Uncomfortable around other diabetics?

I’m not sure what it is, but I seem to feel more self-conscious when I’m around other diabetics. I always feel like I’m comparing myself to them: what our sugars are, when are we taking insulin, shots or pump, how much insulin, what are we eating etc. I can’t help but notice it. Then there are the conversations, which will inevitably lead to diabetes discussions. Things get brought up about the times we have almost died, and that just kills the lightheartedness of the meal.

Maybe its because I never went to a diabetes camp (my parents weren’t gonna pay $300+ for me to go), but I just can’t get myself to be comfortable when eating around other diabetics. I would rather pay attention to my own problems, and not make comparisons to others.

Does anyone else feel this way?

Truthfully? No, I love meeting with other (type 1) diabetics. I started a group in my area for Type 1 women and I look forward to each monthly meeting. We also have had potlucks and it was great to not have to explain why I needed a 15 minute warning before the food is ready, to bolus without self-consciousness, and even to have all the food come with carb counts! We did talk some about diabetes at the potluck because we are a group of women of all ages who don’t know each other well, but we also drank wine, laughed and talked about “whatever”. I don’t compare myself to others because I’ve learned from being on here for two years how different we all are. I know that in a group of type 1’s there are some doing better than me and some not as well. But if I listen with open heart I can empathize with the issues of each. I also get useful ideas from listening to how they do things that might be things I haven’t thought about. The biggest example for me is that I hadn’t been thinking at all about getting a pump because I “was doing ok, have lots of time and so didn’t need one”. But when I asked for a show of hands I found that 12 out of 15 women were on the pump. For me, it became normalized as just a really good tool to manage type 1 and I got one two months ago.

I got an e-mail recently from one of the women who had come once to the group who has been type 1 for 50 years. She said she didn’t like talking so much about her diabetes and that she thought the group was great but not for her. Many of us have found how wonderful it can be to talk to other people who really “get” what we deal with. If that is something you would like to experience, than maybe give it more of a try and see if you can get past the self-consciousness. But if you really don’t see any value in or have any interest in connecting to other diabetics than that’s ok for you!

When I was younger and felt more invincible, I would be uncomfortable around other diabetics because I didn’t want to compare my management to theirs. I always felt I was playing fast and loose compared to them and didn’t want to get into it. Once I got educated and really got responsible about my management I found that I didn’t much mind it. The comparison thing is kind of a natural thing when you share something like diabetes. War stories are bound to be swapped. Talking about the near misses helps me to appreciate the good times and the fact that I’m still around to tell the tale. It is also helpful to separate yourself from the comparison. We are not built the same way. At any given momen t, your chemistry can be very different from the diabetic next to you. Your numbers, doses, and method of delivery are uniquely yours. What you do and how you do it works for you and it’s not anyone’s business. I am frequently interested in how others manage and sometimes I pick up something I didn’t know before. You also have the right to address the table and ask that we talk about something else. Good management takes a lot of attention, you have a reason to ask that the conversation be about something not D related. We do go on about it – guilty as charged. .

Its not that i don’t like connecting other other diabetics. If that was true, i wouldn’t be here. I have 3 friends who are about my age with diabetes. I just find it uncomfortable to eat a meal next to someone else with it. For example, One of my friends has really high insulin resistance. For a meal of 2 hotdogs, he had to take 21 units! That would kill me! I just find it awkward to see that out of the corner of my eye.

That type of competitiveness is pretty natural especially when you’re young. I rarely discussed D with my high school or college T1 friends (1 in each) other than to share supplies when one of us was in need. I certainly didn’t need any reminders that i was D with everything else going on at that time in my life. or, maybe I could have because there was more i could have done. But this can change because, today, I never feel MORE comfortable discussing D than with another D. And most of the ones I talk to today were as bad as I was when they were younger, even if they’re doing as well or better than me now. It’s easier to talk about these things when they’re in the past, so whatever story you’re getting from someone now it probably isn’t the ‘whole’ story that you’ll get in 5-10 years.

I guess that the conversations can get a little ‘down’ sometimes. I got together with one of T1 college pals last year, after about 10 years of not seeing each other, and we of course shared some scary stories (even the ones we wouldn’t admit to back in the day). I think it’s natural for the conversation to start there, because it’s a pretty strong bond to share, but it doesn’t have to end there. As strong as that bond is it mostly just reinforces some other connection you have.

There’ll probably be some out there that judge you based on how you’re doing but they’re called jerks.

I was actually dating a type 1 when I was diagnosed (what are the chances right?!) so right from the word go I have been used to comparing and sharing D, so I’m comfortable with it. I actually find being able to share the scary stories with them comforting, after all they actually get it and you never get that you poor thing routine from them.

Not that I actually get to hang out with the other members of Club 1 more than once in a blue moon (lol, actually less than once in a blue moon last year ;-p)

Just found this discussion.

I’m with you there. I never liked it much to be around other people with diabetes, whether they’re my age or older.
This summer, I actually went to a camp (mainly young adults) and although I generally enjoyed it, it kind of felt like being a child again and not in a good way.

I always fell watched/judged, I don’t know why but I can’t help it.
And diabetes is way too often topic of discussions. I prefer to quickly test my bg and take insulin and then sit down with everybody else and have a “normal” lunch. At camp there were too many people who cared too much, if you know what I mean. As I said, it felt like being a kid again - there’s always someone asking what your numbers are and/or making suggestions on how you are supposed to treat a low/high blood sugar.

