Ashley gives us a look at diabetes from a few different perspectives.
Our friend, Ashley Ng from BitterSweet Diagnosis, shares her experience of being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Not fitting any of the stereotypical molds, she struggled to find a place to call home. Now she works tirelessly to advocate for others in her position.
Type 2 Diabetes?
What do you associate with the words “type 2 diabetes”? An overweight person, sitting in front of the television eating a packet of potato chips? You are not alone. I bet you wouldn't be thinking of a healthy weight, physically active 19-year-old girl who grew up with a balanced diet. 5 years ago, I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I found out about my high blood sugar levels by chance and had no classic indicators associated with type 1 diabetes. Medically, I didn't tick the boxes required for a type 1 diabetes diagnosis, so I must have type 2 diabetes. However, I didn’t fit neatly into a type 2 diabetes diagnosis either. This became clear when my blood sugar levels only improved after starting multiple daily injections a year after I was diagnosed. My diabetes was the triangle peg that wouldn't fit into the square and round holes that are type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Although this didn't bother me, many health professionals, online groups, diabetes services, and programs refused to accept this and therefore, me.
Enter the DOC (Diabetes Online Community)I started blogging about life with diabetes as a way to reflect on my experiences. It wasn't long before I discovered the diabetes online community (DOC) on Twitter. Unlike many of the groups I tried joining previously, the DOC welcomed me with open arms. I even met a few other young adults with type 2 diabetes, which gave me a huge sense of relief that I’m not alone. Being involved with tweetchats gave me an added sense of belonging within my new found family. Over time, I heard similar stories of people being bullied and discriminated against because of their diabetes, no matter what type of diabetes it was. People with type 1 diabetes spoke of being subjected to misinformed comments from the general public. People with type 2 diabetes spoke about the burden of living with a condition riddled with stigma and stereotyping. No one deserves to be bullied, excluded or isolated because of diabetes. There are many things about diabetes that people don't know. I am a huge advocate for sharing knowledge and experiences to reduce the misinformation that exists around diabetes. However, when it comes to support groups, the type of diabetes you have shouldn’t matter. Some things may be more applicable to type 1 or type 2 diabetes but not everyone will fit neatly into a category.
Ashley graduated with a Masters in Dietetics from Deakin University in October of 2014[/caption]