My Diabetes Inklings

I Am Not A Diabetic Sufferer

Last week saw the launch of the Freestyle Libre in Australia. I was one of the few invited to speak to the media about my experience using the Libre (you can read my interview here). Despite contributing to magazine articles and blogs, doing interviews are something I get really nervous about. Especially seeing how diabetes have been reported in the past with terms like ‘compliance’, ‘lifestyle disease’, ‘diabetic’ and my absolute favourite: ‘diabetic sufferer’. 

I live with diabetes. I manage it day to day the best I can and do everything to ensure it doesn’t hold me back from the things I want to achieve. Just like anyone else in life. Everyone has their own battles – that’s just life. But you don’t see news headlines labelling people as ‘life sufferers’.

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To call me a diabetic sufferer implies I live in constant pain. Sure, it sucks to live with diabetes both emotionally and physically. But it’s also because of diabetes that I have become empowered in taking better care of my health. It’s because of diabetes that I have had the opportunity to meet very inspirational role models around the world. Because of diabetes, I have learned to be more grateful for things people take for granted like access to basic healthcare, education and supplies and moments of win with diabetes (aka not raging high after a kebab or pizza or pasta!).

I do not want pity from people when they hear that I have diabetes. I am just a normal person working hard to raise awareness of diabetes, hoping to make an impact in the world and who occasionally gorges on hot chips and chicken nuggets. Diabetes does not and should not define me.

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Language plays such an important role for people living with chronic conditions. It has the power to inspire or isolate people. That’s why I’m grateful that Diabetes Australia developed and released a Language Position Statement five years ago.

Five. Freaking. Years. Ago.

Yet we still see endearing terms like ‘diabetic sufferers’ in the news. Living with diabetes is tough enough as it is. We don’t need to be throwing language around that makes people with diabetes feel that there is no hope in living an amazing life after being diagnosis. Because there is hope and many fine examples of people living a full life while managing diabetes!

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Who’s awesome? YOU’RE awesome!

6 thoughts on “I Am Not A Diabetic Sufferer”

  1. Here, here, brilliant! I think you must only be one of few like me that stand up to derogative diabetes language – my sentiments exactly! You might like my book, mind body diabetes, a positive, powerful and proven solution to stop diabetes, type 1 and type 2 ( it certainly includes this thinking, as well as thinking differently altogether about diabetes for different results ! Go for it, spreading such a great massage, Fantastic article – I love it, just sooo true – brilliant work! X

    1. Thanks! I know I am certainly not the only one here who advocates for positive diabetes language to be used. People living with diabetes are sick of it and more and more researchers and healthcare professionals I know are speaking out about it. Will check out your book too 🙂


  2. I’ve heard it all! And although some people try to play it off, language does play an integral part in how we view diabetes. I live with diabetes. It is a part of me and like you, it has inspired me to live my best life and some of my best friends live with t1d just like me. If someone said I could go back in time and not have diabetes but I would lose the friendships I gained I would say no. Thanks for sharing Ashley!

  3. Yeah, I am not a sufferer either. I am a conqueror at least I want to be.

    I referred your blog to the TUDiabetes blog page for the week of June 6, 2016.

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