I’ve been toying with addressing this for a while, but tonight I feel like I simply cannot keep silent.
I’ve seen many, many tweets, Tumblr graphics, and forum posts from frustrated Type 1s. They are angry, they are embarrassed, they are frustrated. Some even want to change the name of Type 1 diabetes to denote an entirely different disease.
The general public, so quick to comment with little knowledge to back up what they say, fails to acknowledge that there are different types of diabetes. Everyone gets lumped into the “Fatabetic” category of losers who let themselves go and now have to pay the price. The problem?
There is no Type Fatabetic. There is no diabetic who asked for this. No diabetic who brought this upon him or herself simply through an unhealthy lifestyle. And I feel that is a point that both the general public and some Type 1s need to grasp.
Please don’t misunderstand me, I am not saying most Type 1s feel this animosity towards their Type 2 counterparts. In fact, the majority of Type 1s I’ve met (including my wonderful boyfriend) believe that this is a battle we all must fight. But the resentment is out there, and I can’t deny it or ignore it. It is not fair to those of us who, in addition to trying to manage medically, have been trained to feel shame with regard to our disease.
This isn’t your fault.
This is no one’s fault.
As a person who has lived as a Type 2 diabetic for 3 years, I understand all the baggage that comes along with this diagnosis. Doctors who automatically write you off as non-compliant, people who think you spent your entire childhood eating donuts and candy, that somehow you deserve this. I can’t say this enough, nobody deserves this! I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy.
I am sympathetic though. I recently found out that I may not be a Type 2 after my last batch of blood tests. And I am ashamed to admit this, but I felt a tiny twinge of relief. Relief at the idea that maybe, just maybe, I’ll be a type of diabetic where people didn’t think I did something to myself. A relief from the stigma. A relief from people thinking my disease isn’t that hard to deal with. I would be taken seriously.
But here’s the thing, we are a community of individuals who need, and deserve each other’s love and support. We all know the daily war we wage against our own bodies. The frustration of the unexpected high or low, the ball and chain attached to every moment of the day.
I’m sorry, truly, that many of you feel that you are being unfairly judged for your diabetes because you are categorized incorrectly. I understand what it feels like to be wrongly judged and blamed for a disease that people assume should only strike the “fat” and “lazy” and “unhealthy”. You’re put into a box that nobody ever wants.
Except, in my case that box was my reality. I bought into it. And it ruined me for a long time.
The next time you have to deal with that frustrating outsider who has no idea what you’re going through, please remember that we are in this together.
You are not alone.
And, I can’t say this enough:
This is not your fault.