22 different things to remember
There’s an article that’s been made its rounds through the diabetes community this past weekend, titled “22 Things To Remember If Your Loved One Suffers From Type 1 Diabetes”. The author’s bio promotes a “7-day plan” and website to “stop feeling crappy” in just 10 minutes a day. I don’t trust the author – nor do I trust the site that hosts this (along with a plethora of similarly-titled clickbait) and I therefore won’t link to it directly. But you can find it via Google at that last link if you so desire.
Considering how many times the article has been shared, I imagine that lots of people must agree with the twenty-two things listed. That’s understandable; everyone has and is entitled to their own opinions and I respect that. But I got angrier and angrier as I read this list of assumptions and sympathy-craves, and quickly determined this list is simply not for me.
So I decided to create my own list:
1. Don’t treat me any different than you would treat anyone else.
2. Don’t sympathize.
3. Don’t be protective unless I request protection.
4. Don’t try to be a cheerleader unless I visibly need cheering.
5. Don’t assume… anything. Don’t make assumptions about what I’ve done right or wrong, what I should or shouldn’t do, or what others may or may not have said to me.
6. If you’re are genuinely confused, ask me. It’s the only way for you to learn, and I’m happy to teach. Even if you fear the question may be taken the wrong way, I can discern genuine concern and curiosity from judgment. Ask.
7. Diabetes does not make me fragile — physically, mentally, or emotionally. There’s no need to tiptoe around me.
8. I do not see myself as a victim. Please don’t treat or describe me as one.
9. I have a medical condition and I tend to it. But I am not suffering from it. I lead a happy life.
10. I am not hypersensitive. I can dish out sarcasm as well as I can take it. Think you’ve got a real zinger? Bring it on!
11. I am not ashamed. But I do value privacy and modesty every once in awhile – who doesn’t?
12. Don’t be my shield or my bodyguard. I can stand up to adversity on my own. I am not weak.
13. Yes, diabetes is with me 24/7/365. But so are my toenails. I do not tend to my toenails with non-stop undivided attention, nor do I do this with my diabetes. There’s much more to me than that.
14. I am me. I am not, collectively, “they”. Drawing conclusions about my behavior because of my dysfunctional pancreas is as senseless as drawing conclusions about a woman’s intellect because of her blonde hair. I am an individual with my own merits, my own personality, my own fears, and my own faults.
15. Though I accept my Type 1 diabetes, I still I wish it weren’t there. Don’t be afraid or ashamed to admit that you desire the same.
16. I genuinely appreciate your willingness to support me in diabetes-related walks, fundraisers, and campaigns. You have no obligation to do this, and I never want to make you feel like you have to endorse me. There are many causes worthy of support, and mine is no more important than the others.
17. If you don’t know how to respond or react, follow my cue. I won’t lead you down the wrong path.
18. If my cues suggest I need help, please offer help. I know I’m not perfect, and I’m not infallible.
19. I know it could be worse, and I know there are people who have it worse. I will not exercise my legally-entitled “diabetic privilege” to obtain services or opportunities that are intended for others who need them more than me.
20. I am motivated by life, not by hope. Treatments or options that may become available sometime in the future mean nothing to me right now.
21. I don’t worry about things I can’t control. Doing so will play with one’s emotions and will offer no benefit whatsoever.
22. I am tremendously thankful to have you as a part of my life. Thank you for living The Golden Rule and treating me in the same manner in which you would like me to treat you.