Diabetic and proud – by Helen Whitehouse

”Have you ever hidden your diabetes from someone?” Well, thats a difficult question to answer.

I know that this year’s Diabetes Week focuses on this question quite a lot, and I expect that the range of answers and reasons are wide spread and very different. So, what are my reasons?

Well about two years ago, I decided that I wanted my ears double pierced, so, after a long persuasive conversation with my mother, we decided to go to a local jewelry shop to have them done in the summer holidays. As expected, it was swamped with small children clamouring to have their ears done for summer. I queued up for seemingly hours, hours, before a woman handed me a clipboard and a form, told me to fill it in. Age? 12. Sex? Female. Any Pre-existing conditions? Erm… Diabetes. Well, they sent me away…

I felt seriously downtrodden. The first time it has ever, ever prevented me from doing anything. So, I decided to go to another branch and blatantly lie. Bad, yes, but I knew it was for legal reasons, risks are more if the piercing gets infected… But I wanted it done! I was a determined 12 year old!

But what about lying for other reasons? Luckily, when I first was diagosed a gobby friend had already told the population of Hoyland but also, I was pretty proud of myself. I had come through it, learned to inject, grown up I suppose. As time went on a bit however, I began to despise the pitying looks I got when I whipped my pen out, when I did a blood test; when people asked me if I really should be eating that biscuit because “you’re diabetic you know?!”.

I hated being singled out. I knew I was just as capable as my friends, so I began to inadvertently hide. I did my injections alone, avoided having hypos, didn’t automatically tell people. But it’s not good y’know! I learnt that people need to accept me for me, diabetic, so that we can eliminate misconceptions and prejudices in society.

I am me, and if you dont like it then there’s nothing I can do.

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  1. Lara Martín says

    Hi helen!
    I´m Lara . from Spain , i´m 21 years old and i´m diabetic from I was 10 years old. When I felt sick all my friends left me alone, nobody talks to me because they thought I could transmit the disease.Obviously who have to accept the problem is you, and then your family, your friends…………. I think the problem is that society have many prejudices about us!Now, I really feel good with my life and diabetics only can get that loving themselves.


  2. chelcie cummins says

    Hey Helen,
    I’ve been diabetic for 8 years, I’m 17 years old. Growing up with diabetes is hard, I feel like I have to tell everyone I get close to that I’m diabetic, then that means I have to go through explaining what it actually is and that I haven’t got diabetes from eating ‘too much sugar’. I used to be so shy about telling people so I used to keep it to myself but its hard when it plays such a main part of your daily life so now I just tell everyone, do my injections wherever I can, whenever I need it.
    People need to realise were normal people, diabetes can’t stop us from doing things.

  3. Jenny Foster says

    Great blog Helen!

    Glad you don’t hide your diabetes anymore, its nothing to be ashamed of! My little boy will take inspiration from people like you as he grows older and learns to live with his diabetes so thank you for sharing.

    Hope you don’t mind but I have posted this to my Facebook.

    Jenny X

  4. julianne says

    I have had type 1 diabetes for over 30 years. When I was a teenager I didn’t like people to know that I was diabetic as I was embarrassed about my condition. I am well into adulthood now and find that some people assume that it is my fault that I am diabetic; perhaps I ate too much sugar or was overweight as a child or had a poor diet when growing up. The media doesn’t help with the way it reports the increase in childhood diabetes. Many people are ignorant about the disease and need educating. I think people should feel proud of themselves living with the condition and all it throws at them.

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