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An Understanding – Part III

** As part of National Diabetes Awareness Month, I am re-posting a blog I originally wrote on April 20, 2010

As I wrote An Understanding – Part I and Part II, something kept bugging me. I felt like I was missing something, something so important but so seemingly  trivial that I don’t even think of it anymore. I’d covered the daily thoughts, actions, questions and worries.


I think I very briefly mentioned in Part II that diabetes can be a very solitary disease.   There are a number of reasons why this is.

  • There are no “visible” signs that you have a chronic condition
  • There is a social stigma attached to being diabetic
  • Even if someone wants to, no one can really understand the long-term mental wear and tear that is inflicted on us every day (See Parts I & II, yes shameless plug)
  • Finding support can be difficult because the social pressures make people uncomfortable “coming out”
  • Self-image, it is so easy to see yourself as broken somehow
  • Depression.  Diabetes can be a “perfect storm” for depression.  Long-term stress, social stigma, no end to the condition in sight, no one to talk to.  Hell, that would give me depression.  Oh wait, it already did.
  • Medico’s not seeing the results they expect and branding you non-compliant.  You do your best and you’re still a failure.
  • Once you are an adult with diabetes, you’re pretty much on your own.  Just deal with it
  • Not wanting to tell people you are diabetic because you SO do not want to hear about thier second cousin, twice removed on their dad’s side, who died of the sugar diabetes in 1947
  • Feeling guilty about eating
  • Feeling guilty about not being perfect
  • Inevitability of not being perfect

Seriously, the list goes on and on and on.   So we go along inside our defensive shell, carefully choosing who we tell what and always listening for what comments happen behind the scene when we’re not there.

The people who are reading this right now are the ones who have already taken the step to not be isolated any longer.  Even if they are just reading about other diabetics are living day to day, it is an immense help.  Taking that step to post and acknowledge thier diabetes is not easy to do.  You become used to being isolated and opening up, even just a little, allows people to see inside your shell.  You wonder how they will react.

With compassion?  Sympathy?  Blame?  Pity?  Ridicule?  Who knows.  But do you really care?  Seriously, is the opinion of someone else about your condition in anyway more valid or important than your own?  I hope you answered “Hell no!”

How do I react to my condition?  My wins?  My failures?  Am I honest with myself about how it affects me?  How do I perceive it?  How does that affect my outlook on the totality of my life?  Do I give myself a pat on the back when I earned one and a swift kick in the butt when I’ve earned one of those?

There is a saying that perception is reality.  How you perceive a problem will define how you attempt to solve it.    If you perceive yourself as being isolated, how can you know that you are not?

  • Kim

    That list perfectly sums it all up. So glad you reposted this; I hadn’t seen it before! Great post.

  • Very true. How can someone see beyond what they think? Our thoughts define us, not our disease. Such has been the case for me personally, my whole life. Because diabetes is what it is, I have to constantlyyyy keep up my thoughts and some times dig them up lol Yet, often when I feel alone about my diabetes, I remember being a 10 year old, without diabetes, and with the SAME lonliness I have now- which I figure just comes with being different from most people. I’m trying to learn to live with it and to slowly meet new people who get me….hope you’ll check out my blog sometime Scott 🙂 Excellent post! Very thought provoking…

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