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Telling people you're diabetic...

Discussion in 'Young People/Adults' started by MattH892, Jul 27, 2020.

  1. MattH892

    MattH892 Type 1 · BANNED

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    Hi Everyone

    I got diagnosed with T1 just over a year ago and this forum has really helped me get to grips with everything.

    However I'm still in that period where I'm seeing people for the first time since being diagnosed and also when meeting new people, where I find it super awkward and embarrassing to talk about. I wear a libre which I think is brilliant but usually brings a lot of questions.. I'm just not overly comfortable talking about it yet. Im also a fairly slim guy and I'm so fed up already of people saying "you're so slim, how have you got diabetes" and having to explain everything .

    I just wondered how other people deal with this situation, if the awkwardness ever disappears or you suddenly become confident in discussing it??

    Appreciate any advice
     
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  2. KK123

    KK123 Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    Hi there, we're all different obviously but yes, I think any awkwardness does disappear. It's the same as publicly injecting and things like that really, at first you may be a bit self conscious but after a while you really don't give a you know what because it is simply part of you. Don't feel like you have to explain everything (or even anything), it depends on whether you are in the mood! When people have said the same things to me, 'You're so slim though' or 'Can you eat that' it used to annoy me intensely so now I either smile and ignore them or just say 'Blimey, you don't know a lot do you' or similar. x
     
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  3. urbanracer

    urbanracer Type 1 · Moderator
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    1 year in and you should be close to expert level by now, you can reel off your knowledge of endocrinology with aplomb and make people regret that they started a conversation with you on a subject that they know nothing about!

    I like watching their eyes glaze over as I pretend to know everything there is to know about diabetes. "Are you really going to eat all that rice? It's not really that healthy you know, even for a non diabetic"
     
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    #3 urbanracer, Jul 27, 2020 at 8:07 PM
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2020
  4. HSSS

    HSSS Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    Ok coming at this slightly differently.

    As a type 1 diet and size are irrelevant to how your pancreas has decided to behave. fact. I totally get why it’s annoying to have people assume that’s the cause.

    As a type 2 that’s followed the guidelines, and even done better by having less sugar than advised, but still got Insulin resistance and subsequently gained weight as a direct result and later been diagnosed type 2 (also due to a genetic predisposition) it’s frustrating that other people think it’s my fault - even other people with diabetes! Your comments about slimness are just as uneducated about type 2 as those directed to you about type 1.

    Most people with neither type diagnosed know next to nothing about either type. And that’s not surprising as they get no information other than the media.

    We all have 3 choices. Get angry and annoyed. Totally ignore the comments. Educate the uneducated. The first only harms us. The middle maintains the status quo. The last improves the situation. Take your pick.
     
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  5. MattH892

    MattH892 Type 1 · BANNED

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    Thanks for all the advice a few different ways to approach it.

    I guess it ultimately comes down to what I'm comfortable with but I'm leaning towards educating as I certainly fit in to those stereotypes before I was diagnosed.
     
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  6. Rylando88

    Rylando88 Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    I've been diagnosed for 20 years and STILL struggle explaining it to people, even people who have known me for a long time! So don't worry for feeling a bit awkward about discussing it with them. My favourite is when people find out I'm diabetic and they ASSUME I must have been overweight at some point or that it runs in my family (I'm slim and petite and the ONLY diabetic in the family).

    I find a good way to explain the difference is to tell people my pancreas is completely broken whereas type 2 diabetics have a pancreas that works but not efficiently enough to keep them healthy. Obv I know there are many other types too but I find that people asking only ever seem to know about Type 1 and Type 2. It's one of those diseases that people don't know all the details of unless they need to so I don't get too annoyed when people don't have much knowledge as there are hundreds of illnesses in the world that I know absolutely nothing about myself!

