Stop Telling Us About Your Uncle Who Lost a Foot

The time has come for someone to tell you what every friend, loved one, peer, acquaintance, co-worker, and person of any kind of relation to you with Type 1 Diabetes has wanted to say to you for a small eternity: we don't find your stories relatable.

We get it. When you hear about our nonfunctioning beta cells, something deep inside of you releases a primal urge to tell us about your Aunt Susan's pre-diabetic cat with special dietary restrictions. We want you to know this is not the same. We want you to suppress this urge and all similar urges including, but not limited to, telling us about how on this one episode of Dr. Oz, they cured diabetes by boiling a "miracle leaf," expecting us to relate to your cousin Eddie's diabetic nerve damage, telling us about how our diabetes is "not that bad" because your grandmother takes pills to manage her Type 2 Diabetes and she's doing just fine, asserting that there's no need for a cure because we already have insulin, and telling us you "totally get it."

We understand that when you hear us talking about diabetes, you search deep in your brain for files containing subject matter relevant to the key word. We also understand that most people's relevant brain files on this said subject matter have to do with their mother's (insert name of distant relative here) who lost their (insert name of limb and/or appendage here) to diabetes. These anecdotes do not make us feel better and they do not make us feel any closer to you, I promise.

We know these comments, concerns, and stories are rooted in kind intentions. We know that, in all likelihood, you are not trying to come off as insensitive and you believe you are doing the right thing by bringing up your seemingly relevant experiences. We know you are trying to make us feel better by assuring us that you understand what we are going through, and now is the time for you to understand that you don't understand.

And that's okay!

We love you for you, no "Having Diabetes 101" course necessary. Sometimes we will do, feel, and say things that we know you can't fully understand. We don't need you to understand! What we need from you is love and support, a relationship free of judgement, the occasional cookies, and juice for low blood sugars, for you to stop trying to be our doctors, and to please stop comparing us to your distant relatives' cats. Please.

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