Every person experiences the world in a different way, and each story provides a new and unique perspective to the world we live in. As members of Beta Change, we often hear people with diabetes say that living with this condition can be isolating and lonely – until they meet someone else living with diabetes or discover the diabetes community online or IRL. As healthy as it is to share our experiences of what it’s like to live with diabetes in our day-to-day lives, no one will really understand better than someone else who also lives with it.
It’s the feeling you get when you tell someone that you’ve had a terrible night’s sleep because of a raging hypo where you inhaled the kitchen and the other person says “I know that feeling, I had that too a few nights ago. It sucks!” You know they get it. They understand the sheer panic of waking up low in the middle of the night and eating like your life depends on it…then waking up with a hypo hangover.
The power of sharing stories also comes in the form of diabetes hacks that no textbook could provide, like using an old test strip container to store your used test strips so your bag doesn’t drown in them. We often hear about the latest diabetes technology from someone who has attended a conference on the other side of the world, and we read blogs from other people with diabetes who’ve figured out how to overcome fears of hypoglycemia while accomplishing impressive feats.
Sharing stories is also about sharing emotions when it comes to living with diabetes. It’s about feeling the rage when a community member experiences stigma or discrimination because of diabetes. It’s feeling the sadness when a blue candle is lit for someone around the world. It’s the frustration we feel when the industry reduces affordability of basic medication or technology needs of people with diabetes. It’s a feeling of pride when a community member is recognised for their advocacy efforts and the simple feeling of joy when someone else is having a good diabetes day.
Exchanging these stories gives hope and inspires those in a dark place not to give up. They motivate others to fight harder for their community and remind us that life is precious. Some stories change us and stay with us forever, and can also help those who don’t live with diabetes better understand what we go through each day, and the challenges we face and the achievements that are meaningful to us.
More importantly, these stories contribute toward a shift in the way people think and talk about diabetes, which is important in this society where we constantly hear noise about the negativity and blame associated with diabetes. Our stories remind others that there is a person behind the condition and that human lives are complex and not just about diabetes management. At Beta Change, we show the world what people with diabetes can achieve – and that none of us are doing this alone.
Want to share your story? We want to hear from you!