Language does matter

Someone told me once that ‘it was my daughters’ diabetes’. This is a sentence that I have not forgotten and one that I still think about over a year later. My daughter was 14 at the time.

You see, an off the cuff, not thought through comment can have lasting effects on someone who is trying their best to navigate the waters of diabetes whether it be Type 1, Type 2 or Gestational. In our case it is Type 1 that my daughter was diagnosed with on 23rd October 2017.

From where I sit, regardless of whether we have been managing for a long time, a short time, just diagnosed or in the midst of diagnosis, it is still hard to deal with. It has not gotten any easier but we have gotten used to it. I am very proud to say that with our help, Anna is managing extremely well and is a happy, balanced teenager. I am not sure this would be the case if I had of taken the advice given, to let it be my ‘daughters diabetes’.

The #languagematters movement is important within diabetes and an observation I have made is there are many terms, words, comments being made that aren’t helpful. We are all in the diabetes boat but I am not sure that we can simplify the management of each one, place them in a box and label them as all the same. They aren’t. If people feel like they want to focus more on Type 1, 2 or Gestational, is that not okay? Perhaps that is helping them to accept the diagnosis, to learn and to move forward in a positive way.

My path is not your path. My child is not your child. My methods of management are not your methods of management. We manage this diagnosis as a family and you may not. All of this is okay. We are all different and have different coping mechanisms and ways of doing things. World Diabetes Day is only 2 days away so let’s celebrate the people managing this diagnosis regardless of which Type they are living with. Heaven knows, it’s hard enough already.

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