetes” or “he/she has diabetes.” I have no problem referring to myself as “diabetic” but for some reason I’m less comfortable when other people refer to me that way. I’m not really sure why- still figuring that out.

In short- think before you speak, and no matter how we talk about our insulin/blood sugar testing, we’re all still talking about diabetes!

(Although- does everyone say “I’m high/low”? That one seems pretty universal to me!)

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