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© 2015 Scott Strange, Strangely Diabetic and

When I posted last (Semicolons), I remarked how hard it was for me to actually push the publish button and that resistance has bothered me.

I first read about the Semicolon Project in June and I found it very intriguing and started thinking about getting one of those tattoos. It nagged at me all summer and finally became somewhat of a compulsion. It was a little after lunch one day when I committed to getting one and had it done right after work.

I really haven’t explained to anyone what it symbolizes and I find myself very hesitant to do so,  avoiding any questions about it from family and friends. And it is for a single, sad reason that I have done so.

I must admit that I still consider my depression is a personal weakness, a character flaw.

I touched on this a little with a post after the 2014 MedX conference where I described that I didn’t feel worthy being on the same stage as those with chronic physical pain. What I really need to express, I believe, is how prevalent and powerful the stigma of any mental illness is. And how it was still deeply ingrained in my persona despite how much I have written about it and how deeply personal some of those public posts have been. (You should see the ones I haven’t hit publish on.)

There’s a lot of anonymity when you are safely typing behind the keyboard. On the MedX panels, I was more exposed, but there is still a huge difference between talking to people about depression and talking with them about mine. But I think I held back because I really didn’t want people to know how weak I was.

There arises my dilemma, saying to myself and others that mental illness is not a weakness but instead a medical condition no different from any other chronic illness but then not truly believing that somewhere deep inside.

Someplace I didn’t really know, or admit to myself maybe, I needed to look. And when I did?  I really didn’t like what I saw looking back at me.

I think that this is one of the reasons I had pulled so far back from my advocacy activities.  It wasn’t that I’ve lost my passion as much as it was deciding if I was really going to do more than give lip service to what I was professing.

This is something of a major internal battle for me, trying to root out a long-standing, deeply held belief that stigmatized mental illness. Actually getting that tattoo forced this battle into the forefront of my mind, helping me understand that the war inside my head for my heart and soul is still being fought.

© 2015 Scott Strange, Strangely Diabetic and


** I have never had as much trouble hitting the publish button on a post like I’ve had with this one.  I’m don’t understand why, but I’m sure it has something to do with making one of my invisible illnesses a bit more visible. And remembering the times I wanted to stop, probably should have stopped… and didn’t

© 2015 Scott Strange, Strangely Diabetic and


Learn more about the Semicolon Project

© 2015 Scott Strange, Strangely Diabetic and


Hello everyone, Strangely Diabetic is shuttering its doors for the foreseeable future.  I’ll lurk around here and there so just consider this a sabbatical

Thanks for everyone’s kind support!



I’ve written before about the shame I used to feel about having survived so long with Type 1 diabetes. Surviving while basically ignoring it for 4 decades. Surviving while so many didn’t or who’ve developed complications and worked so much harder at it than I did.

But that is a personal shame, one that I put on myself.  The one I want to talk about today is one that people seem to inflict upon others without second thought. And I will personally accept the thoughts that this post itself is shaming. But guess what, I don’t care. No type of political correctness can excuse what happened.

Several other bloggers have written about the Cross Fit debacle. That debacle then devolved into a second debacle where many Type 1 diabetics/caregivers actually joined forces with Cross Fit and started shaming the Type 2 community, which is part of my  community of diabetics.

That last statement is not because I am a double diabetic, type 1 since 1970 and being treated for Type 2 since 2008. It is a part of my overall health just like Type 1, depression, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, essential tremors and a humble-yet-always-correct-opinion.

It was shaming, shaming someone because of their health. It made me embarrassed for our entire community.

How many caregivers rebel against uneducated comments about “mommy must have given that poor child too much sugar”?  The exact message cross fit fired you up about? Well, you did the exact same goddamn thing to the Type 2 community and you should be ashamed of that. You know who you are, don’t bother trying to justify your behavior. There is no excuse for bullying.

There was another example of this very recently, Jim Carey’s response to California’s recent legislation on vaccinations (legislation I happen to agree with) where he shamed parents of any child with autism who had vaccinations as a child. He blamed the parents for their child’s health, in effect saying they caused their child to have autism.