    I think that when it comes to being comfortable discussing it, that might come with time. I can imagine being so recently diagnosed you might still find the whole thing quite overwhelming yourself so it would be hard to try and put it into words for others! Eventually you will just find ways that work for you and ways of dealing with peoples opinions/assumptions/reactions etc. At least I hope you will anyway! :)

    Now and again if people ask me stupid things I give a bit of a silly reply e.g. "should you be eating that?" "no, I'm attempting suicide by food" or "I don't know, should I?" but that only tends to be with people I know, not strangers haha!

    Sorry to go on, I will stop now! Hope I might have helped a bit! x
     
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  7. Danni_pinay

    Danni_pinay Type 1 · Newbie

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    I'm still awkward about it 23 years later! But I found I gained a lot of confidence telling people by telling my students. As a teacher I realised my learners won't have a clue what is wrong if I start acting strange, who knows if they know what to do either I teach over 16s btw! But this has taken me 6 years out of my 10 year career to get more confident to be honest.
    But I accept when I'm out lil kids look, adults will look but usually as people don't expect to see some one injecting
    I find it more annoying they always have a grandparent that is t1
     
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  8. Nicole T

    Nicole T Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    I'm finding the opposite problem: trying not to be a bore about it to people who don't have it. Then again, I've flounced out of much more difficult closets than this one. It's a common enough condition for most people to find it relatable, if not themselves, then through someone they know reasonably well.

    I've gone totally low-carb evangelist. My Facebook feed now has meter readings, details of what tasty (non-damaging) things I've cooked or eaten during the day, and most recently, the wrestling match I've had trying to change the belt on the bread maker. And I'm finding one or two diabetic friends are periodically engaging with me over it. But then I genuinely don't mind talking about it. Perhaps it'd be different if I did.

    My mum had Type 2 and was very matter of fact about it. Not an ounce of shame. It was just a condition that she developed as she got older, and that's how the family treated it.
     
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  9. Grant_Vicat

    Grant_Vicat Don't have diabetes · Well-Known Member

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    Hi @Matt_Harman Here is part of something I wrote at the age of 51:
    "At the time I was affected by a teenage resentment of my condition, a perverse aversion to outside opinion, and a complete lack of awareness of the significance of any information. As I write this I can see all kinds of interference on the computer screen caused by retinopathy: I am unable to keep my hands steady (not because of Vin de Pays de L’Herault); and I am aware that my kidneys are struggling to survive. All this was wrapped up in those few words in the above letter. Throughout my life I have been regularly reminded, either through personal contacts, diabetic journals, visits to clinics, or through books, that all diabetics run these risks and that the condition, if unmanaged, can be fatal. Why is it that teenagers happily (?) ignore these warnings? On several occasions in the last thirty years I have been contacted by doctors, asking me whether I would be prepared to talk to a sixteen year old who is ignoring advice. Of course I would. Could they get in touch with me? On each occasion, nobody has telephoned. I think at this stage in life, when hormones are unruly, faces look like Spotted **** with a hairy frame, girls (or boys) are worryingly important, sexuality is uncertain, parents are a bloody menace and so on, the last thing a person needs is an uncomfortable label. I never wanted to talk about it. I’ve more than made up for it now. I have been able to manage The Enemy far more effectively since I have been prepared to discuss it. But, even at the age of twenty this can be daunting."
    It was only when I went to uni that I was unable to hide equipment etc - glass syringe in dedicated saucepan, a loaned test metre the size of a house brick, and very erratic control, that I was suddely able to feel acceptable, ridiculous as that sounds. I must say that once this transformation had occurred, I felt so much better about life. I think it also helped me to take the regime very seriously. Hence I am able to write this 40 years later! I hope life improves for you quickly.
     
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  10. dani96xx

    dani96xx Type 1 · Active Member

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    I have been type 1 for almost 7 years. I personally don't feel uncomfortable when people ask questions however the best thing to do is be open as diabetes isn't going anywhere and actually most people find it insightful and I like to educate people as most people don't truly understand how complex diabetes is and the complications that can be faced later in life.
     
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