Type 2 diabetic guilt and the shame that comes from it are problems in our Western culture. Some think shaming the obese will help fight type 2 diabetes, but they are wrong.
Guilt and shame seem to be expected of someone who has been diagnosed with this chronic disease in the U.S.
The message has never been more clear than it was when a famous TV chef revealed that she had been diagnosed a type 2 diabetic.
Whatever her motives for what she does, many media persons have been extremely hateful in their attacks, using emotional words that are meant to wound. But she is not the only one who is reading those words.
Yes, she cooks with butter and passes along recipes for fried food on her very popular cooking show.
Did I miss something? Has someone proved that using butter causes obesity and diabetes?
I have looked at a lot of research, and the fact is that butter is actually better for you than artificial margarines. But that is not what is concerning about all this.
The damage done by attacking someone who is diabetic shows up in the blogs on diabetic websites.
Type 1's are separating themselves from type 2's because they do not want to be lumped in with the "fat slobs" who let themselves get a preventable disease.
And the type 2 diabetic guilt comes out in the voices of people who write that they are too ashamed of their diagnosis to tell anyone about it. What good does it do to tell them the facts?
Type 1 and type 2 diabetics are highly influenced by peer opinion, and that is especially true of younger ones.
Diabulimia and other eating disorders are shortening the lives of diabetics just when science is coming up with better ways to handle the disease.
No one knows why one obese person slips into type 2 diabetes while another does not. It is also true that normal weight type 2 diabetics exist. Genetics has a lot to do with it, but how much? Experts are not sure.
Right now type 2 diabetic guilt has been turned up several notches. Meanwhile most of us have plenty of things already to feel bad about.
We have all made choices that could have been better. The people who point fingers at a celebrity diabetic have made bad decisions too.
Being a type 2 diabetic, I know what guilt and shame are, and what they do. Shame will never help anyone to change.
Books have been written by psychologists who observe the damage. Teachers who use shame on their students get fired when they are caught.
Shame gives the message "I am a bad person." There is no cure for that, if you believe it. And it is a small step from guilt to shame for many.
Those who judge others for diabetes and obesity take no account of the causes, and the ones who suffer the most are young people, who are more easily affected by what others say.
That is why attacking someone for their disease is so dangerous. A lot of type 2 diabetics are listening, and some of us have a hard time with not only the words but the spirit of hatred behind the attack.
Shame heaps more fuel on these problems. It does not help, never has, never will.
Guilt is saying "I made a mistake," and it is a needed step in making changes. But it is not a place to live.
We have to admit our mistakes without trying to lay blame on someone else. Then the door is open to endless possible roads we can take.
The danger with type 2 diabetic guilt lies in the strong desire to blame someone or something else.
People who enjoy pointing fingers at others have fallen into the blame trap. But blaming others will never help any of us feel less guilty for our own mistakes.
Becoming prediabetic came from my genetic make-up. The mistakes I made came from ignoring that fact. When I was diagnosed, type 2 diabetic guilt and shame dragged me into depression. It was years before I came out.
Now that I have faced my mistakes, learned about this condition and begun to change, the future is open with choices.
I already know some will be good and some will not. But wallowing in shame and trying to blame someone else are two things I will not do.
If you are a type 1 diabetic, a healthy diet and exercise will help you live a long and healthy life. The same holds true for a type 2 diabetic.
Because you are more vulnerable to complications and viruses like hepatitis B and flu, it becomes important to keep your immune system strong.
Take care of your diabetic chores. Get blood sugar tests. Take care of your glucose monitor.
Do not waste a minute in regret for past mistakes or let someone's words pull you down into shame.
Loving family and good friends will help you keep your perspective. Keep your eyes on the needs of others, and you will defeat type 2 diabetic guilt.
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