Project: End Diabetes Stigma
Stigma is a negative attitude or mark of shame placed on a person or group of people based on characteristics or circumstances by society. Diabetes Stigma is based on how the disease is perceived and how those affected are able to cope and manage.
The main issue with diabetes stigma:
If having a chronic illness isn’t tough enough, being stigmatized by society makes life more difficult. Education and awareness are so important. The main issue is society can’t differentiate between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes. Having Diabetes is often perceived as “not a big deal”, and those affected are to blame and feel shamed. While lifestyle changes can help management for Type 2 Diabetes in most circumstances – but for Type 1 Diabetes that is not the case what so ever.
Differences between Type 1 & Type 2:
What feelings are associated with diabetes stigma?
Blame – People with diabetes often feel blamed and are shown no empathy. Millions of diabetics have to deal with diabetes jokes and how others make a mockery of this disease.
Guilt – Hearing others stories of how they know someone with diabetes who lost a limb. Or being asked if you should be eating that. Having to feel judged for every decision we make when society goes off of assumptions.
Embarrassment – Feeling embarrassed by other’s ignorance towards this disease. Being stared at and questioned as to why someone would we carrying around syringes. Feeling out of place as if we stick out like a sore thumb in public.
Isolation – Feeling different than everyone else and being misunderstood. The cost of surviving is soaring, discrimination is vastly present and the media puts out many misconceptions. It’s hard living in a society where diabetes isn’t cared about, mocked, and is looked down upon. It takes a toll on management and how we are able to cope.
What we need to do to end diabetes stigma?
Show the reality.
Whether Type 1 or Type 2, we are all fighting out own battle. The facts are there, they just need to be heard. Nobody can feel what we feel or see what we see. But maybe if we share our stories and experiences, it can give others a different perspective on our everyday struggles.
Address the media.
The media tells people “insulin is a cure”. If we take “so and so” we can live happily ever after. If we didn’t touch “donuts or eat cake” then we wouldn’t be diabetic. These misconceptions cause others to overlook this disease and make a mockery of it.
Show “we” matter.
Having to struggle alone and hiding the disease only makes matters worse. I’ve learned that my voice matters and others do too! The more we raise awareness and educate others the more others may want to help find a cure too.