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Diabetic shaming

Diabetic shaming

In this day and age, health and fitness are potent signifiers of worth and value. We live in a world where people can create an “online life”, where they post photos of a perfect diet, perfect fitness routine, and perfect body. These “perfect” images are rarely a reflection of the truth. It has reached a point where people judge others based on their lifestyle, health, and body type.

This leads us to the idea of “shaming.” We know about body shaming, fat shaming, food shaming, but what about diabetes shaming? Many people who suffer from Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes have experienced shaming in one way, shape or form. Let’s break it down and take a look at why diabetes shaming happens and how you can deal with it:

Why does it happen?

The stigma attached to Type 2 diabetes especially, seems to be related closely to body image, weight, and health habits. According to healthgrades.com, a study shows that 4 out of 5 people who deal with diabetes have felt stigmatized because of the condition.

People without the disease can jump to the inaccurate conclusion that because a person has type 2 diabetes they may eat a poor diet, be overweight, or have allowed themselves to develop the condition in some capacity. This is really unfortunate, and everyone deserves to be respected and cared for, no matter what health conditions they face.

Because there is so much literature and public health info based around preventing diabetes with a healthy diet and lots of exercises, people jump to the conclusion that diabetes automatically indicates an irresponsible lifestyle, but this is not always(or even usually) the case. Uninformed people are most likely to shame those with diabetes. They may not know that anyone can develop it, even those who aren’t overweight and follow a healthy lifestyle.Even if no one has outright said or done anything to make a diabetes sufferer feel shamed, they can sometimes feel shame and guilt simply by the way society talks about weight, diet, and diabetes.

How to face diabetes shaming

- If you have diabetes, type 1 or 2, remember your disease does not define you. You are not your illness. It is simply something you live with, just like some people live with anxiety, arthritis or heart conditions. You are still you!

- If you feel as though someone is shaming you or judging you, just remember, they are uninformed and perhaps their judgments are reflection of their own insecurities and not of you

- Talk to that person, explain to them how the disease works and what it means to you

- Talk to others with diabetes, they will be able to share their own stories and their own coping mechanisms

- Make sure your family and friends know the facts and know how to talk to you regarding your illness. This will ensure that you always have a safe, judgement-free place to go, you can turn to the people who love and understand you!

- Don’t allow the negative feelings to consume you. If someone makes a comment, address it, kindly put them straight, and move on

Diabetes (both types) is a very common condition, brought about by a whole range of different factors, some relating to lifestyle and some not. It is nothing to be ashamed about and you can help those around you by educating them and helping to take the needless shame out of this condition.

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