When we embark into the realm of social media we leave ourselves vulnerable to the harbingers of doom as well as to other more sinister types of people.
Harbingers are not to be confused with trolls – folks who intentionally set out to cause disruption and chaos.
Harbingers are not charlatans – folks who claim to have special knowledge who pander to people’s fears and hopes with snake oil.
Harbingers are not the catfish – folks who falsely represent a person or group to gain trust but have malicious intent.
The harbingers of doom are the folks who criticize others regarding managing diabetes, chastise others for mental health concerns, are always negative, focus on all that could go wrong, and never what has gone right.
Today is day one of Diabetes Blog Week. A week of focused blogging started seven years ago by Karen of Bitter-Sweet.
Today’s blog week prompt is Message Monday.
Some might think that my favorite diabetes message is the motto I stole from Nike (maybe? I never could find who coined the phrase) “It Never Gets Easier, You Get Better”. Recently I read somewhere – I can’t recall where, a new version of the phrase, “It Never Gets Easier, You Get Stronger” < that is way better than the version I originally stole.
But today my favorite message regarding diabetes advocacy online and in real life is:
First, Do No Harm.
When we start writing, sharing, posting, commenting, and communicating with others about diabetes it is imperative we understand how our words can affect the lives of others.
My kids use specific insulin pumps. I do not criticize those who choose different pumps, especially right now when #choicematters and #mypumpmychoice.
My kids have A1Cs slightly above recommended guidelines but they are decent (their A1Cs – not my kids – although my kids are pretty awesome too when I don’t want to throttle them) and they work hard to maintain them. I don’t brag about them and I don’t berate others for having a less than stellar A1C. Diabetes is really ducking hard.
I don’t watch my kids blood sugars live via Dexcom or NightScout. They occasionally wear the Dexcom G5 when they will be away for long periods or I will be away. Mostly for my piece of mind. I know there are parents who watch CGM graphs for their child throughout the day and night. Those parents are doing what works for them and their child. I don’t judge them and hopefully they don’t judge me.
My kids eat a ton of crap. I don’t put many restrictions on edibles. If their blood sugars are below 180 and they want a sweet, chips, or other crap food then have at it. Honestly trying to micromanage my kids crap intake was futile. They are teens. They have opportunities to buy crap everyday without my knowledge. I wish they didn’t, but they do and punishing them does not instill in them a desire to eat healthier. I do not critique the diets of other children or adults with diabetes. Not my body, not my business.
For the most part I see good in the community. I see support and empathy and sharing of knowledge. Occasionally I see things that are hurtful or harmful. Sadly much of the hurtful and harmful remarks or posts come from the newly diagnosed or parents of the newly diagnosed. The ones who are still struggling with identifying with diabetes as a whole instead of putting a box around certain types of diabetes and in the process alienating those with a different type than themselves or those they love. I get it. I was there. It was a long time ago. A time before I was part of the diabetes community, before I fell in love with the hearts and souls of people with all types of diabetes in all walks of life. There is a learning curve – not just in managing diabetes but in understanding the community and our place within.
My kids with type 1 diabetes have made me stronger. My friends with all types of diabetes, who use all different tools, different tricks, and are honest about the emotional, psychological, and physical toll diabetes take on the body and soul have made me smarter.
So today my message is First, Do No Harm.
After that – make noise, raise awareness, be badass, check-bolus-eat, act justly, live honorably, walk humbly, and always love fiercely.