Well, not quite.
At least... not quite for folks who see you as "something to crusade against." A faceless mass, or a faceless evil, or villain, that it's okay to heckle, taunt, or verbally assault for the "benefit of humanity, at large," whatever that might be. And that, I'm afraid, is what the internet has done to Type 2 Diabetes and obesity. Coupled with anonymity, the internet has sort of given a voice to the uneducated, the predators and snake oil pushing charlatans, the frustrated, and yes, even the downright abusive bullies among us.
Quite honestly, it is NOT easy for me to be active online when people left and right are trying to sell me books, supplements, Chinese herbs, or whatever the latest craze is to "100% cure" my Diabetes. (Diabetes, of course, has no cure... and in my opinion, this is dangerous and should be against the law. But alas, the FDA doesn't give a rat's ass.) But it's even more difficult when you THINK you have found a "haven" from the mean-spiritedness of the world in a Diabetes page, group, forum, or social community.
As a newly diagnosed person... you may think others are kindred spirits. I am sorry to say, many times they are not... and we need to learn to be emotionally mature, and confident within ourselves, to be able to handle these situations (which, of course, we are not, when we are newly diagnosed.)
Just yesterday, a well known diabetes site asked the question "Medicare announces that it will cover weight-loss counseling for the obese, but critics argue it will make little difference. Who's right?"
I'd love to say polite debate ensued... But it was mostly a "blame the fat, lazy person" tirade.
"Do we really think "counseling" will help the obese? Really? If you're obese, it's due to a lack of discpline and complete laziness. NO EXCEPTIONS TO THIS RULE!!!"
"I don't believe any type of counseling will work for people over weight. You either truly want to loose weight or you don't, and if banding your stomach doesn't work then counseling isn't either."
"Can you honestly tell me that people don't know eating McDonald's every day isn't a good idea?!"
" Weight loss is really self control & few people really have it..."
People are raging at many things; things they don't understand, or think they understand. It really reminds me of the Cold War, and the "Red Scare." We just have these simplistic "notions" of what's the enemy, and what's "right," and what the tv tells us is wrong, and bad... and we run with them. We think, "it's okay, these are 'faceless people' on the internet... We can hate them. We can abuse them." It's easy. Doing these things doesn't entail you to actually WORK at being a HUMAN BEING; to actually be an ADULT, and use your empathy skills.
Doing these things keeps you from seeing people as mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, spouses, other people's loved ones, other people's children.
And worse yet, we may think "these people have taken from me, and my loved one...," and we fail to see how the system has failed EVERYONE, and not just us. Instead, what we are doing is PROJECTING our own bitterness at others. We have developed Diabetic Penis Envy.
I am sorry.
I have to call it something funny. I have to call it something funny, or else I'll cry.
I'll cry when I see fellow diabetics verbally assaulting other diabetics because they are HUMAN and STRUGGLING, and they are brave enough to share their broken pieces with the world. I'll cry when I see mothers attacking other mothers over how they care for their child... I'll cry when I see someone putting down another person's personal loss "because they had it coming to them... they were Type 2."
I'll cry over your bitterness. I'll cry because I know this disease has blinded you. It has blinded your heart. You either found a little private island in the middle of the sea, and wonder why no one else has gotten there, OR you are exiled in the desert, with nothing but mirages in sight, and no respite. You either judge for attention, or want to be the victim, for attention.
My heart goes out to you because I know it's not about me. No matter how much you try to make it be about me, or about any other type of diabetic there is... it's not. It's not a war of types. It's about YOU. It's a war WITH YOU. And it shows when you write jokes putting down folks, when you character assassinate people who may be struggling with their control, or their weight, or their kids, or when you try to make it sound like your type or your way is the paradigm of good health. It's not. We all need to work on something.
If we want to help unity in our community... if we want to help diabetics out of the hole of shame and fear they may have... And help them know it's OKAY to be them... then we need to help GUIDE and SHEPHERD them... I would like to ASK two things:
- I would like for communities to develop a ZERO tolerance toward judgmentalism, abuse, abusive language, and bullying of anyone, but especially obese persons and persons with Type 2 Diabetes, including warning folks, removing their comments, posting discussions redirecting attitudes and educating, and up to, and including banning; AND
- I'd like especially abusive folks to be directed to counseling. We NEED to be reminded that we need help. If it's 2011, and we are adults, and we are still bullying other adults, especially ones with a chronic illness, we OWE it to that person to let them know they NEED COUNSELING. And their bullying behaviors will NOT be tolerated. It is, quite frankly, DISGUSTING.
Don't just call for change in our communities... Help ENFORCE the change; BE the change.
And yes, friend... if you read this... and you find yourself a little bit bitter... It's okay. I'm often, a little bit bitter too.
I add this sort of cruel, and yet "funny," video... as an apt comparison in 'reactions' to my "gift" of Diabetes.
Oh... and by the way... I forgive you.