I read a post on Facebook today (which had been posted by someone called Michelle through the patient voice) which read as follows:
I wish people would understand the difference between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes. I also wish people would understand that I did nothing to cause my Type 1 Diabetes which i got when I was 2 and half years old, 28 years ago! Do you agree?
I must say the post drove me mad! Why? Simply because as a type two diabetic who is admittedly a little over my ideal weight (but not obese) she is making a sweeping assumption about ALL type two diabetics. Furthermore, how does she know each type two’s individual circumstances. I mean who would have thought I would be borderline, then told to eat as normal only to become type two? It is true to say that weight and carrying too much of it DOES increase significantly your chances of getting type two diabetes. But just because you are over weight does not mean you WILL get diabetes. And similarly being of normal weight or underweight does not guarantee you WILL or WON’T get type 1 diabetes. Such a generalised sweeping statement is in itself discrimination, and she should know that diabetes (like most other health problems) carry a certain amount of stigma and discrimination!
So why did Michelle feel she had to air her views to upset people? Because she obviously think type one diabetes is more important and her needs are greater than anyone with type two. She obviously also underestimates the fact that some people are more prone to carry weight, for example my son eats lots of fatty foods and is as thin as a rake, while my mum only had to look at food to gain it. (BTW I try to educate my son to eat healthier as he could well be a TOFI (thin outside fat inside)). Additionally some medical conditions such as Thyroid problems (which I also have), can cause weight gain. Also some people with mental health issues find weight a real problem! So while she is ‘jabbing’ type two diabetics in her statement, the broom also does weep wider.
I read a diabetic blog about a young girl in school who was verbally abused by someone because she needed to inject her insulin, but hey she’d type one diabetic so you can be insulting to her, she deserves it! Wrong! No one ever ever deserves bullying or being made to feel inadequate at all! Yes there is time for jokes, and yes a laugh in necessary but there also needs to be a line between laughter and education and real life!
So in closing my message to Michelle should she read this is: Think carefully about what you say when it comes to people. No one is better than any one else (and I mean no one). And to say type two diabetics are lesser people because they ‘ate’ is not only ridiculous but insulting! I think an apology may be in order don’t you?