Be Kind


#1

This was originally posted to my blog,Diabetes Odyssey.

It’s one thing to have people who don’t know you and especially who do not share your plight to treat you badly, to shame you over something about yourself. These people primarily engage in this horrendous behavior because they are full of ignorance and fear. They don’t understand, they lack knowledge, and they react in fear of the unknown and choose to attack instead of learn.

But what the heck is going on when someone who shares your same condition or situation attacks and/or shames you about it?

Unfortunately this happens in the diabetes community just as much as it does in any other community.

A type 1 shames another type 1 for not being able to keep their BG stable. Shamed for not choosing to follow a low carb diet. Shamed for not exercising just right. Shamed for being on MDI rather than a pump. Shamed for not using a CGM. Shamed for having complications…

It goes on and on.

I, thankfully, have not been attacked much by other diabetics. And I certainly have never shamed any other diabetic for their choices or struggles. It is your life, your struggle, live it and deal with it how you see fit. No one has any right to judge or shame you for just trying to live.

But I have been witness to many attacks.

Sometimes it’s just a simple misunderstanding. These things happen. A comment meant to be innocuous is taken as an attack or insult. Someone trying to be helpful is taken as a shamer.

But then there are the true attacks. Most of the time it comes from a diabetic who claims to be very successful in their ‘control’. They have worked hard to gain and keep control of their diabetes. They are very healthy and fit and have no complications and they think every diabetic should be doing it their way. That’s all well and good, but the problem here is that they choose to be smug, condescending, conceited, rude, and outright mean…

They take it upon themselves to push their lifestyle,their treatment plan, on every other diabetic. “It works for me so it is the only way to do it!”. And they attack anyone who isn’t just like them, or doesn’t agree with their views.

Hey, c’mon… We’re happy for your success, but every single one of us are different. We may have other health needs than just our diabetes, we live different lifestyles and have different jobs, stresses, families, hobbies…

What works for you may not work for the next diabetic. Advice, suggestions, these are welcome. But pushing, berating, shaming, blaming others for struggling, for developing complications, for not having as easy a time as you seem to have. This isn’t helpful in the slightest. In fact it is detrimental!

And it just makes you look like a jerk.

If a diabetic is on MDI rather than a pump, or they don’t use a CGM, or they use a different meter or insulin than you, it is their choice. And let us also think about the fact that everyone has different insurance coverage (or none at all) and may have to use what they use for this reason. Or they can’t afford all the fancy and new tech…

Don’t make assumptions! Don’t judge! You have no idea what the whole story is.

Diabetes is difficult, it’s tough. Some diabetics struggle a lot more than others. This doesn’t make them bad diabetics, it probably means there is more going on than just the diabetes.

It isn’t just about diet, exercise, and insulin. EVERYTHING has an impact on blood sugar when you are diabetic. Some bodies are more sensitive to changes than others. And when there are other health conditions mixed in with it, it becomes all the more difficult to control.

To develop complications does not mean a diabetic is a bad diabetic. Things happen. Yes, sometimes it is because of choices that could have been avoided. But, guess what, it is none of your business and you have no right to judge, blame, or shame!

It’s difficult enough without all the blame and shame. We should be supporting, understanding, and helping one another.

Be kind. Please.


#2

So very true and it’s not just with diabetes. Everyone in the world, if they could just be a little nicer and less judgmental, the world might be a happier place.
We all have different experiences, different thoughts, different views, but if we realize our experiences, thoughts, views are what everyone needs, we would all be so much more understanding and compassionate. So, yes be kind to each other and understand what is good for you might not be good for me. Be kind and be happy!


#3

In a peer support forum, I sometimes read remarks written by members who take their unique experience and try to generalize it into a larger truth. It’s not logical and is a common trap, one that I must admit I’ve fallen into as well.

Having said that, there is much overlap in our diabetes experiences and that overlap can help fuel empathy and resonance. I find, more often than not, that my experience of diabetes is similar to others but not the same. And in some cases, my experience of diabetes is not similar at all! Neither my experience nor a contrasting one is either right or wrong; they are just different. And that’s OK.

