Supporting each other

I’ve just finished reading a thread on a diabetes board that I’m a member of (by the time I read it, it was already closed). As the founder of the board described it, the thread was “extremely disappointing”. He’s right. I was not only disappointed but also saddened and incensed by the behavior of many of the members.

The original poster (OP), a new member, asked a general question to Type 2 diabetics who deal with their diabetes in a certain way, only to be pummelled by a group of diabetics who insisted on their chosen (but different) T2D treatment and tried to convince the OP of their perceived error of her ways and the superiority of their preferred treatment. In addition to unleashing a slew of unresponsive posts to convert the OP to their thinking, most of the posters from the same mold were entirely oblivious to the fact that they ganged up on her, ignored her question entirely, and wrote what they themselves wanted to hear, and then utterly failed to understand why she was frustrated with them. One poster even described the OP as the bully and as someone who seemed entirely convinced of her position but who needed to accept other people’s right to express their opinion and efforts to change her mind, and then pointed out that she can try to change other people’s views if she wanted to. The irony is that that poster’s description applies, not to the OP, but to him and his cohorts. He also conveniently ignored the fact that the OP was not there to convince anyone of anything but was looking for support.

Needless to say, the OP got so frustrated and angry that she left the community.

This incident is not an isolated one. I’ve seen this kind of incident repeated in different incarnations, not just in that board but in other boards as well. While there is a lot of support in the various diabetes online boards, that support is time and time again spoiled by rude, disparaging, and sanctimonious remarks from members who just cannot get past their own cherished beliefs long enough to contemplate the possibility that there are other approaches that may be as valid to others as their approach is to them. These diabetics are quick to judge, criticize and even bully those who do not agree with them, and are just as quick (if not quicker) to take offense at the slightest whiff of disagreement, at some imagined injury, or even at nothing. Frankly, they often sound and behave like fanatic members of a cult who do not care about anything except to convert people to adopt their own image and way of life.

Type 2 diabetics may have one thing in common, Type 2 diabetes, but we are not clones of each other, we do not have the same lives, resources, desires and goals, and we do not have to think and act homogeneously. We do not have to deal with our diabetes in the same way. What we do need is support and, contrary to what some may believe, support does not come in only one form.

Instead of wearing self-imposed blinders, our community needs to be more open and accepting of others. Let us avoid coloring everything we hear or read with only our biases and prejudices. We need to really listen to each other’s experiences, thoughts, and ideas, not just when they are the same as ours but more so when they are different from our own. Let us take the time to find out where someone came from, where he is now and where he wants to go, and respect and accept what we find. We do not have to agree with each other all the time, but neither do we have to disagree in a belligerent, self-righteous and disrespectful manner. Most of all, let us support each other regardless of our approach to Type 2 diabetes.

Whatever path we choose, whichever strategy we adopt to control our diabetes, and however we live our lives, we all live with this darn T2D. We already have to deal with public prejudices, sometimes even from those with diabetes of a different type. We already have to spend the rest of our lives with this condition and possibly the complications that come with it. We do not need to divide our community and isolate each other by judging, bullying, and alienating others.

Additional information: The OP showed more sense than those who ganged up on her and is still checking in. Good for her. A number of “right” (meaning, those who practice the treatment she wanted to hear from) members have responded to her question. Hopefully, everyone has learned a valuable lesson from the whole episode.


9 thoughts on “Supporting each other

  1. Scott E

    I’ve seen this type of thing before and, yeah, it isn’t right. Lively discussion and debate can sometimes be helpful, especially when speaking in broad topics (ie: healthcare, supply manufacturing), but when it gets personal, people need to show restraint. I’m not a fan of cheerleading unconditionally; but neither an I a fan of public floggings. Sometimes if you have nothing nice to say, it’s best to say nothing at all.

    1. runningwithoutsugar Post author

      “Sometime if you have nothing nice to say, it’s best to say nothing at all.” My thoughts as well. Something I learned from my mother. Sometimes, silence is the best support one can give.

  2. RogueGirl

    There are boards dedicated to being T2D?

    Honestly, I’ve learned more about this stupid disease from being on wordpress, than I have anywhere else.

    Pity that people think there is only “one way” and that it’s “their way”. I’d be so much more interested in getting involved in this, new to me, community if I didn’t think there was bullying within it.

    1. runningwithoutsugar Post author

      The board is a diabetes board, but the OP posted in the Type 2 forum of the board. Despite sad and appalling episodes like this, I think the boards are useful to many diabetics, especially those who have no one to turn to.

    1. runningwithoutsugar Post author

      The disappointing thing is that you’d think that with a common condition, we’d all be more tolerant and accepting of each other and each other’s choices. We, as a community, still have a long way to go.

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