National Diabetes Awareness Month!! Woo hoo!! This month has always been exciting for me. Validation is not something diabetics typically feel in our day-to-day lives. But November is a national month for acknowledging and talking about the struggles diabetics face on a daily basis. There is no way to ignore that part of yourself when those around you are talking about it, too.
Raising awareness for T1D is something I’m passionate about, but it can also be a huge source of anxiety for me. There is a lot of pressure from our community to be champions of the cause 24 hours/day, seven days/week, but the reality is that that’s just not possible.
Diabetes is a full time job, so most of us cant devote all of our energy to being advocates. I’ve found that starting at home, with those around you, and sharing your story about type one is half the battle of raising awareness. It sometimes feels like you’re not truly fighting the good fight unless you’re on the front lines, yelling and chanting and screaming, but that’s just not true. Make a post every once in a while. Share your story with those around you. Anything truly impactful starts at home.
And awareness can come in many forms. It’s not just a national thing, and it’s not something only JDRF or the ADA does. Awareness starts as a grassroots-level movement. I notice myself raising awareness at many random times in the day without realizing it. For example, answering curious questions about my insulin pump, telling my professor my medical needs, posting about diabetes on social media – the list goes on and on.
Months like NDAM remind us to yell, scream, chant and champion our passions, but we often forget the ultimate goal of these actions: to make change. Changing the stigma, changing the diagnosis rate, and changing the healthcare system are all reasons why we do what we do. So this National Diabetes Month, instead of simply raising awareness, I’m going to encourage change by directing people to the JDRF and ADA websites. Those are actionable steps people can take to learn more.
So, happy November, diabuddies! It's our month to shine. Take some time not only to raise awareness for our cause, but to also celebrate some of the good things diabetes has introduced to your life - I know you can find at least one!