There is a lot of discussion going on in the DOC today about people who feel like they do not fit in and are not having the experience they had thought they would. The overwhelming opinion seems to be that each person has the experience they choose to have and that each person comes to the table with their own expectations and it is not always possible to meet those expectations.
On the one hand, I totally agree. People do come to this experience with expectations. There are those who are looking for someone to relate to. There are those who come looking for some understanding. There are others who are so angry, so frightened, or both, that it is impossible for them to find what they need–or to even know what it is they need. Even in the real world when you try to become a part of a tight knit group, but you are too angry, or too opinionated, to fit in, you won’t fit in. It’s as simple as that.
But I also understand how these people feel. The DOC has become a very tight knit society. All the same people show up on all the same blogs. The commenters, the guest posts, the people within in the DOC quoted on the biggest blogs are all the same people. That can be intimidating to an outsider. Sure, an outsider can probably worm their way in eventually–especially if they act and speak and have the right type of diabetes as those who control the gates. But its not easy. It’s like trying to become one of the in-crowd when you are the new student at school. Sometimes, if you don’t make the right impression the first time around, you aren’t going to make it.
And, in response to one comment about this issue–I have to say not all of us started our diabetes blog to become a part of that ‘in-club’. I didn’t. I started my blog because I was suffering from diabetes burnout and I needed a place to purge that negativity that was holding me back from simply wanting to care for myself. It had nothing to do with the DOC, had nothing to do with the idea of trying to fit in. And I doubt that every person who begins a diabetes blog does it with the intention of becoming part of the DOC. We all have our own reasons for blogging. For those who crave attention–well, I wish them well, but have to say that I agree that this is likely not the best way to do it. I’ve been blogging for more than a year–actually, I think it is closer to two years–and have fewer than a couple dozen followers and comments. That’s not why I do it–though I do appreciate the occasional comment that reminds me that someone is hearing what I have to say–I do it for myself, to have a place to vent that won’t blow back on me.
For a community that began as way for people with a specific medical condition to find others with the same condition to share stories, sympathy, and offer support, there is a surprising lack of empathy in the DOC. Some of the commentary on this issue lacks an understanding that should have come naturally. It’s almost as though those who began this discussion feel attacked. This is not a personal attack on anyone. It’s simply a comment on the DOC as a whole. It is a tight knit community, it is sharply broken into specific categories, and it is difficult for an outsider to feel welcome. Maybe instead of feeling attacked and defending their own actions, leaders in the DOC should be focused on why the DOC has become such an exclusive club.
And it might start with the moderators at a place called, My Diabetes Secret. With such a name, they might respect the fact that people are encouraged to voice their unhappiness on the site, but it isn’t necessarily meant as a personal attack on them or anyone else.
And I might ask why something like this became such a huge topic when comments that essentially blame type 2 diabetics for the misunderstandings that exist in the world as a whole are accepted and silently supported.
Maybe instead of feeling defensive and spreading blame, the DOC would be better off spreading the truth about diabetes and embracing their fellow sufferers instead of stuffing everyone into categories and playing that old game–my diabetes is worse than yours…