I noticed that I’m “making more mistakes” in those situations. If I had been the only diabetic on that one afternoon’s tour, I wouldn’t have ended up with a 250. At some point I simply gave in and ate that sandwich although I knew it was too much. I also would have gotten at least 1 more hour of sleep that night since several people kept me awake with arguments about the best treatment for that high.

I prefer to be around people who know what to do in emergencies and who understand if I need a little more time sometimes but who do not have diabetes themselves.

Though, yes, there WERE moments I enjoyed it. What I do like is talking about travel experiences.
That’s actually interesting (and informing) and fun to do for a change.

In my last job I came across this one guy who had T1 like me. He was really young and both his parents were doctors so I was actually suprised how much he didnt know. His parents ran his diabetes so speaking with him made me feel good because I was able to teach him some things in the short amount of time we spoke…Other than that I am usually around T2’s and I DO NOT like to talk about it with them. It seems to always feel like a competition that usually involves comments like " I dont have to do that, why do you? or I am so happy I dont have it as bad as you do…" Or when they complain about their numberds I try to give advice on eating or exercising habits (not in a preachy way)and they act like I’m trying to take their diabetes trophy away. That has been MY experience with other people who have diabetes, so I usually keep things to myself.

I see folks at restaurants, at grocery stores, on the bus wearing pumps, or obviously carrying testing kit, and want to always come up and be friendly and introduce myself, but never quite work up the courage.

I’m not so sure it’s not a matter of being self-conscious as it is just me being shy.

There was a T2 at my workplace I was real good friends with (not because of diabetes but because of other interests) but it never really was a diabetes comparison. I guess so different there wasn’t any need to compare. But it was very comfortable knowing that I could test in front of him and he wouldn’t flinch - like testing or shooting up in front of my wife and kids in that way. (BTW growing up my parents would flinch if I had to do anything like that. Maybe I would if it was one of my kids testing instead of me.???)

I agree with Pete here. Sounds too much like what I did when I was younger then after I got eudcated and saw what was going on it didn’t bother me as much.

Hey Pete!!! Where did u go? I haven’t seen u around here lately???

TimmyMac, it’s a good thing for your life expectancy that our paths are not going to cross anytime soon then. Pregnant atm and with insane insulin needs. The other morning I needed 10 units of insulin for a cup of tea with no sugar, and a bacon double cheeseburger eaten without the buns…

I grew up with a T1 mom (who’s also a doctor), but it was always a non-subject in my family - I guess she was uncomfortable with talking about it as well…! This also made it hard for me to talk to others about it (thinking this is how it’s supposed to be), and I kept it a non–subject in my life for many years (= bad control!).

But a couple of years ago I met a T1 at work who was open about her past control mistakes and how hard it was to have diabetes (I was finally trying to get some control at the time after years of rollercoasting). Although I couldn’t get myself to tell her (too embarrassed that I was still having control issues), it was such a relief to allow myself to think that this sucks, that it effects everything I do, and people around me need to know what I’m dealing with (very few of my friends after high school knew this).
I’ve only met a few T1’s after that (except for my mom, who will only mention it if complaining about a low, or to comment on my stricter regimen) - and after joining this site I am so more open about others having different feelings and degree of management, and that most are trying to do their best within the limits of their everyday life and personal capacity.

I guess eating with other T1’s I would be afraid that I might be stricter or less strict than them (checking bg, type of food we eat, time of bolus). And especially in front of non-diabetics, so as not to put each other in a bad light, or having to explain why we have different “rules”/regimens without offending the other (I find people try to argue that I can do this and that because a T1 they know does it - so annoying!!!). And I am more afraid of them judging me, than me comparing to them…(as I’m confident that I am doing well in relation to everything else that is going on in my life).

But I do think it would have been nice to have someone to talk to, get tips from etc once in a while… (as long as one is open to each others decisions and management).

When I went to Diabetes Sisters and met Melitta and Fabiana and Christalyn and Jo, I had a great time! Yes, there was talk about diabetes, but no comparisons or judgment or guilt. And that’s not all there was.We got to do “girl talk”, and find out more about the other sides of each other, and joke and laugh. If I felt like talking about my BGs, it was OK, but no pressure to do anything, and no unwanted advice. When we were served an all-carb continental breakfast, yes, we complained, and sweet Jo made hard-boiled eggs at home and brought them the next morning. So it was a very good experience.

It was actually a very warming experience, because every woman there had diabetes. It was like being a member of the club. It’s a very different experience from being “out in life”, where I am actually more uncomfortable with diabetes, even though I have trained my friends not to freak out when I test, and they do care whether I am going low, and want to help.

But I guess we all have to deal with it in our own way.

I haven’t actually met very many other people with diabetes. One of my TKD student’s dad had T1, I think a shade older than I was and, after witnessing my jumping up and down for an hour said “how do you do it?” and I might have sold him a pump? Then my “day job” office closed and, unfortunately, I had to move and things went bonkers right after that. One T1 guy @ work, same building/ different office marked my pump one day but we aren’t close. More “hey, whassup” stuff. One guy 20 years ago, we commiserated about getting wasted w/ T1 and both agreed it was possible and that’s about it.

Then there’s the 20K people here…I dunno how many of them are way active, there’s people you run into over and over but some people you only see occasionally seem interesting too.