At some point a person with diabetes will *probably* experience that one person without diabetes who insists that they must have either done something wrong to get diabetes, or is failing to do something at the moment to “reverse” it.
This is especially common amongst us Type 2s, considering how much negative press we get about our disease.
You don’t think I’d want to “reverse” this if it were possible? Well, no shit Sherlock, I’d obviously do that if it were an option. For now I’m just trying to get as tight control as possible without going bananas in grad school. Which is way harder than you’d think.
If you’ve ever experienced this, likely you’ve wanted toss a brick or something their way. Maybe one of those hard bricks of brown sugar, just to drive your point home.
But, obviously we can’t wander around throwing things at people who are insensitive and all around so, SO aggravating about what they say to us, so we have to mentally figure out how to process these kinds of encounters.
So here are my thoughts.
Those who are public about their diabetes risk blame and shame as people typically associate the word “diabetes” with “fat”, “lazy”, and “candy bars”.
Now, I can’t speak for Type 1s so my experiences will be more Type 2 specific. Also, Type 2 development can be influenced by lifestyle, so in general I feel like people who say these things to Type 1s are still targeting us, but are just so uninformed that they don’t know that there are different types of diabetes.
Anyway, as a person who is open about having Type 2, I have had several experiences where I’ve had to explain and defend myself: my eating habits, my weight struggles, my exercise regimen. You know, because that is TOTALLY their business.
And I’ve come to the conclusion that at the base of blame is fear.
Yes, that’s right, fear.
People want, no, NEED to believe that you caused this in some way. They need to believe (whether they admit it or not) that there must have been something you did, and that’s why your life is so much more complicated and sharp, pokey thing-filled than theirs. Why? Because they want to think they’re doing everything right. And if you do everything right, you don’t get type 2 diabetes.
“Well, I eat fruits and vegetables,” they say. “Well, I don’t GO to fast food places, and I exercise.” And they don’t want to entertain the possibility that sometimes your body just craps out, and you’re left with a disease that is at best tolerable, at worst a huge PITA and a heavy weight tied to every moment of the day. Forever.
And you know what, fine. If they need to think that, that’s their business and I could squawk at them all day long about not blaming the patient or the actual science, and deep down they’re still going to be like, “Yeah, wellll…you’re fat and diabetic so I don’t really believe what you’re saying, okay?”
And at some point, you need to know when to shut it down, because in the end it doesn’t matter what these people think. These people are not in control of your spirit or your happiness. So don’t let them be.
At least, I’m going to try not to.