So, it’s November, diabetes awareness month. I have been living with Type 1 Diabetes for over 42 years, and all I can think about is how disconnected I feel to this month. If I don’t feel connected to this month, how do others feel, and what is this month about?
I know some people feel connected, and some think that they must participate. My thoughts about not feeling connected started a few weeks ago with a bad case of writers’ block.
In general, most people are aware that diabetes exists. Some are too aware of our illness, always putting their two cents in where it is not wanted. I see a lot of organizations using this month to hand out information to the general public about what diabetes is and the warning signs.
Now, don’t get me wrong I think this is great and we need the general public to be informed about diabetes and how to prevent diabetes. There are some activities online that help people stay motivated like #BiGbluetest run by the Diabetes Hands Foundation, D-Mom’s Hope in the Hand project, and Wear Blue on Fridays created by Cherise Shockley to name a few. You can find out about these and other activities at www.projectbluenovember.com
These events seem to be overshadowed by larger originations that using this month to raise money for diabetes research, which I also consider a worthwhile and noble cause. While other, for-profit companies use it to promote their companies subtly.
I know what I’m writing seems a bit pessimistic or maybe cynical, but I live with diabetes every day and having a month that focuses on the fact that I have a chronic illness for an entire month makes me feel a little sad, and I doubt that I am alone in this.
I think if they changed the focus of this month to understanding diabetes. I will still feel a little sad, but personally grateful and cared about. I spend a lot of my time helping individuals, couples, and families understand diabetes and what their loved ones who live with diabetes go through.
They could call it “Understanding Diabetes Month.” Everyone from medical professionals, family members to the parents of children living with diabetes could learn about what it means to be genuinely supportive. Those who are living with it could have coaching around what kind of support they might need to lessen the weight of living with the challenging demands of living or growing up with this illness.
In the end, I am glad that we have a month, but maybe we have to dig a little deeper and work on understanding what loved ones living with diabetes go through.
Because the holidays are rapidly approaching, I have several previous blogs on handling holidays, click here to read one.
For parents who are struggling or want a deeper understanding of what their child living with diabetes is going through or will be, please check out my new book: “Parenting Children with Diabetes.” On sale at amazon. https://amzn.to/2VHPccf
If you feel you need help dealing with the emotional or management aspects of diabetes, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Eliot LeBow, LCSW, CDE
All the advice included in this blog is therapeutic in nature and should not be considered medical advice. Before making any changes to your diabetes maintenance program, please consult with your primary physician or endocrinologist.