"If I could chaaa-aaaa-aaange the world..."
Anyone else have Eric Clapton running through their head right now?
Today for #DBlogWeek (technically yesterday- I'm a bit behind), we're supposed to write about a diabetes topic that gets us really fired up. I've written about my issues discussing complications before. And I'm working on being able to have a civilized conversation on the topic.
In doing some reflecting on why complications elicit such a gut reaction from me, I've realized something. It's not discussing the complications themselves that irks me. It's the judgement and blaming behavior that so often accompanies these conversations.
Judgement and blame can be found in all kinds of conversations about diabetes, not just complications. Your A1c went up? How did that happen? Should you be eating that chocolate cake? If you just eat right and lose weight, you can control your diabetes.
Unfortunately, these types of comments are not only from people outside the diabetes community. They can come from healthcare professionals. Family members and loved ones. From other people with diabetes. And from myself. Boy howdy, am I good at internalizing guilt and blame. Oh, my blood sugar is 340? What did I do to cause that?
Here's the deal. Nothing constructive comes from judgement and blame. These actions and feeling are not empowering. In fact, they're debilitating. Want to help motivate someone to take better care of his or her own diabetes? Complication scare tactics are not helpful. Nor is blaming them for having a rough time. We need to help empower people living with diabetes and their loved ones. Break things down into reasonable goals. Be encouraging. Remind people they're not alone. Kindness and compassion are empowering. When I'm having a hard time, a simple tweet or text from a friend can make a huge difference. The compassion and encouragement I've received from many in the Diabetes Online Community has changed my life. I mean that with all my heart.
Let's banish the blame game, and focus on empowering each other. Kindness and compassion, FTW.