This content originally appeared on Type 1 Writes. Republished with permission.
Last week the DSMA Twitter account, (run by someone who I feel does a brilliant job of fostering inclusion within the diabetes community), sent out this Tweet.
Q2. We have a lot of different voices and opinions in the community, yes. What do you think is missing from the space? Or do you think anything is missing? #dsma
— DiabetesSocMedAdvoca (@DiabetesSocMed) August 1, 2019
My first thought was privilege. We must be mindful that the majority of the people within our online communities are highly privileged people.
Even though the world around me will never be perfect, I am a highly privileged person. I live in a country where my access to supplies and healthcare is a non-issue. I have modern tools at my disposal that help me to manage my diabetes in the best way that I can. I have a roof over my head, money coming in and people around me who I think the world of.
The people with diabetes who I know in person are among the most well connected, well-informed people who are more than capable of advocating for themselves. The people who I interact with online are part of vibrant communities filled with peer support, information sharing and robust discussion.
Yet still, I don’t feel that any of these interactions are truly representative of the broader population of people with diabetes.
We all get excited by technology, and yet my feeling is that the majority of people manage their diabetes with an insulin pen and blood glucose meter. I spend hours scrolling through diabetes feeds every week, and yet I’m sure there are plenty of people out there who genuinely don’t want to know anything about it. There are people who wear their diabetes with pride, while I expect there are many who don’t feel the need to do so for a number of different reasons.
I’ll be the first person to say that I don’t know how to bridge the gap between those who are privileged and those who aren’t. But there is something that crossed my feeds last week which I really look forward to seeing evolve within the DOC.
‘I Hear You.’ It’s a small idea that was born from Heather, a researcher living with diabetes in the US, in collaboration with a group of people with diabetes. The idea is that we as a community can offer an ‘I Hear You’ to others in the community, with the hope that it might help our peers feel more included. Particularly for those who feel their voices aren’t often heard. You can read more about Heather’s research, and how this idea came about on her blog here.
I have lived with diabetes since the age of 17. I know first hand just how isolating living with diabetes can be. I also know that connection and peer support has opened up my world and changed my outlook on diabetes for the better. That’s my sole, selfish motivation for continuing to participate in this amazing community.
I hear you.
But that’s only my story. I don’t represent, nor do I want to represent, any other person with diabetes. Your story is important, and I want to hear it too.
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