Diabetes is a social stigma

where I live diagnosing children and teenagers with diabetes is a night mare,it is kept as a secret equally for boys and girls.Few people at school know that fact.Girls can be bullied because they are diabetic!

awareness campaigns,world diabetes day on wide scales especially at schools improving things.

Many of my patients give lectures on diabetes at their schools,coming out of their hiding as diabetics!!
I wonder do you have this problem where you live,
did you hide your diabetes from your colleagues at work,or others?

I work with girls also. I have to say that I have not had that problem. They are very protective over me and make sure that if I need anything special I get it. I have found that education equals acceptance.

thank you for your reply.As you mentioned education is the core of acceptance and improving things.

I was never one to hide diabetes at all, but I am also a very outgoing and outspoken person! I was diagnosed when I was 7 and I have always tested in front of everyone (either at my desk at school or now at my desk at work) and I would give my injections in front of everyone as well. When I got my pump at 10, I got a lot of comments and looks from people, and I learned to always have some smart response ready! I think a big part of it is if the person with diabetes treats it as something normal and completely acceptable, everyone around them will too. I definately agree that education is a big key in understanding and then acceptance.

I will translate your comments to arabic and pass it to all my patients .thanks

is it possible that this is a cultural thing? I have a friend in Istanbul who has MS, and he’s practically been shunned by his whole family - they try very hard to keep it a secret. It’s a shame. I’m proud of you, Sohair, for your efforts at education!

I never saw it as a limiting factor, so I don’t think the people around me saw it as such either . Ocasionaly when people would see outward signs of the disease revealed in me (lows, meter checking etc.) you might get a comment, but it was usually someone trying to learn more or trying to help. I don’t see it as a weakness, so those around me dont either.

yes Marie it is a cultural thing and more education and awareness is helping a lot.it is about all chronic disease not only diabetes,especially for girls because girls have to be perfect to find a husband in eastern sosciety,but women are working and earning their living in a larger scale in our country and that changes the concept!

i hide it during high school, but i don’t know if that was so much because of social stigma or me ignoring it so that i could live a normal teen age life. i think in young people the stigma may come just as much from denying the illness as it being something out of the normal for other children. i was the first diabetic in my elementry school and at the end of fifth year when another girl in my class that i barely knew was diagnosed we were sort of pushed together mostly because we were in the same situation (don’t get me werong, she was a nice girl, but i think all we really had in common was diabetes).

now in my mid twenties, i still don’t hide it, but i don’t make it the bases of who i am either. i was surprised to find out that a lot of my friends in this area had no idea that i was a diabetic until i started talking about how i was getting an inulin pump. infact, on of my friends (RIP) saw me rubbing my arm when i walked by him at the gaming shop and asked me what was wrong. i told him i had just done a shot in the bathroom and it had hurt. he got a confused look on his face and said, “a shot of what?” i told him insulin and he laughed, having thought i’d just choked down booze in the bathroom.

i think diabetes becomes more of a stigma when we let it. if it rules our lives, it becomes obvious and we stick out more due to our own discomfort with it. when i began to accept my diabetes as just another thing to do in my life it stopped becoming what i was known for. mabee that’s the key. i am just another person like anyone else out there, i just get my insulin in a different way. he’s just a normal guy, only he needs glasses to read that street sign. we are normal and if we accept that it helps others to as well.

thank you for your explanation,I agree that diabetes is not your identity,when I help my patients to bring it out to the light so they get rid of the burden and start living their lives as everybody else.