T1D: permission to talk

I’m in the process of creating logos for future T1D buttons, and one of the slogans I’ve come up with is: Libre me alone!

Get it 😉

This slogan came to me after I was having a particularly tough day with my diabetes.

My blood sugars had been on a rollercoaster starting at 1 a.m. the night prior. They were up all through the night, barely budging, but then started crashing mid morning. By the afternoon, I felt like I was on my 10th package of Skittles.

An acquaintance saw me stuffing the sugar candies into my mouth and queried, “Low blood sugars?

Inwardly, I cringed.

It was such a small thing, but at that point in my day it was the last thing I wanted to hear, and it was the last thing I wanted to talk about.

I’m betting I’m not the only one who’s been in this situation.

Don’t get me wrong. Ninety per cent of the time I welcome conversations about diabetes.

I love to educate the greater population about the intricacies of this disease. I am repeatedly shooting down myths, and showing off my T1D technologies to those who ask.

But there’s a fine line.

Those of us with this disease live it day in and day out, and sometimes it can be exhausting.

Some days we just don’t want to talk about it.

We don’t want to discuss our current blood sugars.

We don’t want to explain the low we’re having or the high we’re trying to manage.

We don’t want to tell you why we’re having yet another Starburst.

We just want to get through the day.

And that’s okay.

Type-1 diabetes has long been considered an invisible disease, and in many respects it is. But with advancements in technologies, we are increasingly becoming more visible.

A girlfriend of mine tells me I’m bionic, which makes me feel pretty, freaking cool, but again there’s that fine line.

In healthcare we are trained to ask for permission to discuss a person’s condition with them, and I think that’s fair in life as well.

My T1D is MY disease, I own this disease, and if I don’t want to share it, that’s totally okay.

The same goes for all living with diabetes, type 1, type 2, gestational. It’s yours. You decide who you share it with.

If you want to learn more about diabetes in general, or you want to ask how I like one of the technologies I’m wearing, by all means ask, and I will gladly accommodate your curious minds. But if you want to discuss specifically my diabetes, you need to ask permission.

Also, food for thought: whether you have diabetes or not, you don’t know what a person is going through with their individual disease. You don’t know if they’ve had struggles that day, that month, that year, and your seemingly innocuous comments could be the equivalent of nails on a chalkboard, or a grinding wrench in the side of their torso, or the tipping point of their mental health.

I repeat: Ask for permission before diving in – with thanks 😀

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