Within the Diabetes Online Community, I’ve recently discovered a sense of empathy, belonging and support; the like of which my 15 years with Diabetes has not experienced. It’s an alien feeling to have support en masse when you’re not used to getting it 1-2-1 regularly, but it’s also a feeling I’ve found myself increasingly grateful for.
Recent weeks spent dealing with the “Diabolicals”; an affectionate term for some of the difficulties we Type 1’s face regularly, have shown me how important the knowledge, experiences and views of others who’ve been through it also, directly or indirectly; can be to someone dealing with Type 1 Diabetes alone day to day. It’s a reminder that we’re never in fact, alone, that if we ask for help, our phones will be pinging with notifications like David Cameron’s press secretary’s phone after the “pig debacle”
The beauty of the DOC is that it’s mutually supportive, people don’t give to receive and when someone says Thank You that really means something. Sometimes you get support even when you’re not expecting it, mentioning you’re battling a hypo, trying a new food, trying some new Diabetes Tech, or just simply feeling like you’re winning that day, there is always at least one person that will be your cheerleader! We all need to feel we have a cheerleader in our lives every now and then, and with the link between depression and diabetes, being part of a community, any community can make the biggest difference. Of course it is wise to remember that, as with any group of people there will be times when not everyone agrees, or perhaps the general mood of the community can be affected by the few. But that’s life, no group of people can get along without a conflict in views once in a while, and my experience of those moments have been to learn from it and perhaps connect with people I wouldn’t have previously.
Not all healthcare professionals recognise the positive impact peer support, face to face or online can make to someone with Diabetes. I would recommend to anyone, newly diagnosed or a veteran, and I include parents, partners, siblings or friends who play an active role in their loved ones Diabetes; to seek out peer support in your area and also online. It’s the best and most responsive specific encyclopaedia in existence. If there isn’t a peer support group in your area, or one that you feel works for you, why not set up one of your own? You could even connect with other groups in the area occasionally, and create special events. It all works towards building our community and increasing awareness of Type 1.
There are so many of your fellow PWD’s out there ready to remind you that you are not alone, keep an eye out for them and say hello; it won’t only make a difference to your emotional wellbeing, it could make the biggest difference to you Diabetes Self Management as well.
So for now….Welcome!
Some sites to checkout:
This is not an exhaustive list of charities/organisations that support those with Diabetes, however I have personally interacted with all of them and I can safely say; they’re awesome!!
All images courtesy of Google Images.