The Diabetes Police
Time and time again I see and hear from what I have nicknamed the ‘diabetes police’. The ‘diabetes police’ is the wife that rings me before her husbands appointment to tell me he hasn’t been sticking to his plan and could I have a word with him. Its the mother who tells me her daughter is going off the rails, and needs to have a ‘dressing down’ as they are not taking their diabetes seriously.
Suffocating with Kindness
I know deep down, when you have someone in your life who you love and care for who has diabetes, your only wish for them is to make the diabetes go away. Because this is not possible, you ultimately feel utterly useless. So you try to do everything and anything to make them live everyday with diabetes as healthy as possible. But this can end up as an over kill of kindness by suffocating your loved one with fear tactics, reprimanding and constantly monitoring their every move.
The ‘Perfect’ Diabetic
This can alienate many people with diabetes and put them under pressure to appear to be the ‘perfect’ diabetic. They might hide certain aspects of their diabetes that they maybe struggling with, or pretending everything is ok, rather than end up disappointing you and also to possibly avoid being shouted at.
Understanding Both Sides
Its really important to be understanding from both sides. While the ‘diabetes police’ sometimes can be overbearing, It is only because they love and care for you, and want the best for you. Not sharing with them how overwhelming some days can be with diabetes, the challenges you face, the fears that you have for the future, because you maybe protecting them from how you really feel, may not be ideal either. Protecting them by shutting them out, might seem like you are avoiding dealing with your diabetes, that you are not taking care of yourself and may end up with you enduring more wrath. By opening up, you are also creating an opportunity in which to educate and help someone who doesn’t understand diabetes to support you better.
Why You Should Tell Someone with Diabetes you Love them
When you don’t have diabetes you should try to be more understanding of the challenges that have to be faced by someone living with diabetes. If you are finding this difficult, ask more about what it is like, and listen no matter how hard you might find it to hear the answers . When you have diabetes sometimes just being allowed to blow off a bit of steam and being in a safe place with someone to do that can be a very healing place to be.
You may read up and feel you are very knowledgeable on diabetes, but you will never be an ‘expert’ on diabetes unless you actually have it yourself. So shoving information in a persons face who has diabetes, no matter how helpful you feel it may be, as to what they should or should not be doing, may actually be counterproductive.
Don’t offer advice when it is not welcome, just listen. Just be there. Let a person know with diabetes, you will be there, no matter what, no terms or conditions applied.
Be honest, talk more, don’t be afraid to say exactly how you feel, this should be on both sides. The person you can cry with, be angry with, be frustrated with, is often the person who you trust the most. Be that person.
Tell someone with diabetes how much you admire them and respect them.
But most of all, tell them how much you love them….. diabetes or no diabetes. Its the person you love first and foremost, outside of any diabetes. Don’t forget to remind them of that…every single day.