I Am Not Normal

A bit of a rant...the following is my own personal opinion.

My entire life I have been told by friends, family, and even doctors that I can "live a normal life". That is a very loose term if you look at it from the point of view of a diabetic. What the hell do you mean by a "normal" life?

I don't see "normal" people having to check their blood sugar a minimum of four times a day. I don't see "normal" people having to take six shots a day. I don't see "normal" people having to severely restrict their diet in order to avoid high blood sugar, serious complications, and death. I don't see "normal" people suffering severe lows or highs and the frightening effects they bring with them.

So, no, a diabetic can not live a normal life.

If you’re talking about normal as in I can grow up to be whatever I want…that’s not even true…a diabetic can not grow up to be a non-diabetic. That was my dream, “when I grow up I want to not have diabetes anymore”. I also wanted to join the army/navy/air force/marines but they wouldn’t take me because I was diabetic. Not even for a desk job.

If I had only been told the truth as a child…

When I was younger I struggled with feelings of being different, of being not normal. So of course the adults around me comforted me by saying I could still grow up and live a perfectly normal life as long as I took my shots and checked my blood sugar and kept it in line. I could eat like a normal person as long as I bolused properly.

I don’t know ANY diabetic that this works for! Taking huge amounts of insulin in order to be able to eat “normally” is just killing us all. We can’t eat like “normal” people, we must live by a different diet.

If I had been told the truth instead of having my future made to seem less “not normal”. I think I would have had an easier time of it. Instead I became an adult and the harsh reality of never being “normal” hit me like a ton of bricks and sent me into a deep spiral of depression and anger. And any hope of me actually trying to take proper care of myself flew out the window and it took nearly dieing of heart failure at 34 years old to send me crashing into the realization that I need to change my life and stop trying to be something I can never be.


It is true that a diabetic can be happy, fulfilled, and live a long, healthy life. But I wish doctors, other diabetics, organizations, etc., would stop sugar-coating it. We are bombarded with the idea that we can just go about our lives as if nothing is different for us. So many diabetics I know (including myself until recently) are so dead set on being “normal” and especially with being able to eat “normally” that we are just pushing ourselves into an early grave preceded by years of diabetic complications. It doesn’t help that there is so much misinformation out there about what is “healthy” for a diabetic; but I won’t go into that highly controversial end of this subject.

If you truly want to be a healthy diabetic and avoid complications of diabetes then you need to face the fact that you need to be on top of your diet, medication, glucose monitoring, and all other aspects of care, ALL THE TIME. No breaks, no vacations.

Face the fact that we shouldn’t eat like “normal” people. Our bodies are different, our condition requires us to live differently. This doesn’t make us less human. Diabetes is not easy to control and the fact that we are not normal people means it is not logical to insist on living like “normal” people. We can be healthy and happy just like anyone, but we have to face the fact that we must do certain things differently. This doesn’t diminish us or our lives or happiness, we just need to do things with more thought and care (and work) than other people.

So there is no living like a “normal” person. Normal for us is diabetic.

Love this great read well said

you are my normal!!!! HUZZAH

I love TuDiabetes because all of us diabetics can share our kind of "normal", "diabetic normal"! :D


This is a great blog, Tamra. "Normal", huh. I try to stay normal with Type 1, which means at minimum, testing, insulin, careful diet, more. Staying normal with Celiac means avoiding all gluten, all the time. Staying normal with Lactose Intolerance means a probiotic containing the Rhamnosus strain and Lactaid pills, and a careful diet. Thanks to Pernicious Anemia, I need Hcl/Enzymes with all food. Did I mention Type 1 Diabetes? Sometimes the effort becomes so time-consuming and difficult that I feel like giving up; well, then what? Noone who knows me thinks that I even approach normal!

well put! Good job!

High five Tamra. One foot in front of the other is all we really have.

Love it!

Unlike Violet in the incredibles, I long gave up on being normal :-)

The Incredibles (2004)
Helen: Now it's perfectly normal...
Violet: [interrupting] Normal? What do *you* know about normal? What does *anyone* in *this* family know about normal?
Helen: Now wait a minute, young lady...
Violet: We act normal, mom! I want to *be* normal! The only normal one is Jack-Jack, and he's not even toilet trained!
[Jack-Jack blows a raspberry and bursts out laughing]
Dash: Lucky...
[Violet and Helen look askance at him]
Dash: Uh, I meant about being normal.

I totally agree - our bodies are broken, and all we can do is try to mimic a very complicated process. I think once we accept that we have a disease and are not normal, that is when we can start to challenge our boundaries and find modified ways to enjoy at least some of the things that "normal" people do. Keep in mind that, like diabetes, people's struggles aren't always visible from the outside. So you likely come in contact with lots of "non-normal" people every day, whether it's mental illness, family issues, other diseases, being afraid after recovering from cancer, whatever. As the saying goes, everyone you meet is struggling with something you don't know about, so be kind to all you meet.

I know for sure I am not normal, never was, and never will be diabetes or not! Thanks for your post I totally hear you.

No I am not normal, but I have other medical conditions that are more difficult to deal with than D. I’ll take D. over them any day. When I “follow the rules” usually my BG are where they should be. I don’t care about normal, I just care about livable.

Right on, Catlover, if we live by the "rules" of diabetes we are healthier, happier, and avoid all the complications of diabetes. So many diabetics don't want to live that way because they think it's some sort of prison or deprivation. If we would just view it differently, view it as a way to free ourselves from suffering and early death, then it would all become so much easier. We just need to change our psychology on the matter. :)

Trudy, you are defiantly NOT normal! What you are is the woman I think about when I can't get out of bed in the mornings, so I think about you and then I put my damned feet on the floor.

GinaY, what a special comment--thanks!