It’s taken me a very long time to come back here…

It’s taken me a very long time to come back here…

The last time I posted the whole Type 1 vs. Type 2 thing had blown up in the diabetes online community.

The last time I posted the whole Type 1 vs. Type 2 thing had blown up in the diabetes online community.

At first I was like…

sadness-bg1- no more
Sadness as she appears in Pixar’s Inside Out

Then I was like…

disgust-bg1 - no more
Disgust as she appears in Pixar’s Inside Out

Finally, I was like…

anger bg1
Anger as he appears in Pixar’s Inside Out

And I went away in a huff.
But now I am back.

The diabetes rumble in the parking lot

Why does this keep happening? People with a type of diabetes calling out people with another type of diabetes for a proverbial rumble in the parking lot.

It happened again. And on World Diabetes Day too.

…sigh…

That whole Type vs. Type argument raised its ugly head. Makes me sad. It doesn’t matter who started it. It matters that it keeps happening. This divisive argument usually goes like this: somehow this Type is diabetes and doesn’t want to be associated with that Type. People should know the difference! People should stop saying stupid stuff about diabetes. Names should be changed! Then people can say that stupid stuff about the Type they are referring to (and not my Type of diabetes). If that Type gets attention/research/treatments then my Type won’t. Mom always liked you better!

Jeezus…

Somehow I can’t imagine people with rheumatoid arthritis people calling out people with osteoarthritis for a proverbial rumble in the parking lot. Different things cause each of them. Each has its own pathology and treatments. And still it’s all arthritis.

Every time the Type vs. Type argument starts again I have only one thought: It needs to stop…NOW.

 

“We Are the Stories We Tell Ourselves”

There are many aspects to a story. What we should look for is the harmony between the aspects and not a resolution.

I was intrigued by the title of this TED Talk. “We are the stories we tell ourselves.”

It didn’t turn out to be what I expected. It’s mostly about how the speaker thinks about the stories he tells as a movie director. Two things stayed with me.

First, there are many levels to a story. You can look at the plot. Or you can look the psychological aspect of the story. Or the political aspect. Or the mythological aspect. A story is like a multifaceted gem. Each aspect reveals something different.

The same is true of life with diabetes. Something happens (the plot). It could be a diagnosis, a “good” day or a “bad” day, reaching a goal or failing to. We make sense of these events by the aspect(s) that we focus on at any given moment. Do we focus on our feelings about the event? Or the reasoning behind the action we take in response?

The aspects of a single story can be contradictory. A “good” day with diabetes can leave me feeling sad in the end when I realize that there’s no guarantee any other day will turn out the same. A “bad” day can make me determined and motivated to more consciously manage my health habits.

Second, what we should focus on is the harmony between the various aspects of the story–NOT the resolution of the story. Resolutions are limited. There is no happily ever after in diabetes. There is only tomorrow, and the day after that, and the day after that. By focusing on the bigger, infinite issues we can go on and not be driven to an end point.


Ted Talk “We Are the Stories We Tell Ourselves” – Shekhar Kapur

Diabetes in the movies…

A lot of people only know about diabetes from the movies.

A lot of people only know about diabetes from the movies.

Julia Roberts’ character in Steel Magnolia gets mentioned often. The tragic young diabetic bride who dies giving birth.

But it’s Robert De Niro’s portrayal of William Joseph (“Wild Bill”) Donovan in The Good Shepard that sticks with me. Here’s a powerful man, he ran the OSS during World War II, being literally cut down by diabetes. He suffers amputations during the movie and characterizes diabetes as “undignified.”

That this disease not only preys on the weak but can also take down the mighty is truly terrifying.

Stigma…

Stigma, it’s made up of a million microaggressions.

Stigma is a word that comes up time and again when people living with diabetes talk about their lives. Like a glucose meter or glucose tabs, stigma is a constant companion.

Sometimes it gets stated in small, subtle ways. They say things like “Do you have the easy kind of diabetes?”

Sometimes it shows up as false concern or empathy. “Can you eat that?” When what they really mean is “You shouldn’t be eating that.”

Sometimes it’s a flat out judgement. “You shouldn’t have eaten all those donuts for all those years.”

Ultimately all these kind of statements are microaggressions. And honestly most people don’t even realize they are making stigmatizing statements. So what’s the big deal? Why can’t people just shake it off?

Why can’t I just shake it off?

Because the comments add up. It’s constantly being told “I’m wrong.” “I’m broken.” “I’m a failure.” It’s exhausting. It undermines my self-confidence. And it isolates me as someone less worthy.

Stigma, it’s all around me and most people don’t even see it.