I'm researching how diabetics are treated by non-diabetics in terms of social policing (should you eat that) as well as diabetes regarding to space. By this I mean, how do people respond to you openly discussing and treating your diabetes (shots, pumps, glucose monitor, etc). I'm looking for input for both t1 and t2... please help!!!

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Most of the time, it is no big deal - though dispelling myths can become a full time job. A lot of them are waiting for me to "get better" - which can't happen because of beta cell burn out.

There seems to be a spectrum: trying to be helpful - apathetic - trying to be helpful, but end up causing harm - actively being jerks.

Most people seem to fall in the "apathetic" to "trying to be helpful, but end up causing harm" range. As John said, dispelling myths and dealing with ignorance can become a full time job. And some people say and do some horrifically terrible things (oh, I have stories). Very few people "get it" enough to let me take care of myself in the way that I know works.

It's incredibly annoying to get comments from people about what I can/can't eat. Especially from people who have no clue about the disease (almost everyone) and might, for their next trick, just stick both feet in their mouths with something like, "Did you eat too much candy as a kid?"

I realize that mostly they're trying to be helpful, but it feels awful. If you're going to bring a pound brick of chocolate cake to the office, just do it. Don't be a bitch and bring me a "sugar-free" (read:toxic junk) "option" (It's not really an "option" if no one else is taking it, now is it?), or make comments when I cut myself a slice.

As for doing blood tests or shots in restaurants, it's a psycho nightmare. I'd so much rather just not do the shot than spend 30 minutes anticipating how people will react, considering their feelings, answering their questions, talking about my disease, turning my life into a meaningless pamphlet for the kind of "healthy living" that I don't even believe in. Just junk. The real innovation of the pump is not that it can give you 1/100th of a unit, but that it doesn't look like a syringe.

I have never, in 50 years, had anyone but my mother, question my diabetic habits--food, insulin, etc. Never even once.

I am big on educating people and I talk (not insistently) about D. The switch to a pump allowed me eat differently, so I explained the new technology. Ha! Ha! I even explained my pump to my eye doc last week.

Social policing has never been any issue for me.

I'm with Spock on this one. No one including my mother has ever said anything to me as far as what I eat or how I treat my D. A woman in the gym locker room the other day asked me if my dexcom receiver in the tallygear pouch was an i phone. She had recently gotten an I phone and liked the design of the pouch. I told her no and then I told her what it was. Turns out her husband is a diabetologist and I had been swimming next to him for the better part of 4 months without him ever noticing the transmitter or commenting on it. We were formally introduced a bit later.
The reality as far as I am concerned is D is what you make it. If you make a big show of testing your blood sugar or taking a shot then people will notice and sometimes comment. If you don't they won't.

One thing that irritates me when I say I can't eat the food on offer at gatherings is the proud response that there is gluten free food available. I eat low carb so gluten free, fat free, 'lite' sugar free foods do not really interest me. It is becoming easier just to become a solitary person.

Ive been surprised by how many people ask, "Are you sure you can eat that?" I'm somewhat overweight, but not always moreso than the questioner. I get the feeling they think I brought this on myself. I would have bought into it as well, before they confirmed antibodies and deemed me Type 1. With the last A1c's at 5.8 and 5.7, I wonder whether my blood sugar isn't under better control than theirs!

Are you researching for a project, or just curious?

I'm T1 & fortunate that friends & family don't police. My husband has tried, usually when out with friends, & I privately told him it p***ed me off no end. I hated it when he called to ask how I was because that assumed I wasn't fine. When first diagnosed, I asked friends if it bothered them to see me test & inject. No one minded, or at least didn't say they did.

If people ask about diabetes, I'm happy to share & am open. But, I don't make DM a subject of conversation. Can't imagine a duller topic than discussing disease.

