The lack of understanding and awareness around diabetes can be INCREDIBLY frustrating for people living with diabetes.
I frequently get asked questions along the line of: ‘are you supposed to be eating that?’, ‘do have diabetes because you used to be fat?’. Or statements like; ‘if you stop eating carbs you’ll reverse your diabetes’ or ‘all you have to do is inject insulin!’.
If you get fed up of people’s arrogance about your diabetes, keep reading!
Why do people question you about your condition?
Unfortunately, a lot of people do not fully understand diabetes and will make assumptions based on what they have heard through other sources or the news.
Many people cannot comprehend how much work goes into looking after yourself when living with diabetes, the amount of decisions we have to make everyday, and the fact that there are no days off. We can’t just go on holiday for the day, this is not something to neglect, it’s always there in the background.
Keep reading for my tips on how to channel your frustration…
How to deal with your frustration
- Acknowledge that frustration can be a good thing!
- Feeling annoyed can be a good thing because it shows that you are passionate,
BUT you must channel your frustration in the correct way.
- For example, rather than causing an argument, try to educate the person. They are MUCH more likely to listen to you if you speak to them with respect, rather than getting annoyed (I know from personal experience this is hard sometimes!)
2. One of my favourite quotes; ‘don’t listen to people you wouldn’t go to for advise’
- If the person is not open to learning more about your condition and just wants to be judgemental – it is their problem, not yours.
- You don’t have to constantly explain yourself. Here is one of my examples – An ex-coworker would ALWAYS make comments to me about how I shouldn’t be eating carbohydrates with my lunch, and if I stopped ‘my diabetes would go away’. At first I would get SO frustrated, but then I eventually released, why am I letting her comments get to me? Its my body, I know what is best for my body and I know for a fact that I am right, and she is wrong. I told her that she needed to read up on diabetes and stop making inappropriate comments.
- So now every time people make comments to me, I laugh inside. This person has no idea what they are talking about and frankly sounds really stupid.
- So next time someone makes a ridiculous remark to you about your diabetes, and is not open to educate themselves about diabetes, I want you to take a step back and think. Who is the person that sounds stupid right now? I can tell you for certain it is not you.
- Channel your anger into other things
- Go to the gym, go for a walk, have a relaxing bath, do whatever makes you feel calm because this is beneficial to you. Look after yourself and do something positive for yourself, you deserve it!
- If you’re feeling really overwhelmed (what we call ‘diabetic burnout’), go and talk to someone you can offload to – even feel free to email me and we can rant together 🙂
- Learn 3 phrases
- This is one of the most useful tools I personally use in situations like these.
- Learn a couple of phrases that you can use whenever people make comments about your condition.
- ‘I have an autoimmune disease which means I have to pay a little more attention to my lifestyle’.
- ‘Thank you for your concern, but I know how to carbohydrate count, so it is safe for me to eat this meal.’
- ‘There are different types of diabetes, and unfortunately mine cannot be cured/reversed.’
- Remember that the purpose of these phrases is to help you if you’re feeling anxious and do not know what to say. Don’t feel the need to fully explain yourself all the time. If you are feeling uncomfortable about a topic, tell the person you feel uncomfortable and you would like to speak about something else.
- Not everyone is educated about diabetes, people make assumptions about things they do not understand.
- Use your time to educate rather than argue, the person might just want to learn what it is like to live with diabetes.
- We can only make a difference by raising awareness!
6. Seek further help and advice
- As I said above, if you are really struggling to deal with feeling questioned about your diabetes, please talk to someone. – anyone you are comfortable with.
- You owe it to yourself, don’t let other people impact your life in such a detrimental way. I did when I was younger and when I eventually spoke up, I released I am not alone. There are SO many people out there who are going through the same problem, and want to help you. Do it for yourself, take that first step.
Thank you so much for reading this blog! Please email me any other useful tips you use when speaking to people about living with diabetes.
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