Thursday, 19 June 2014

Introducing Diabetes.

Tuesday night's Our Diabetes chat was hosted by Kate and was all about how we introduce our diabetes to others. As I was taking part from the Our Diabetes Twitter account, I wasn't able to truly participate, so instead I'm answering the questions in good, ol' blog format.

1. Do you struggle to tell people about your diabetes? E.G. friends, work, potential partners, and if so, why?

In short, yes. I want to be seen as "Vicki" not "Vicki-The-Person-With-Diabetes", but with the blood sugar tests, wearing an insulin pump, and before that, injecting insulin, it's a lot to ask people to see past. On the whole, I've been incredibly lucky with my friends since diagnosis, but I still fear it's too much to take in/handle. 

2. Have you ever withheld the fact you have diabetes? Were there any consequences of doing this?

Again...yes. It was shortly after I was diagnosed. All my friends at school knew, my family, my teachers...all talk was about my retired pancreas. I had this other group of friends, outside of school, who I didn't see as frequently, that had no idea I'd been ill, bar two of them who were (are) family friends. When we all met up, they asked if I wanted my diabetes made known, and I said no. I wanted to be "Vicki" and I didn't want talk to be about diabetes. They respected that decision, and I had such a great time. 

The biggest consequence of doing that, however, was then disclosing further down the line. Well...more disclosing how long I'd had diabetes for...that didn't go down so well. But I explained the reasoning, and, although effed off I didn't tell them from the start, they could also see my side. They're a very understanding bunch!

3. Have you experienced any bad reactions from telling someone or a company, e.g. a gym, that you have diabetes?

I once had someone tell me that they liked me as a person, but didn't like my diabetes. I was really upset by that. Really upset. Diabetes is my biggest insecurity because it's the one part about me that I cannot change, so that comment really got under my skin, and I started questioning how "okay" people were with me doing finger-prick tests and, at the time, injecting insulin. It wasn't a good mindset to be in.

4. Have you ever run BGs higher than normal to avoid a hypo situation?

Yes, I have, primarily when I'm working with children or looking after my godson. I don't like running my blood sugar higher than normal, but the thought of having a low blood sugar when I'm responsible for others...not okay with that!

5. Do you have any tips on how best to tell people?

In spite of my own fears when it comes to telling people about my diabetes, I truly do believe that honesty is the best policy, if for nothing but my own safety. I'd say keep explanations simple, but if asked questions, answer them honestly.

The Our Diabetes Tweet Chats take place every Tuesday at 8pm on Twitter using the hashtag #ourd. Click here to check out the Our Diabetes website for more information.

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