When people illogically conclude that their personal experience defines the group general experience, it can take them a while to find that the words “sometimes, might, maybe, my experience, most and many” help make your experience more accessible and useful to others.

The words that often raise the hackles of members, “always, never, best and worst,” should be avoided except in the case of the truly exceptional. “Sometimes, better, and worse” often work better. Avoiding extreme words strengthens the chance of truly connecting with someone and makes all your words more credible.

We, as humans, will often jump in to fill in the missing pieces of communication and add unspoken or unwritten facts that are just not there. They made some sense on some level but they too often put words in other people’s mouths. People don’t generally like that. Our communication, even with the most articulate speakers and writers, can be checkered and full of gaps and perhaps shades of meaning not intended by the author.

Kindness is often missing in our daily lives. When it arises, it’s goodness contrasts so markedly with most people’s daily experience, that people will remember it, and you, long after they forget the actual context. Kindness will not win many internet arguments but it will connect you in a nice way with many more people, even people with differing views about diabetes. For me, practicing kindness is a work in progress.

Kindness is a good topic that can fill books. Thank-you for raising it in our corner of the world.


#4

Thank you, I absolutely can relate to this. The disease is hard enough and to have someone to attack you for your disease and beliefs at the same time if very condescending. I believe there needs to be an outcry for tighter control within this community and the only way we can make that happen is by flagging or reporting the incidents. We must make the change.


#5

LLOVED your letter. We all can’t get a pump, or cgm etc… I couldn’t get a pump until about 7 years ago. My body does not react/respond to insulin, exercise, food like others. I live in rural PA and reg non diabetic people, even my own family members judged me simply by watching everything I put in my mouth. Diabetes is so complicated and effected by so many things. Your letter reminds me of people who are ex smokers. They can be the most judgemental and inpatient with those who still smoke. For others with diabetes to judge peers like ourselves knowing how difficult and how unpredictable it is is cruel. I have even heard of nurses and doctors yelling at and blaming patients for not controlling their bg,s. I know that when I die, there will be people who will make comments and say if she had just taken care of herself. In fact family members who judged me who now have diabetes have come to me for information. My sister even admitted how she and my other sister would be shocked when I would have a piece of birthday cake. Now she is sorry. Anyway, I thank you so much for your letter. We come here and to each other for support. Heaven knows we need all the love and help and understanding we can get. I am my own worst judge. When my by rises, I first blame myself and beat myself up quite a bit.


#6

Definately Love here in this discussion jewels! I enjoyed your comment and can relate heavily to this as well.


#7

That is so nice to hear that am not the only one. :heartbeat:


#8

I hate to admit it but it seems as if over the years the sheer hatred that’s arisin in this community has grown in an astounding measure. Never was it intended that any member feel threatened here but over the past few weeks I’ve felt that many times. What I’ve learned is that I don’t have to be subjected to it and I can put a stop to it immediately. A lot of things have changed since I’ve rejoined and I do like that it’s easier than ever now to report discriminating words. I just hate that we can’t seem to realize that no one should be so easily inclined to attack in the first place.


#9

I think this has something to do with computer culture. I think you can see it play out on the highway. People are much meaner drivers than they were 15 years ago. Somehow, I think its the influence of computers and less face to face interaction - more isolation of individuals. When we are on a computer, no one can punch us in the face for being a jerk. I think it has something to do with that.


#10

I’ve always said that, there was research done recently on the topic and the conclusion they came to was that people’s personalities almost completely changed when behind a computer screen. Very interesting! Kind of like the “do good if no one is watching” idea.


#11

I’m gonna look for the study. Thanks for the heads up.


#12

Thank you Tamera11! You summed up so many of my thoughts/feelings. I’ve changed endo docs bc her PA shamed me for wanting to go back to MDI from the pump. She also labeled me as “noncompliant” bc I was unwilling to do exactly as she told me. Isn’t it enough that we have so fickle a disease as diabetes? Any and everything effects it, on any given day. Like so many others in this forum, I don’t respond to certain comments. Lol, it takes too much effort.