Today's prompt: 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've written about the "second language" of diabetes before. We speak in lots of acronyms and phrases that have a totally different meaning outside of the diabetes world. It really is like learning a whole new vocabulary, and it takes a while to get the hang of it all.
There are also words that are very polarizing. For me personally, using the word "diabetic" is not a problem. It's an adjective, a descriptor. It doesn't explain my whole being any more than teacher, mom, wife, brown-eyed, aging, etc. It's one adjective. At the same time, I try to be respectful of those who are sensitive and view it as a label rather than an adjective. They absolutely have as much right to their opinion as I do to mine.
In our house, we use check and test pretty equally. I understand why some choose not to say test, and if I had a small child with diabetes I'd likely make that choice as well.
There are probably many other examples, but none of them are hot buttons for me. The real hot button for me is when people use diabetes as the butt of the joke, blaming people for their diabetes. Those people tend to justify it, saying it's about type 2. That just perpetuates more myths and does harm to the diabetes community as a whole. Now, do we joke about diabetes in our house? All the time. But it's among ourselves, and not in a blaming/shaming way. It helps us cope with our disease so that we can continue to KDA.
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