What I want other people to know about diabetes?
Before I answer that, I need to take a step back and explain something. I work with people who have developmental disabilities. Actually, I believe the new term on the block is intellectual disabilities. Some of these people also have physical disabilities. Others might have a mental health diagnosis thrown in. Sometimes two just for fun.
Essentially, the people I provide support to have a whole bunch of labels attached to them and with those labels come assumptions, stereotypes, discrimination and a whole bunch of other negatives that affect them before people even learn their names.
So I've learned to read their referrals, note their diagnoses and then forget about everything that was written down.
When I meet them, I try really hard to meet the person.
Not their label.
In an ideal world, that's what I would like everyone to do.
Because I'm Céline.
I'm not the diabetic.
And just like how not every person with Down Syndrome fits the Down Syndrome profile, not everyone with diabetes fits the diabetes one. In fact, none of us do.
Don't put people in boxes. Don't make assumptions. Meet the person. Ask tons of questions to understand as much as you can or want to understand. But don't say things like 'Oh, you have (insert diagnosis here) that means you cannot (insert ridiculous assumption here)'.