T1 folks? Paying attention? Would you accept someone saying you caused your child’s diabetes.? There is really no difference between that and shaming the T2 community and blaming the person for having T2.

Yes the person, did you forget there is a person in the picture there?

But do you know what is really sad? The effect that those types of comments can have. People are already afraid to discuss their health since our culture is so quick to stigmatized and marginalize anyone considered “vulnerable” or “weak”. There are always playground bullies and the Internet is the biggest playground ever.

People become afraid to seek peer support, the very support we all extol as being so critical and a crucial part of any treatment regimen.

Diabetes and autism are not the only places this happens.  I’ve heard comments from someone I’ve always considered, and still do, as an incredible healthcare advocate about not having any sympathy for lung cancer patients. Are these people simply not worth the same compassion that people with other health conditions have? What’s the difference between lung cancer and Type 2 diabetes in that context?  How about cancer and Type 1? Or cancer and depression?


How about mental health? The stigma says I’m weak. The roadblocks in finding treatment say I’m not worthy of receiving treatment.

And those stigmas and roadblocks apply to any health condition. Any. Of. Them.

You want to really improve health? Want to see lower, honest costs? Then help people find the care they need to be healthy and stop shaming people for bring human.

Guess what?

I am a clinically depressed, Type 2 diabetic.

Think I’m not worth it?

Think it’s all my fault, that I chose this?

Think I’m weak?

Think patients are weak?

Bring it.

© 2014 Scott Strange, Strangely Diabetic and

© 2014 Scott Strange, Strangely Diabetic and

It's Been A While

Actually, it’s been a damn long while since I posted anything here. Good things are happening advocacy wise, I was named to the 2014 Medicine X Honor Roll and I’ll be part of a panel discussion on patient generated data at Health Datapalooza in May. The kind folks over at DSMA Live invited me over for a chat on April 2 and I’ll also be returning to Palo Alto this September as a Medicine X ePatient Scholar for 2015, doing an Ignite speech this time around.

Since I attended Medicine X last fall, I really haven’t had the urge to post anything. Does this mean I’m done blogging and advocating? I don’t know… I sometimes wonder if I feel like I’ve accomplished something. Just wish I knew what the hell it was.

One of my main topics has always been depression and chronic illnesses, especially diabetes. About how we simply can’t successfully treat one without treating the other. In the past year, that topic has taken a much more prominent spot in conversations taking place. This is fantastic to see and what is even better is that many of these voices are louder and more influential than I. Maybe I feel that I no longer need to carry that flag as much.

I recently attended the inaugural Diabetes Unconference which, by the way, is a lot like HIPAA because I can’t tell you. Or maybe it’s a little more Taoist as he who tells was not there and he who was there cannot tell…

But anyway, the main reason I went was to see if I could sort some of this crap in my head. It really didn’t help much though I did really enjoyed being there with such fantastic people and catching up with old friends and meeting new ones.

I think part of the issue involves how I’ve felt about things in general lately. I’m feeling a lot more comfortable in my own skin. Maybe, somewhere along the way, I’ve found some type of closure with all the guilt, shame and other baggage that I’ve dragged around all these decades.

I’ve also found myself being a lot more judicious with my energy, saying ‘no’ more often and trying to be mindful about day-to-day situations, actively deciding what thought or emotion was going to get dealt with now and which ones can wait until I decide to deal with them later.

Being a caregiver is still a burden at times, but I seem to be able to cope better most days. Depression is still a weight I drag around and I suspect I always will, some days it just weighs a lot less than it does on other days.

I guess I just don’t feel the need to be as loud a voice, at least for myself. But I’ve also written for those who either aren’t as comfortable with their own skin yet or are yet to come. So what should I do? I simply don’t feel the passion I used to have about all this, but who knows?

I sure has hell don’t.

© 2015 Scott Strange, Strangely Diabetic and

© 2014 Scott Strange, Strangely Diabetic and