A couple of days ago, I was skimming through a diabetes magazine, and I came across some unsettling discoveries.
While I was hoping to finish the magazine feeling educated and fulfilled, I felt more traumatized and overwhelmed with fear. As I flipped through the magazine, all I could see were the words kidney disease, heart failure, blindness, neuropathy, and amputation.
Those of us with diabetes know the potential complications we face. It is also flashed before our eyes every day in commercials, ads, magazines, and billboards, along with the words obesity and epidemic. Come to think of it, I cannot recall a single piece about diabetes that does not have some sort of negative underlying message.
No wonder diabetes has such a negative stigma, and no wonder when someone finally has the courage to tell their family or close friends they have been diagnosed with diabetes, they can suddenly become a leper and an outcast.
Whether we with diabetes have been diagnosed with Type 1 or Type 2, sometimes a feeling of shame sweeps over us. I know it did for me. I felt like I had failed somehow, even though my doctor still doesn’t know how my diagnosis came to be. It was also even worse when I decided to disclose my diagnosis to someone. How dare society/people make us feel this way.
We have enough on our plate without having to feel shunned and ashamed. Sure, some of us may have made some not-so-great decisions in the past. But, instead of trying to round us all up to forewarn others of the future that awaits them if they become diagnosed with diabetes, why not educate and encourage in a positive message. It would certainly be a nice change.
Instead of, “Diabetes Epidemic,” and the word diabetes being continuously related to obesity, why not something a little more encouraging. Hasn’t anyone ever heard of the phrase, “Don’t kick a man while he’s down”?
So, if any of you do know someone who has been diagnosed with diabetes or is pre-diabetic, don’t shun them or look down upon them. (Trust me, we get enough of that in the media.) Instead, encourage them and try to understand where they are coming from because we have a hard enough road ahead of us as it is.