Diabetes Blog Week! The Blame Game


Prompt: Having diabetes often makes a visit to the doctor a dreaded experience, as there is invariably bad news of one kind or another.  And sometimes the way the doctor talks to you can leave you feeling like you’re at fault.  Or maybe you have a fantastic healthcare team, but have experienced blame and judgement from someone else in your life – friend, loved one, complete stranger. Think about a particularly bad instance, how that person talked to you, the words they used and the conversation you had.  Now, the game part.  Let’s turn this around.  If you could turn that person into a puppet, what would you have them say that would leave you feeling empowered and good about yourself?   Let’s help teach people how to support us, rather than blame us!

The holistic health industry is amazing. I love it and most of the people in it, but to be honest, entering it was terrifying. During my very first call with a student coach my fears and worries were solidified. I was entering a world scattered with people who think I did this to myself. 

Counselor: "So excited you've decided to take control of your health!"
Me: "Well, I mean I'm already taking pretty great care of myself, just wanted to work on a few things unrelated to diabetes."
Counselor: "You don't want to get rid of your diabetes? You know you probably have it from eating dairy as a baby. I can give you some great tips!"
Cue the "I have type one, which is actually vastly different from type two, blah, blah, blah..." speech.

Throughout my time in this industry I have come across this quite a bit. Even people in my own life silently judge me sometimes, acting as if I have done this to myself. I'm not going to lie, it still bothers me, and occasionally I still feel the need to defend myself. 

The coach's comments were not only offensive, they scared me. Someone in a position of power, an educator for people interested in health and wellness, was going around further amplifying the stereotypes that follow me, and millions of others, every single day. 

These comments will never stop, but it is our job as diabetics to teach people. Instead of getting offended and sad, realize they are just uneducated on the topic. 

If you are on the other side of the equation, someone who has made comments about diabetes, silently judged someone for being unhealthy, or written about it from an educator standpoint, please make sure you have the full story first. 

A more appropriate response from the coach would have been something like this...

"I understand that you cannot rid yourself of type one diabetes, since it is so vastly different than type two. Obviously changing your diet or adding in some cinnamon isn't going to bring your pancreas back to life, but I'm sure we could work together to make some improvements in other areas!"

If you are ever unsure about something relating to diabetes, ask! Most of us like answering questions! You know what they say about making assumptions...


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