Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Judgement, Skepticism & Ignorance

Oh, man, I've been a little sad the past few days about an "incident" my husband and I had the other night.

We went over to another couple's house for dinner a few nights ago, and somehow got on the subject of health, eating right, etc. Well, turns out this couple are WAY into natural health remedies, as in they probably haven't used modern prescription medicine in years, and tend to treat any problems they have with diet, supplements, and essential oils. Let me say first thing, that I'm not opposed to any of that. I believe you should treat whatever you can naturally, and that diet and exercise play a huge role in keeping you healthy. But I also know that there are certain illness like, oh, Type 1 diabetes for example, that cannot be treated by supplements or herbal remedies, or whatever.

While we were having dinner, the wife (who knows I have diabetes) started saying things like, "well, you're not going to go on that insulin pump, are you," and "well, I assume you will want to have kids eventually," and "well, have you tried going off insulin?" Usually in situations like this, I just simply educate people on how Type 1s must always take insulin, that you can not control Type 1 with just diet and exercise, and that not taking insulin means I will die. I did all of those usual myth-dispelling things.

The thing that got me, was that both she and her husband seemed to not believe me! They seemed really skeptical that I had to take insulin (even though I explained the differences between Type 1 & Type 2), and seemed a little judgmental that I'm still taking insulin and that I actually want to go on an insulin pump. I felt like they just didn't believe that I was trying hard enough or eating right or exercising or something. Granted, they are about 30 years older than us, so maybe age has something to do with it, but in my experience, people of their generation seem to be really tethered to modern medicine, not to "natural" medicine. So, I was really surprised and disheartened when they seemed skeptical that I had to take insulin the rest of my life. I felt really judged, like I was somehow allowing myself to stay "unhealthy" because I'm still using insulin.

So, I didn't know what to do. The conversation kind of fizzled out after that, and my husband (who is amazing) did a great job at trying to help myth-bust too, and then change the subject when it didn't work. But, I just came away feeling very judged.

It just makes me realize that we have a lot of education to do in the diabetes community! It also made me realize that there are just some people out there who will not be moved from what they think they know, and that there might not be anything you can do about it.

Any suggestions, peeps? How do you handle situations like this?


  1. Hi Erin
    Sorry to hear you had an evening of feeling judged. I must say it is a pet-peave of mine as well to be "Should On" and given unsolicited advice despite your best effort to clarify the diffecence between Type 1 and Type 2. I will add your blog to my site www.three2treat.com feel free to check it out. Cheers.

  2. Sorry you had to deal with 'friends' like this. I had to deal with a fiancee like that. He was all about 'creating his own reality' and 'thinking away one's illness via the methods of Deepak Chopra'. If I had a hypoglycemic attack, he yelled at me because I wasn't 'working on ridding myself of my diabetes' and that 'I was choosing to be sick'. After two years of dealing with this New Age Fundamentalist, he dumped me because he felt I was insistig on being sick and he just 'didn't want to deal with the needles any longer'.

    To this day, I regret not shooting him and dumping his body somewhere in the mountains when I had the chance, to save some other poor woman from having to go through what I did with him. I made a vow to myself that, in the future, if anyone started in on me about my diabetes and telling me I could cure myself via diet or natural healing, I would tell them to stuff it. If they persisted, I'd walk away, even if they were a boss or a supervisor, and I would not speak to them again unless forced. I don't feel like putting myself through the kind of abuse I received from my ex. I get put through enough just dealing with my diabetes on a regular basis.

  3. You 'friends' obviously haven't had a serious illness yet. Be sure to be around when they have to go onto prescription medicine so that you can turn the tables on them Don't worry about them, just basic ignorance.

  4. Never fun dealing with people that 1. clearly were not listening to you and your husband as you explained what T1 Diabetes is and 2. were more interested in pushing thier own natural therapy agenda. You should at least feel proud you went into bat for diabetes community :)

  5. Sorry to hear that happened, Erin. No fun encountering those people even generally in a supermarket aisle, let alone visiting their house over a friendly evening. I've tried that before, and when needed have done what your hubby did in just trying to change the conversation. Sometimes, no matter what you do it won't matter. I try to not let it interfere, unless that person makes that their goal- then it's on. Good luck with it!