My last post was about the awesome event that our local chapter put on called A Day of Hope and Health! One of the presentations from that event was on the psychological effect diabetes can have on, not only the one with diabetes, but their loved ones as well! Susan Guzman of the Behavioral Diabetes Institute gave a great talk and both my husband and I really enjoyed listening to her and what she had to say.
There was literature available about her institute, as there usually is at these types of events.. one of which was a very small (business card size) brochure that really hit home for me! It was called “Diabetes Etiquette for people who DON”T have diabetes”!
Since, as you know, I don’t have diabetes, I read it and after reading it, I knew I had to share it with my friends on the DOC! If you all have seen this before, I apologize, but if not, I thought you might be able to share with your friends and loved ones. It, once again, sheds more light on how what we say and do affects those of you that have to live 24/7 with Type 1 Diabetes.
- Don’t offer unsolicited advice about my eating or other aspects of diabetes. You may mean well, but giving advice about someone’s personal habits, especially when it is not requested, isn’t very nice. Besides, many of the popularly held beliefs about diabetes (“you should just stop eating sugar”) are out of date or just plain wrong.
- Do realize and appreciate that diabetes is hard work. Diabetes management is a full-time job that I didn’t apply for, didn’t want and can’t quit. It involves thinking about what, when and how much I eat, while also factoring in exercise, medication, stress, blood sugar monitoring, and so much more – each and every day.
- Don’t tell me horror stories about your grandmother or other people with diabetes you have heard about. Diabetes is scary enough, and stories like these are not reassuring! Besides, we now know that with good management, odds are good you can live a long, healthy and happy life with diabetes
- DO offer to join me in making healthy lifestyle changes. Not having to be alone with efforts to change, like starting an exercise program, is one of the most powerful ways that you can be helpful. After all, healthy lifestyle changes can benefit everyone!
- DON’T look so horrified when I check my blood sugars or give myself an injection. It is not a lot of fun for me either. Checking blood sugars and taking medications are things I must do to manage diabetes well. If I have to hide while I do so, it makes it much harder for me.
- DO ask how you might be helpful. If you want to be supportive, there may be lots of little things I would probably appreciate your help with. However, what I really need may be very different than what you think I need, so please ask first.
- `DON”T offer thoughtless reassurances. When you first learn about my diabetes, you may want to reassure me by saying things like, “hey it could be worse; you could have cancer!” This won’t make me feel better. And the implicit message seems to be that diabetes is no big deal. However, diabetes(like cancer) is A BIG DEAL.
- DO be supportive of my efforts for self-care. Help me set up an environment for success by supporting healthy food choices. Please honor my desiciion to decline a particular food, even when you really want me to try it. You are most helpful when you are not being a source of unnecessary temptation.
- DON”T peek at or comment on my blood glucose numbers without asking me first. These numbers are private unless I choose to share them… It is normal to have numbers that are sometimes too low or too high. Your unsolicited comments about these numbers can add to the disappointment, frustration and anger I already feel.
- DO offer your love and encouragement. As I work hard to manage diabetes successfully, sometimes just knowing that you care can be very helpful and motivating.
If you would like to learn more you can visit their website at http://www.behavioraldiabetes.org