Our topic today is Language and Diabetes. There is an old saying that states “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”. I’m willing to bet we’ve all disagreed with this at some point, and especially when it comes to diabetes. Many advocate for the importance of using non-stigmatizing, inclusive and non-judgmental language when speaking about or to people with diabetes. For some, they don’t care, others care passionately. Where do you stand when it comes to “person with diabetes” versus “diabetic”, or “checking” blood sugar versus “testing”, or any of the tons of other examples? Let’s explore the power of words, but please remember to keep things respectful.
I have a lot of words and phrases related to diabetes that I have found trigger a response in me… Below are just a few, and it is in no way an all inclusive list. 🙂
Brittle – This one super duper irks me. It’s incredibly subjective and is way overused. It is used too often in cases when someone is trying to potentially gain sympathy because it sounds “scary”.
Should you be eating that? Ugh. Yes, I can eat that. Whatever it is. As long as it’s not poison, I can eat it.
I could never give myself shots. Yes you could. Nobody chose to have to inject themselves with insulin, but if your life depended on it (which mine absolutely does) then yes, you could give yourself shots.
You must have the bad kind of diabetes. No, I do not have the “bad” kind of diabetes. Is there a “good” kind?
Here, I made you a sugar free dessert. Please don’t make me a sugar free dessert. Unless you secretly dislike me and enjoy seeing me in pain. #itmakessenseifyouhavediabetes
Diabetic – I have found myself in recent years referring to myself as “I have diabetes” instead of saying “I am diabetic.” I don’t know why, but I feel like saying “Diabetic” is labeling myself. Whereas saying “I have diabetes” makes it sound more like something that is a part of me, that I live with, but it does not define me.