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Advocate Answers: What Do People Say About Diabetes That You Hate/Are Hurtful?

Type 2 diabetes advocates share comments and thoughts that other people have said about diabetes that they have found hurtful.

Hurtful comments about type 2 diabetes

“You brought this on yourself”

Shelley wears a turquoise top and a jade beaded necklace.Shelley: Nothing like kicking me when I’m down. This was said to me shortly after I was diagnosed. Yes, I knew I was overweight. Yes, I knew this could happen after having gestational diabetes after my last pregnancy. But really? You felt the need to throw that one at me??

“You’re so skinny”

This speaks to how little people really know about type 2 diabetes beyond their own circumstances. This was said to me by another person with type 2 diabetes. She had no idea there is a genetic component to diabetes and that there are many people with diabetes that do not, and never did, have a weight issue. I did have weight issues in the past but that’s beside the point; education is key to avoid judgment.

“It’s time for insulin (when it wasn’t)

I’ll book you another appointment and we will get that started.” This statement was made by an RN CDE at my diabetic education center. First, she made that decision without consulting a physician; she was not a nurse practitioner. Second, there was no discussion. It was being done to me, not with me. Third, when I consulted an endocrinologist, he disagreed with her and said there are other meds we can try first. I never went back to her.

Rachel wears a polka dotted shirt.Rachel: The stereotype of the person with type 2 diabetes has brought it on themselves with poor diet and lack of exercise gets me riled up every time. You could eat healthily and exercise regularly and still be diagnosed with this condition because you cannot change your family’s genetic background and you cannot change conditions like autoimmune hypothyroidism that impact metabolism.

Making “bad” choices

Corinna wears a gold scarf.Corinna: One day this person saw me with a Starbucks coffee cup and said to me “there’s a lot of sugar in those and that’s not good for you.” I was drinking brewed coffee with half-and-half, not one of their sweetened drinks.

That person made an assumption about me and the choices I make. They assumed that I make “bad” choices—unhealthy choices. By extension, that person was saying that I shouldn’t go to a coffee shop because the things they sell aren’t for me.

I found it hurtful that this person assumed they knew what is best for me and that I couldn’t be trusted to decide for myself what to drink.

Unsolicited advice and questions

Tom wears glasses and a maroon sweater.Thomas: “Are you sure you can have that?” “Don’t you think that plate might have too much on it?” “Why are you measuring what you eat?” “It’s fruit, it’s healthy you can have all you want of it.” “Why can’t you eat more than that? It’s all good for you.” “Well, I saw this doctor on television that said you need to 120 each time you do a blood sugar test after eating.” “No, diabetes is diabetes.” And the list goes on.

I hate when people say there is a cure for diabetes

Phyllisa wears a green square neck top and a gold necklace.Phyllisa: I hate when people tell me that they know where the cure for diabetes is because someone they know (but can’t reach) has found it and they no longer have diabetes. I hate that my friends, loved ones, or strangers aren’t ever able to give me a number to call so that I too can have the cure.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.