Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Diabetes on the Internet

Does the internet really help those living with diabetes?  Beyond googling what the carbs are in a milkshake, beyond sending a email to your nurse asking if you should change your basal rates, and beyond responding to your mom via Facebook about how your blood sugars are doing.  Is the internet hurting our understanding of both diabetes and ourselves?

This is a hard question because most of what I do for diabetes is via the internet.   For instance, this very blog, or the type 1 diabetes meme page I started years ago.  I believe that so much good can come from connecting via the internet, because firstly you can reach more people and secondly you can keep connect to those that don't live close to you.  The internet has become our way of dealing with issues and chances are those cute journal books we used to write in, are long gone.

Sometimes I want to delete myself from diabetes related conversations via the internet. I want to shut it all out and focus on what I am dealing with at the moment.  It's hard to take on the burden of others struggles, and then in turn compare them with your own.  Am I worthy of feeling frustrated that they don't understand my point of view? Am I worthy of feeling stressed about my current situation, when theirs seems worse off?  Comparing, consulting, confusing.

A few months ago, I left A LOT of diabetes groups online because I couldn't take it anymore. I felt myself comparing myself to others, I felt myself trying to consult those that I felt were struggling and I was confused at what my place was.  We are all living our own lives, yet rely so much on how others perceive us, good or bad.

I think about my local empowerment group, where we meet in person weekly, interact, share our frustrations and opinions and can't help but think of much of a breath of air that is. Connecting, face to face, and getting to know one another in more ways that what we post via social media.  I want those deep rooted connections, yet I also want to have the platform to express how diabetes has played out in my life.

It's a tug of war trying to find that balance between being an advocate, having a platform, but still stepping back and realizing when this isn't fulfilling my time and I am going to let it go.



  1. I am a member of only one diabetic forum, I left the other two because I didn't like them nor they me. I have nobody who follows my diabetic blog who posts on it because I'm an atypical juvenile onset/type 1 diabetic. I don't think like most juvenile onset/type 1's do. I have no friends who are diabetics. So I can't understand the problem you're having. I wish I could but I don't. I may feel so differently because I'm the only juvenile onset on both sides of my family in 6 generations and I was the only one in my town for 10 years. It was just me. I wish I could help you Kayla.

  2. An unexpected observation from someone who has pretty much withdrawn from online diabetes stuff, but still manages to meander into the community every now and then.

    I've been in groups and gatherings, both online and off. For the offline gatherings (there's one hosted near me every two months, which I attend sometimes but not with regularity), I've noticed that people seem, in general, older. Whereas 35 years puts me in the "veteran" category online, I'm still a young kid at these meet ups.

    People at the meetups seem far less irritated and stressed than in the online community. Maybe it's because focusing and discussing once a month is less demanding that doing so once a day. Everyone has jobs, families, and responsibilities (beyond T1D), and they handle them quite well. Perhaps the discipline that T1D-life has instilled has made them more successful and more resilient - who knows?

    At the offline meetups, there is no element of self-depreciation or "woe-is-me" discussion. With a short timespan in which to work with, we jump right to the advice and experiences and skip the drama that so often fills the page in blog posts.

    So as to not ramble too much, I think an online community certainly has its merits and it has made me a better person, but it is best when used as a crutch to help those who are trying to move forward and find their way. When it becomes more of an ongoing life-support tool, it becomes counterproductive.