Saturday, March 12, 2011

Save Me From the Self Righteous


I just read on article online at the NPR website that talked about a study that indicated that diet may have some effect on children with ADHD.  In other words, changing a child’s diet may have as much effect on their condition as medication does.  Although the article was vague about details I thought it was interesting and exciting for those parents who are dealing with this.  I went on to read some of the comments people left after the article.  I should know better.  Anytime I read comments on pretty much any website I get upset.  Some people can be so stupid and thoughtless.  “If parents would just feed their children healthy food, take away their tv and cell phones and make them get outside and exercise, they wouldn’t have a problem.”  Excuse me?  I will agree that our society has developed into a people who spend too much time at leisure and not enough time being active, but to point fingers and say that these parents have caused the child’s ADHD is ludicrous! 

It’s the same with Type 2 diabetes.  I’ve never had anyone say to my face, “gosh, if you just hadn’t gained all that weight you probably wouldn’t be a diabetic” but I can almost hear them whispering, can you?  (I guess the people I know are either too polite or two-faced)  There is a stigma surrounding Type 2 diabetes.  Too much has been published and discussed about how diet and lifestyle has caused an epidemic of this disease.  That’s all true, but to hear people say that “all you have to do” is eat a healthier diet and exercise and you’ll get better really pisses me off. Or, “You poor thing, too bad you can’t eat some cake.”  It makes me want to scream sometimes.  Of course I can eat cake, dammit!  I just have to pay attention and adjust what else I’m eating.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve beaten myself up thinking that maybe I did do this to myself.  That certainly doesn’t do me any good.  I can’t change what has happened in the past, I can only deal with it now in an intelligent and thoughtful way.  You know what?  My grandmother had diabetes very late in her life.  She was a petite, thin woman.  She wasn’t overweight or unhealthy.  She lived most of her adult life on a farm in Wisconsin.  Farmers are not couch potatoes (but she did love to watch Dark Shadows).  Ok, so maybe all that cheese and butter didn’t do her much good but she was active and NOT heavy.  I’m the “lucky one” in the family who was probably pre-disposed to diabetes.  My unhealthy lifestyle just brought it on sooner rather than later.  Maybe I’m wrong but that’s what I choose to believe.

So what’s the point of this post (other than the fact that it felt GOOD to rant a bit)?  It’s my wish that people would be more compassionate; that they would educate themselves about a topic before making assumptions and opening their big traps.  Think about what life would be like if you had to deal with a child who has ADHD.  Be concerned that your friend has diabetes and needs to keep strict control but don’t pity them or look down your nose at them like it’s their fault.  You can’t know everything about someone’s life; what factors may have put them where they are now.  Don’t assume that they “did this to themselves”.  If you’re a thin, healthy person who has never had the misfortune of contracting a disease and whose children are perfect in every way…..wait, I don’t think people like that really exist.  I guess I’m fantasizing. 

1 comment:

  1. I like the saying I once heard: Thin people aren't thin because they're virtuous; they're thin because they're lucky!
    I wish the media would check the research before mouthing all the platitudes about "eat less, move more" as if that would solve all diabetes problems. There is much research that is increasingly showing that the cause of Type 2 is genetic, but is only expressed in the presence of abundant food, which our Paleolithic ancestors probably never had. So, yes, if you starved yourself and endured the hunger pangs forever, you probably could lose weight, but is that realistic? NO way!
    So the important thing is for you not to blame yourself, but realize that you inherited bum genes, and just do you best to eat as healthy as you can and exercise within your limits, and leave the weight to take care of itself. And come up with some snarky retorts to those rude morons who make comments.

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