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Shame

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?

None.

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 http://StrangelyDiabetic.com

© 2014 Scott Strange, Strangely Diabetic and http://StrangelyDiabetic.com

  • Twice Diabetes

    What I find enormously frustrating is that groups like the IDF basically shame people because of diabetes too, their language is a bit less abrasive but it’s the same thing, “halt the diabetes epidemic with a healthy diet” as though it’s that simple for people with any form of diabetes. We all need to stand up against the awareness campaigns that stigmatise us, from people who should know better. I can kinda forgive Crossfit for taking a cheap shot when IDF gives them the ammunition.

    • I can see what you’re saying there, especially in light of the message from the IDF today regarding T1 and diet. For me, I believe food is a major component but it’s not necessarily what people are choosing to eat. It involves what is available for them to choose from at the store. So much is highly processed and is a result of the bogus low-fat diets that started being the recommended back in the 70’s. The resulting high-carb diets required high-carb foods which were made as cheaply as possible.

  • Great post Scott. It was very sad to see some of those posts out there. I have been feeling kind of a disconnect from the DOC lately, mostly because of stuff like what just happened. It is great that people come together to speak up but not good when they start attacking someone else. I have learned a lot because of the DOC and it bothers me that people are getting attacked instead of supported.

    I am glad you brought up the double diabetes. It amazed me how
    many people posting when the whole CrossFit stuff happened had never heard of double-diabetes. They obviously participate in the DOC if they were out there on day one so you would think they have heard of it. Although I am T1, my brother is T2. I recently did DNA testing at 23andMe to get the health reports. I have both T1 and T2 genes and one specifically that connects the two together. I know there is a good possibility that I could end up with it some day.

  • StephenS

    “Stop shaming people for being human”: I love that. Bring it.

  • Very powerful post, Scott. Thanks for sharing.