The Diabetes Online Community (DOC) was an intimidating place. I am no diabetes expert, which made it daunting to launch into a public conversation among the “real” diabetics out there. You know, the diabetics who have insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitors. The diabetics who take shots and who use complicated math to manage their condition. The diabetics who have blogs, and followers who read their blogs, and who comment on their posts.
Q3: Jumping into the doc can be intimidating…especially for those who are not T1. #dsma
— Bill – iRunDiabetes (@iRunT2D) March 31, 2016
Taking a leap into the DOC as a type 2 diabetic required a couple of years of climbing over juvenile-like apprehension. Why? Because stereotypes shape opinions, and opinions inform actions (and inactions). Sometimes it is not worth the effort.
I generally don’t care what other people think of me, but with diabetes it is different. Diabetes is personal. I often wonder why I don’t remain in my cave like the majority of type 2 diabetics. It’s safe in there, and it’s warm. I too could wrap myself tightly in a comforting blanket of silence.
Type 2s In The DOC
Despite my stupid reservations, the DOC has been kind. Very kind! I still occasionally imagine an apprehension from others, but it is never hostile. At worst, I feel like the out-of-state second-cousin who comes to the family reunion every few years. I don’t dress like them, I don’t talk like them, and I never quite get the inside jokes about Uncle Mike. But, we are related.
There are wonderful type 1 diabetics and advocates in the DOC who are genuinely interested in understanding type 2 diabetes. And, there are still diabetics who believe the stereotypes for a different, but related condition they don’t understand. I recently read this great post on Diabetes Daily that articulates the diabetic-to-diabetic stereotype. When it becomes personal, it becomes real.
@iRunT2D Welcome! A frequent concern is that the DOC is too T1 focused. Glad you are here.
— Holly Witteman (@hwitteman) April 7, 2016
More people are becoming interested in learning about the type 2 experience. Unfortunately, there are few voices to be found.
Where Are All The Type 2s?
Until more type 2 diabetics decide to engage in the conversation, our condition will remain a massively misinformed stereotype. I strive to do my part, yet every few months I nearly convince myself to unplug this blog, delete my Twitter account, and to crawl into my quiet type 2 diabetes cave.
Just when I am ready to flip off the switch, someone reaches out and asks about the type 2 experience, and I continue to pound on my keyboard. They convince me that the rare voice of a type 2 diabetic is important, and I again grasp onto a glimmer of hope that we can begin a public dialogue about the condition.
Most of the time my experience is poorly lighted and quiet. I’m okay writing in this muted space, but inevitably I will try again to convince myself to unplug from the whole thing.
This is just another diabetes story. I am tired of thinking about this one, and sure would like to start hearing the stories of others.