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 been living in a pregnancy/baby/toddler bubble the last 3 years. I was pretty active in the DOC until lately, where being pregnant with all the doctor appointments while chasing after a toddler and still trying to work and do housework and errands doesn’t leave a ton of time for blog reading. I did, however, come across a meme about babyhood that I thought could be used on today’s topic. Here is the original:
The diabetes version that I made up:
Personally, I don’t care what terms you use when I’m speaking with another person with diabetes. I’ve read blogs and Twitter posts where people get upset if someone uses the terms diabetic. I’ve honestly never really cared one way or another if people use diabetic or person with diabetes. I’m not even really sure why it bothers people to use one term over another (guess I’ll find out today reading the other blogs!). I would hate to offend someone but I don’t even know what words bother others when it comes to diabetes. I’ve always said testing my blood sugar and in fact, I even call my blood glucose meter my test kit. It’s just what I’ve always said and I don’t know why I started saying it.
However, I have definitely been hurt by words when it comes from non-diabetics. There are so many things they can say that hurt, like you can’t eat that or you don’t really have diabetes, etc. I’ve had this disease since 1993 and everyday is a struggle physically, emotionally and financially so hearing those words is very frustrating. The stigmatizing and uneducated terms play into a lot of what was talked about yesterday, the mental side of diabetes. Luckily, I don’t deal with those things too often anymore. Because I have been hurt by words, I definitely don’t want to upset anybody in the DOC so I’m looking forward to learning what words I should try and avoid when writing about diabetes, I’m thinking diabetic is one of those tops words. The other posts about Language and Diabetes can be found here.