Challenge for Diabetes Awareness Month: Let’s Stop Pointing the Finger
It’s Diabetes Awareness Month!
I feel like I’ve been on a little marathon with awareness months since September- PCOS then ADHD in October. But here we are- it’s November- World Diabetes Day is around the corner on November 14th. You’ll see the hashtag #NDAM floating around (even though it’s not just national!).
Renza’s post today resonated with me. Who knows how much I’ll do this month- which is okay! I definitely plan to share what others are sharing, but I think that will be my main move this year. World Diabetes Day of course- there will be a lot going on! 🙂
- I’ll be hosting the DSMA WDD Twitter Chat at 1PM EST (come join me!).
- I’ll be attending the T1D Exposed Calendar Release Event & World Diabetes Celebration!
- Plus other things that come up.
But I have an unofficial challenge for us this month and moving forward because- no more pointing the finger.
- Language doesn’t just apply to the specific words we use, but also what we say to other people.
- I talked about this a little bit during diabetes blog week in 2014– the divided nature of the diabetes community.
Let’s stop pointing the finger.
Can we please stop pointing the finger, participating in the blame game, and adding stigma and myths to diabetes?
It is diabetes- all of it. We are stronger together. The type 1 community is only a small fraction of the diabetes community- so there’s a bigger picture at play.
- When something happens in the media, like with Crossfit several years ago, in shows and movies in general, or some of the Starbucks drinks-
- When someone makes an incorrect comment to us about diabetes-
- When we feel judged-
- When someone makes a diabetes joke-
Most of the type 1’s immediately responds- with force and anger. Often, immediately pointing the finger and stating various things-
- Not my diabetes
- That’s type 2 not type 1
- I didn’t cause it
- Type 1 isn’t caused by lifestyle- type 2 is
- I’m not fat
And this list goes on.
I see this happen so much- I see it online and in person. People with diabetes and not. I really see it with the parents of type 1’s and sadly even organizations that people look to for guidance.
Growing up, I would often do the same thing. I felt attacked and angry/resentful. These feelings were focused in the wrong direction- towards diabetes- when it should be the rest of the world. I wasn’t taught any differently, and I didn’t question it. My responses shouldn’t have been what they were, but as I got more involved and left small town GA, I learned and realized the harm my words and some versions of awareness were causing.
To start with, you never know someone’s situation or connection.
We demand respect, correct information, language, and more- but I don’t feel we always give it. We’re quick to judge and react, but not to admit when we are wrong or really think about.
We are adding to the stigma. We are adding to the divides in the community. We are perpetuating incorrect information.
It’s not about walking on eggshells or being “too soft” or “too sensitive”.
Why are we inflicting the blame game and the stigma?
It can go beyond just type 1 vs type 2:
- When someone is different or isn’t doing exactly what you want within the community.
- Recreating the wheel- and wanting our name on it.
- Newer people trying to join in the community.
- Not realizing there are views that aren’t always represented.
- Companies pushing their own agendas (especially during diabetes awareness month).
But my focus is on this divide we keep pushing and reactions that aren’t properly educating the world around us.
So that’s my challenge for myself and my general unofficial challenge-
Can we please stop pointing the finger already?
Instead, let’s be as one and properly educate the world around us.
Hey you! Yes, you!
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