According to the American Diabetes Association, 8.3% of the American population has diabetes. Wow! Do you realize how many people that is?? (Like, a lot.).
And yet with such vast statistics, people still don't seem to know how to talk to someone who is diagnosed. Often times harmless curiosity, concern or interest can come out so wrong, and having diabetes is already hard enough. In line with this epidemic, I thought I'd divulge everything I wish people didn't say to me.
No more advice:
I have been diabetic for 18 years, but for some reason people always come out the woodwork thinking they have some magical understanding of exactly how I should be taking care of myself. Whenever I'm eating something that has even a gram of sugar in it (say a delicious macaron or even something healthy like an apple), I always get, "OMG should you be eating that?"
This is just as bad as going to a restaurant and getting in someone’s face like, “Oh, are you SURE you should be having a glass of wine with dinner?” I think there’s a high chance I’d get 86’d from any place I did that at. What if I stood in line at McDonalds and asked people if they should be buying a Mc-whatever? Would that be cool? I would never do that, people!
I promise you -- I'm an adult and I’m doing a good job on the diabetes grind on my own. What does a girl have to do to prove she’s handling herself nowadays? Wait, did I mismatch my socks again? Oh, okay BUT STILL.
Stop the heroin jokes if you see me injecting:
Seriously dudes-that-think-you’re-real-clever. They are so not original.
I cannot diagnose you:
Having diabetes doesn't make me a medical doctor. If someone actually thinks they have diabetes they should probably see a physician who can run tests and gets paid to go over symptoms and stuff. That seems reasonable, right?
In the meantime, I wish people would stop panicking like it’s the end of the world just because they had a candy bar and heard about Paula Deen. I always get asked, "I peed like, 20 times today. Do you think I have it?” I don’t know! I'm not the Miss Cleo of diabetes.
I also wish people would stop asking to use my test kit to diagnose them. Does anyone know how much test strips actually cost? Prices are way worse at the pharmacy than at the gas pump. I’m not selling myself short, but I can only do as much for you as WebMD can. Please keep the pee cycles to yourself.
Please stop telling me about someone you know who died, was amputated, or went blind from diabetes:
I really have no idea why people tell me this stuff. The first instance I remember was at a diner when I was seven, and it’s been happening ever since. A waiter saw my mom giving me an injection and was like, “Oh, that’s too bad. My uncle went blind from diabetes. She’s so young, too.” Let’s just say after that good Ol’ Mammadukes let it be known we were never returning to a Denny’s again! (But not before finishing those delicious cheesy hashbrowns).
Creepy men—stop using my illness as an excuse to talk to me:
Just because we both happen to be out, and you happen to see me injecting or testing my blood sugars, doesn't mean that we have a "connection," or that you should use it to come hit on me. Seriously, "Oh, are you diabetic? Where are you from?" is the worst pick-up line ever, and just lets me know how officially creepy you are. I mean, what do you expect me to be like? “Oh, you noticed? Here. Let’s go put a ring on it.”
And on that note if you are a stranger, please do not ask serial questions:
Close friends and family members should ask a lot of questions. It's important for them to know what's going on in case something awful happens like I pass out in their company. (Never passed out yet. Fingers crossed!). However, strangers, acquaintances and frenemies -- this does not apply to you. I thank you for your interest, but if we only just met and you really want to know all about diabetes, just Google it.
I don't want to relive my disease more than I have to, a.k.a. I don’t want to talk about my personal information with some bored stranger on the subway who’s just trying to pass the time. Good gosh. I never thought I’d say this, but can we please just talk about the weather?
Call the papers! Not every overweight person has diabetes. Not every person with diabetes is overweight.
Stop telling me how happy you are you don’t have diabetes:
People see I’m diabetic and they’ll be like, “You have diabetes? I’m so happy I don’t have it. It must be hard.” Yeah. You know what? It can be hard. But honestly, it doesn’t hold me back or make my life worth less. In fact, I think I’m doing pretty good, thanks.
No, that holistic remedy doesn’t cure diabetes:
There is no cure for type 1 diabetes on the market. Believe me I wish there was! But there isn't, and that herba-something you saw on a 5 a.m. infomercial will not magically re-activate my pancreas. If it wasn't a scam, Oprah would be all over daytime T.V. screaming, "Everybody gets a cure!" to room full of diabetics. That would be so awesome.