This post was prompted by a conversation I was having with one of my friends from the diabetes community. She’s currently dealing with family members who are not giving her the support she needs, and instead of trying to help they decided to play diabetes police and remind her that she’s going to be another Julia Roberts in Steel Magnolias who will probably never have children and die young. WRONG. That is just WRONG.
At first I was trying to understand where her family is coming from, probably saying things out of concern for her diabetes management, but then I put myself in her shoes and I certainly wouldn’t like my loved ones to remind me of the frailty of my life every chance they get. I’ve had the diabetes police around; the kind of people who instead of trying to help live in oblivion regarding the whole issue, and only pay attention when you put some extra food in your mouth. It is frustrating.
I remember I was still a kid when my mother taught me that I should stay away from anything or anyone that took my inner peace away… even if it was my own family. But how do you make that call? Not all of us have the luxury to tell our family to eff off and leave us alone, especially if we’re young and starting to figure out our life. But does that mean we have to take everything and just deal with it? NO.
I know most people mean well, and I also know some people just don’t know better. As a patient and an advocate I believe it is my duty to educate people so they have an idea of what I have to deal with on a daily basis. The problem is that some people are simply not open to that kind of discussion, and others are just plain stubborn when it comes to learning. So what do I do? In the words of Andrés López, a Colombian comedian, I say “deje así” which is basically just to give it up. But in this case giving up is not a bad thing… I just choose my peace instead of trying to knock my head against a hard wall.
We can educate people and try to make them understand as much as we can, but there comes a point when we have to ignore what they say and let it be. It’s hard, but more often than not, I believe managing a chronic condition requires a big deal of inner strength that can only be gathered if we shut people off when they just don’t get it.