Diabetes can't be recognised by just looking at someone so it's easy to hide it away from others. Although hiding your diabetes can hold you back from confidently managing your diabetes. I share 4 ways to open up about your diabetes and find acceptance with it.
Diabetes is often called an invisible disease as it's not outwardly visible to others. A person with diabetes doesn't fit a certain kind of mold or visual description. The reality of diabetes is that people with it still thrive, still look "normal" and do "normal" things. Only what goes on inside the body and mind of a diabetic is quite complex. There are battles with challenging thoughts and relentless daily management to control this chronic illness.
"Diabetes can't be recognised by just looking at someone."
An invisible disease carries layers of inconspicuous emotions that sometimes like to play a game of hide and seek. Because diabetes can be incognito it's so easy to hide it away from others. Maybe by hiding it, you pretend it's not there.
Someone recently asked me, if I ever wished to be free of diabetes. The truth is I couldn't answer this question because I don't even know what life would be like without diabetes. Although there were many times in my journey with diabetes that I hid it away from others.
During my travels in Australia, I had no notion of revealing my diabetes to new friends. I felt it wasn't a necessary piece of information to develop a relationship with people I met along the way. The real reason I kept my diabetes tucked away was that I made up unnecessary worries that people may reject me or view me differently. I didn't want this stress while traveling so keeping my diabetes a secret was my solution. I would even remove my insulin pump anytime I was on the beach, showed off my skin or intimate with someone.
"Later, I realised that hiding my diabetes was only holding me back from healing, connecting and moving forward."
Instead of playing hide and seek with my diabetes and emotions, I started to bring more awareness of my diabetic self without judgment. Here are a few ways that helped me expose my diabetes and truly accept it.
Did you ever think someone wouldn't accept you because of your diabetes? This is how I felt especially when I first met my husband. I didn't tell him about my diabetes until after 1 YEAR of being together. When I actually told him for the first time, his response was, "oh, okay - why didn't you tell me sooner?" I made up doubts and worries about being rejected in my head that weren't real.
By talking about your diabetes you start to open up the dialogue. Instead of a one-way street, allow others to drive alongside you. Opening up about your diabetes allows others to learn more, share their concerns and provide support when you need it. Diabetes can be lonely so let others in to help you. You will be surprised by the positive response when you open up about your diabetes.
Just because diabetes is part of you, doesn't mean it has to be all of you.
Show it off
Showing off your diabetes devices and technology allows you to feel more confident and comfortable in your skin. Most of the time people don't take notice of your device or if you are testing your blood sugar in a public space. And if they do, let them ask questions so you can provide more awareness of diabetes and the amazing technology advancements.
Your diabetes doesn't have to disrupt your outfit either. There are all kinds of patches and covers to deck out your devices and even match your outfit. Check out your local online medical supply shop, Instagram shops and artisans on Etsy for accessory options to kit out your diabetes. And, make sure you show it off in your pictures!
Connect with others
When you connect with other people with diabetes, you don't feel so different and isolated. You can talk about similar diabetes challenges, provide empathy and just simply relate to each other. Sharing this common condition with others can boost your self-confidence which in turn can have a positive impact on your diabetes management.
Diabetes is worldwide and there are so many ways to connect online and offline. Connect with diabuddies through diabetic Facebook groups, seek out local diabetes meet-ups, attend diabetic events or webinars, get involved with diabetes advocacy and check out diabetes hashtags and profiles on Instagram and TikTok. You will start to expand your diabetes support team and let out the secret!!
You may feel stuck with your diabetes and it prevents you to reveal your diabetes to others. In order to seek yourself, first, you have to let go of any heaviness you have with diabetes. Maybe there are certain emotions, struggles or thoughts that are weighing you down.
I find writing these heavy feelings down on paper help you get unstuck. Don't filter or judge yourself, just jot down in a letter or journal any fears, shame, guilt, challenges or anything that is holding you back with diabetes. Sit with your emotions and let them flow. Whatever you need to let go of, take this time so you can allow what's coming next. New hopes, new dreams, a new you with diabetes that you can reveal to others. 💙
"When there is nothing left to hide, there's nothing left to seek."
You may want to hide your diabetes so people don't find out. But you will discover that when people learn about your diabetes, you have nothing else to hide. You will be able to hold your head up high and manage your diabetes with the utmost confidence and groovy spirit!