Tuesday 15 February 2011

Safe Haven

Diabetes has always made me feel flawed . . . . like the human equivalent of a factory second.

I often go back to sleep and leave my lows untreated hoping diabetes will take my life and free my family from the burden of future complications.

I lie about my A1c results to my wife.

I'm afraid that one day at the same time I'll be planning my son's graduation and my daughter's funeral.

I wish my brother had diabetes too.

I'm a mom of a T1. I no longer want grandchildren. I don't want this disease passed on to another generation

The comments above were in response to a recent post written by Kerri Sparling, a well-known diabetes blogger, diabetes advocate and fellow ‘host’ of Type 1 diabetes herself, when she encouraged her readers to comment anonymously on her blog and disclose something they want the world to hear, while remaining unknown.

It was an opportunity to say something which has hidden away in your mind; too edgy, too taboo and too controversial to say out loud. It was an opportunity to just say something – anything - which people wanted to say. It was an opportunity to just put it ‘out there’ and allow the Universe to swallow it up.

A problem shared is a problem halved. Isn’t that how the saying goes?

I was expecting to see some heavy comments because lets face it, diabetes in the very nature of being a hidden, chronic and apparently ‘choosy’ condition, lends itself beautifully to ‘putting on a brave face’, tackling the ups and downs and cheerily telling people that “things are OK, thanks for asking”.

I mean really in how many situations can you turn around and say “you know what, I feel like I’m drowning in a world of information and failure”, when asked by a friend how you’re doing? Particularly as we live in a culture where ‘staying positive’ is so widely advocated and we all seem to feel this social and moral obligation to be seen to be coping with the disease.

But reading some of these comments made me ache; more than I imagined and more than I had prepared for. Many stopped me in my tracks and some brought me to tears.


I would love to be able to say that I felt sad for the people who wrote them; that my tears were ones of sympathy. But I think the real truth comes down to the fact that I can relate to many of the comments on Kerri’s blog. The reality is diabetes is tough. It takes no prisoners and can stop you in your tracks. It can make you feel alone and a little lost. It can take over your life.

This is why we need each other and this is why we need somewhere to let go of things we feel, think or need to say.

This is what this community is all about; having somewhere to do just that. I am glad that people were brave enough and courageous enough to say what they felt – no matter what it was.

I feel proud – once again – of the community we belong to and the honesty, strength and integrity we show each and every day we live with this condition. I also feel glad that the people who left these comments had an opportunity and a safe haven to do so.

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