The Diabetes Democracy

I am a type 1 diabetic.

I am a person living with Type 1 diabetes.


For some, the latter is something they are more comfortable with being addressed as. For me, I don’t really mind either. We live in a new world of patient advocacy where a lot of fresh ideas, hashtags and motions are constantly being introduced. However, in all the excitement and gusto of what advocacy brings, one mustn’t forget that ‘one size’ doesn’t fit all. Especially when it comes to something as personal and individual as Type 1 Diabetes. Just like in treatment plans - what may work for me, may not work for someone else and i think we need to do a little better in respecting that fact.


Where individuals come from, their backgrounds, their past, their stories will affect their choices, and none of us have the right to put everyone into a ‘T1D’ squad and think that everyone may feel the way we do. I think if we speak so much about Language Matters on social media, we must also be careful and mindful to not generalise statements in an overarching ‘we’ or ‘us’ bracket.  It’s easy to sometimes think that we are all people with diabetes, but that doesn’t change the fact that we are all also very different.


What I’ve personally seen, is sometimes when we get so swung by energy and create this unconscious consensus of what ‘diabetics want’ - we are sometimes choosing for people and speaking for them. A quieter person who may not nessecarily agree, will get completely sidelined. I may have done this in the past, but I really understood the importance of this - when I was sidelined by powerful voices that didn’t represent what I felt. There could be 95% of people who may agree on a certain approach - but the other 5% that may not, are still valid and shouldn’t be shunned.


When I speak about anything related to T1D, I am first speaking for myself, the people I have interacted with, and the bubble I come from. I am not speaking for everyone! You just can’t! There is no mandate, and no rule that says ‘we all’ must agree on particular words, particular ideologies or for that matter particular treatment choices - the only thing we all must agree on is how important insulin is.


When it comes to Type 1 Diabetes, the constitution does not go ‘we the people’, but rather ‘I the person’... I genuinely believe that we need to understand the “democracy of diabetes” a little better and realise that we are all very different - the only thing I can say with certainty is that we all have a faulty pancreas!


That’s the only thing you can confidently use ‘WE’ for! Otherwise - try ‘ME’ , let’s start from there....


x

J.S





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