I don't hide it all. I test all over the place. In line for rides at amusement parks, running, running in races with 100s of people standing around watching, etc. I get a comment every once in a while. I don't restrict myself in terms of things, just volume, carb counting, etc. I had a macadamia cookie @ work once and someone said "should you eat that?" so I told them "I'm running 5 miles when I get home from work and like to have a bite first...." or something like that. I was at a fantasy baseball auction recently, not playing in the league but I used to and they needed someone to draft for them. It was fun and one of the guys, who's very low carb/ P90X had, nonetheless, made some of this apple jack stuff, grain alcohol cinnamon, a bunch of sugar, green jolly ranchers or something like that. When the jar came around, I had a belt and he looked at me sort of horrified "dude, do you know how much sugar is in that?" I'd looked it up and knew it was 3 cups but it makes a bunch so I wasn't totally concerned about the volume of sugar for a slug of it. I also mentioned that my BG was 82 and trending down a shade so it was about what I needed. these are really infrequent and probably not much more than every year or two or three.

hello! this is an interesting post!
for me, theres not much policing by friends or family. i am open about my D so people may ask about my food choices out of curiosity but not policing. except for my mom a bit during holidays, of course, when we are together, but thats what moms do. i tend to go a bit crazy with sweet potato and ANy dessert!
ive never had a problem testing or giving shots in public. ive only had one friend make a face when i tested blood sugar, and i only see her like once a year and shes not used to it. everyone else is REALLY cool about it-im lucky to have great friends who only want to help!
i dont always talk about my D, just to two friends, my besties. one has got chrohns and he helped me out so much at the beginning, knowing about the emotional fallout of having a chronic disease.
good luck with your project!

Thank you all! This is for a project I am doing. I am a type 1 and have experienced social policing from both my friends and family, "should you eat that?" as well as people refraining to invite me out to dinner or places where there is food they think I cannot eat. I've also even had a waitress ask me to not test my BG at the table because it was disturbing the other patrons. My response was not exactly polite, to say the least.
However, I would love to use more people's experiences than just my own and all of your responses have helped!

I can honestly say I have never once in my 13+ years with type 1 worried what anyone would think when I checked my blood sugar or took a shot. I once had a teacher in high school yell at me for eating in class, but I shut him down by loudly saying (with a full mouth, no less) that I was diabetic and wasn't anxious to die. That being said, I think I may genuinely miss the comments or looks people may make about my shots. I do know that some people get squeamish about it, but I usually shrug and tell them not to look.

On the whole, my friends are really interested in what I think about when I eat or when I check my blood sugars, which is pretty cool because I have the opportunity to stop any stupid comments before they start. Occasionally, if someone does say something like "hey, aren't you diabetic?" if I go to get ice cream or eat a cookie, I'll say that I should be eating it just as much as they should.

Now that I'm on the pump, people tend to be a little weirder because the diabetes reminder is always there. For instance, my boyfriend freaks out whenever he accidentally bumps my pump because he's convinced it will break. I also had a friend told me it weirded him out when I would waggle the pump at him in frustration. I find it all very funny, as if I was really worried that it would break if I looked at it wrong I certainly wouldn't trust it with my life. "Treating" my diabetes has, however, lost some of it's punch as I no longer get to inject myself in front of a waiting audience :P

The most offensive things I've ever had happen are usually only offensive because of WHO is doing the offending. I can handle people I don't know (like customers at my job or randos on the street) saying things like "If you just take cinnamon, you won't need insulin," but it REALLY bothers me when people who I thought were smarter than that (or who had at least been around me long enough for me to have dispelled that myth) say things like that. Two stories come to mind:

1) I had a coworker who I would have considered one of my closer friends tell me that she watched a documentary on netflix where they said that changing to a plant based diet cured something like 95% of diabetics. When I responded with a shocked "But..not my kind of diabetes.." she just walked away with a smug "95%!" I was floored and it took a few days before I was ok talking to her again. I thought she was smarter than that and it kind of hurt that she assumed that some documentary on netflix knew more about my diabetes that I did.

2) A different coworker once told me that I shouldn't put milk in my coffee because the lactose is what was causing my blood sugar spikes because she read that lactose causes a disproportionate release of insulin than other sugars with similar carb counts. When I responded that that was unlikely as my pancreas didn't produce ANY insulin (as an offhand comment, really, I thought she knew) she said "Wait. NONE? Like at all? Are you sure?" Again, I was offended by the implication that she knew more about my diabetes than I did.

Otherwise, my general impression is that people really think they know more than you for one reason or another and they want to help in their own misguided way. I should mention that I work at a whole foods so my exposure to "alternative treatments" is probably higher than the average bear's...




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