Blood Sugar Trampoline

The Importance of Diabetes Language – My Own

This week I’m  taking part in the 7th annual Diabetes Blog Week, which runs from 16th to 20th May. Founded by Karen at Bitter Sweet Diabetes.

Language is so important in all aspects of life, isn’t it. Sticks and stones, and all that, really is a load of BS (and I don’t mean blood sugars). We advocate for the importance of using non-stigmatizing, inclusive and non-judgmental language when speaking about or to people with diabetes.

But last year, I realised that I have not been including myself in that advise – I, quite arrogantly, thought I was exempt. I mean, how could I, a fellow person with diabetes, offend other people with diabetes! Turns out, 23 years of living with diabetes only makes me an expert in MY diabetes.

I ventured out of my type 1 diabetes bubble last summer and met so many people who were just like me, except different – they had other types of diabetes. I listened to how they felt about their diabetes and about how people with type 1 diabetes inadvertently made them feel. I’ve always been concerned about how I was overshadowed and neglected as a adult with type 1 diabetes but realising how people with type 2 diabetes felt when all they get in mainstream media is judgement and stigma while people with type 1 diabetes gets sympathy and empathy.

How many times have I stated that type 1 diabetes isn’t caused by lifestyle? More than I can count. Since last year I have been very aware that I’m not doing anyone, least of all anyone with diabetes, any favours by using this language.

Language matters and I’m starting with my own. Since last year, I choose words that will not confirm any opinion that any diabetes is caused by being overweight or any factor of lifestyle. I explain my type 1 diabetes as what it is and not what it isn’t. I won’t say that my diabetes isn’t caused by lifestyle. I say it has no known cause.

I explain that type 2 diabetes has no known cause either. It has risk factors and I list ALL of them starting with the lesser known ones.

23 years of living with diabetes may seem like a long time but I still have a lot to learn.


7 thoughts on “The Importance of Diabetes Language – My Own

  1. “I explain my type 1 diabetes as what it is and not what it isn’t.”

    That’s a great way to think about how to use language in relation to diabetes.

    Love the name of your blog and I’ve bookmarked it in my Feedly Reader. I look forward to reading more of your posts.

  2. You are so right…I will be 23 years this December and I am definitely the expert in MY diabetes but no one else’s. Well said 🙂

    1. We’re diaversary twins….ish. I’m 23 years since April. I’ve been following your pregnancy too and gosh how I remember my second! So, so, so tired;-)

  3. me too! i’ve had diabetes over 21 years, and i realize there’s always more to learn. and you’re also right… all we really know is our OWN case of diabetes– and sometimes, i really can’t even figure that one out! 🙂

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