This diabetes thing seems like it will be very socially isolating and awkward. People need to understand that the type 2 diabetes social implications are real.
Accepting a chronic disease is difficult, and it takes time. You’re a new person with a new, sometimes daunting, reality. Your former non-diabetic self has been lost, so it’s healthy to take some time to mourn this loss. It might not be fun, but the sorrow you feel now will dig a hole for future happiness to fill as you come to accept and even handle your diagnosis.
Soon, checking your BG levels and living a healthy lifestyle will be as easy and automatic as brushing your teeth every morning and night. I promise! As you progress toward acceptance, you will need to deal with other people in your life, like casual friends and people at work. Should you tell them? If so, how? Will the diagnosis affect your job security? Of course, we are all different and have different life situations.
Type 2 Diabetes Social Implications
Some people tell everyone (not total strangers on the street, but you know… if it is relevant during a conversation). For example, when it comes to accepting dinner invitations, many people with diabetes (we’ll say PWD from now on) don’t want people to think they don’t like their friends’ cooking. There’s an easy fix for this that will prevent you from having to push around pieces of what you know you shouldn’t be eating on your plate. Just tell them there are certain foods you choose not to eat.
This can be a way of casually announcing your diagnosis or of smoothly maintaining your privacy. If you actually DO hate their cooking, this really comes in handy! No more pretending to like that odd fried cabbage casserole or greasy pasta. When it comes to work, you may want to tell your employer that you choose not to spend 60 hours every week sitting in front of a computer; you need to invest time in exercise and purposeful movement. Your employer needs to understand the importance of a healthy lifestyle, and you can be the one to remind them of this.
Some people find it quite difficult to share their condition with others. This is completely understandable. You may experience feelings of guilt, shame, or anger. You may feel like you don’t belong in the groups of other PWD in your local area. They don’t fit you, or they’re not like you, or you don’t want to be like them!
You may have nightmares about blindness, amputation, and kidney dialysis. You may feel like telling others about your diagnosis will cause you to lose your standing as “the strong one.”
You are a unique human being in a unique situation, and it depends on your specific circumstances whether you tell your employer or certain family members. You know who will be positive support team members—tell them and let them embrace and help you on this new journey. Build a strong team of encouraging, caring people to help you. I have a feeling that you will be helping them when they need it as well, right?
One benefit of sharing the truth with everyone is that you won’t have to remember what you said to whom. You don’t have to hide or give in to shame.
Have you told others, or have you kept it to yourself? How do you go about making your diagnosis known, or do you avoid the conversation altogether? How can you open up and release yourself of this if it feels like a burdensome secret? How SHOULD you manage the type 2 diabetes social aspects?
There is no universal right way to decide; this communication decision is complex and different for each person. Your situation is unique, and that’s a good thing. You can take ownership and make the best decision for you, and that’s also a good thing.
How to tell your friends and colleagues about your diabetes is as individual as you are.
*** Thanks to Gretchen Becker, a very talented author and thriving person with type 2 diabetes who wrote the book, The First Year: Type 2 Diabetes: An Essential Guide… I pulled some inspiration from her book as I wrote this post.
Please consider buying her book on Amazon at: