Feeling Blamed for Having Type 2 Diabetes

I know it might sound silly, but I can't help feeling stigmatized while living with type 2 diabetes (T2D). While no one has purposefully blamed me, I've heard some comments that make me feel it's all my fault.

How do you deal with this feeling of being blamed for your diagnosis?

I was warned about type 2 diabetes

My mother was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in her 50s, from what I can remember. As I got older, she'd warn me constantly about my eating habits. Every visit to the doctor made her sure her warnings would come to fruition, and I'd be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I eventually was, but it was long after my mother's death.

I wonder if she would have said, "I told you so." She could be blunt at times. Or would she have embraced my diagnosis and worked on having a mutual journey? I'll never know.

Unhelpful comments from friends about T2D

But it's not just her. I had a friend comment on my Ozempic usage to lower my A1c and control my diabetes. He stated how I could not use medicine to remedy my diabetes and that I instead needed to focus on exercise and nutrition.

While he's not entirely wrong, it felt like a personal attack. This made it difficult to share my feelings online because others might judge me. They may assume I was overweight, that I was a "lazy" eater, or that I never exercised.

Many of us care what others think

Here's the thing: while you shouldn't worry what others think of you, I know it's hard to do that. Most of us care about what others think, myself included. No matter how you feel, it's valid. Your feelings matter.

The type 2 diabetes stigma is real

I found out that the stigma about type 2 diabetes is real. In fact, this stigma truly has a detrimental effect on people living with type 2 diabetes. Not only does it affect self-esteem, but it also impacts a part of their self-care. A recent meta-analysis revealed that stigma is strongly related to psychological distress among people with diabetes.1

We didn't cause our diabetes

The people judging others with type 2 diabetes may think the person is lazy or makes bad choices when it comes to their food. While I know I can exercise more or make more nutritious food choices, I still feel as if what they say is true, when I hear it. And that's not a good thing, because it leads to feeling down. And it sometimes leads me to feeling guilty.

People should know that no one with type 2 diabetes wants it. It's expensive, makes it harder to choose what to eat, and comes with many side effects - some of them being pretty bad if diabetes is left uncontrolled or untreated.

How to combat the T2D stigma

To combat this stigma, others who don't have diabetes need to be informed. Many risk factors can lead to developing diabetes that go beyond lifestyle factors. It's false to believe that people with type 2 diabetes are lazy or eat unhealthy. I get it; you may feel judged. But try to talk to those people so they can understand your journey.

Type 2 diabetes doesn't define who I am. I may have type 2 diabetes, but it doesn't mean I did something to "deserve it." If you have type 2 diabetes and someone is making you guilty, it is essential to open up a line of communication with people you trust.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Type2Diabetes.com team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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