Did I Give Myself Diabetes?

There’s a running narrative that people diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes “Did it to themselves”. For some reason, diabetes seems to be the only disease where it’s ok to blame the person for their condition. Because we are fat, lazy, eat junk food all day- *insert eye roll here*- we somehow DESERVE this disease and all the crap that comes with it.

So let’s dig in…I am the child of diabetic parents. Both type 2, on opposite sides of the spectrum. My dad was super thin, went to the gym daily to “bulk up”. My mom has battled her weight her whole life. Both were diagnosed in their 40s. Both grandpas, all of my cousins, my brother-all have diabetes. There’s NO denying there is a genetic component to my diagnosis.

I was diagnosed when I was 21 years old, way earlier than anyone else in my family. At that time, I was hovering around 250 pounds, not taking care of myself, eating terrible food because it was cheap, not exercising AT ALL. Did this push up my diabetes diagnosis by 20 years? If I’m honest with myself, I’m pretty sure it did. I certainly didn’t help myself with my behavior. Had I been proactive, knowing my strong family history, I may have been able to push it off for a couple decades-prevent it? No, I don’t think so…but there’s no way to know at this point.

Here’s the thing-unless you are the person’s doctor, or are living with the disease, or know the person’s full medical history, (never mind- none of those instances make it ok)-you can’t say “You did this to yourself” or “You should have lost weight” or “If only you’d have exercised more”-maybe you wouldn’t have diabetes. Just stop. Cause guess what? There are millions of people in the world who sit on their butts all day, eat crappy food, don’t exercise, are obese, and never develop diabetes.

Why am I sharing this? No one “deserves” to be sick. You’d never say to a smoker who develops lung cancer and is in treatment—“Well, you did this to yourself-should have quit!” And if you would-please unfollow my blog, my page, and never speak to me again. Why is it ok to say something similar to someone battling diabetes? It isn’t.

Be nice.

Be compassionate.

Educate yourself.

Keep your opinions to yourself unless asked.

Your friend with diabetes will appreciate it.