Sharing can be a good thing. We teach our young children to share their toys in the hope that they will grow up to be unselfish, caring adults. (It also helps to prevent them from having a screaming fit and popping some unsuspecting tot in the snoot for taking their Play Doh, which can be somewhat embarrassing.) We share so many things; secrets, clothes, gossip, sorrow and popcorn, friendship, joy, annoyance, our favorite books and our space. There are also many things that maybe we shouldn’t share; germs, our social security number, test answers and chewing gum to name a few.
The decision to share the fact that we have diabetes is something that each person handles in their own way. There are some who choose not to share that information for a variety of reasons. That’s ok. It can be difficult to discuss something as personal as our health. Some people may be embarrassed to admit that they have this disease or maybe they’re ashamed. There is definitely a stigma attached to type 2 diabetes. I hope that someday that’s not the case.
I have some trouble understanding why someone wouldn’t want to share this information because I don’t feel that way at all. I figure that the more people understand this disease, the better. Talking about it helps me to cope with all that I’m dealing with. I can’t do this alone. However, one should develop limits.
I was once a “the world needs to know every little thing about my diabetes and how I’m doing” zealot. It wasn’t pretty, I’m sure, but I couldn’t help it! There was so much information going into my head that some of it simply had to come out or I’d surely explode. Woe to the person who asked me how I was doing with my diabetes because I’d tell them….in spades. Does everyone need to know, in minute detail, what I ate and how it affected my blood sugar? No. Is it necessary to explain to the woman standing behind me in line at the bank that exercise would help my condition immensely, if only I could get into a routine? Decidedly not.
Meet my husband, Ray. I was so lucky when I met this man. He’s wonderful in so many ways, including being the most supportive person in my life. We had been dating for about a year when I was diagnosed. He lived through my zealot period and came out relatively unscathed. There would be times when I would go on and on and on about this idea or that frustration; telling him what I thought and how I felt. He listened and encouraged me. At one point I noticed that there were times when his eyes would glaze over and he’d appear to be nodding off. Hmmmm, I wonder why? Maybe he didn’t get enough sleep the night before. It couldn’t have anything to do with the fact that I wouldn’t shut up, could it? Bless him. He put up with my obsession (and married me anyway!). Every diabetic should be so lucky. Before you begin to think that you need to start an intervention in order to save poor Ray from my tirades, rest assured that I’m much better now, at least I think I am. Maybe you’d better ask him to be sure.
What has changed? Several things. First, I’ve “grown up”. I’ve learned a lot and have a better grip on my condition and how to deal with it. I don’t have to talk about it all the time, although it’s never far from my thoughts. Second, I’ve found other diabetics to talk to. Third, I started this blog. I truly feel that sharing this part of our lives is important, both for education and support. There are many online diabetes communities where you can get support and information. The one that I choose to participate in is the Diabetic Living Facebook page. I love the magazine and I’m on Facebook too much so it’s a good fit for me. People will post their struggles and successes and receive understanding, ideas or just a pat on the back. We share our fasting glucose numbers on Wednesdays, if we choose, and it helps. It really does.
The biggest help to me has been this blog. I got the idea in January and was on the fence about whether to do it, or not. I received encouragement from a fellow diabetic blogger, Bob Pedersen. (You can find his blog at T Minus Two) Thank you Bob! In my blog I can take care of two things at once; talking about my life with diabetes and practicing my writing. When I write about my diabetes it allows me look at things through new eyes. I get a fresh view of what I’ve gone through and how I’ve handled it. It encourages me to improve. I enjoy writing. I have no idea if anyone is reading this stuff. I have no idea whether or not my writing is any good. It doesn’t really matter in the end. The point is to have a place to get it all out. Having somewhere to vent or rejoice or bemoan is priceless (and Ray’s eyeballs aren’t nearly as glazed as they once were). So thank you, dear Interweb, for giving me a place to release my inner zealot!
Let me close by encouraging you to share. If you’re a diabetic, you need to seek out someplace to find support and encouragement. It might be a support group or nutrition class. Maybe you can find an online community to join. Don’t be shy about sharing. It’s a good thing.