Several years ago the professional diabetes community started working on not using the word “diabetic.” Interestingly, the idea was to stop using “diabetic” as a noun, but it was ok to use it as an adjective. I’ve mentioned before that I avoid using the term altogether, because I don’t find it useful.
I do find it interesting to observe when other people use the word “diabetic.” I wonder if parents who call their kids “diabetics” only see the diabetes when they look at their child; it is a major focus in their life, and I imagine they don’t ever stop thinking about it. I wonder if people who call themselves “diabetics” do so because it helps them remember to keep diabetes at the forefront and take care of it. Or maybe it makes people feel like part of a community.
Or is it just easier? For sure, our language has evolved into one of convenience, and it’s far simpler to say “diabetic” than “person with diabetes” or “people who have diabetes” or “someone living with diabetes.”
Besides not liking labels, I have chosen not to use “diabetic” because for me it’s not uplifting. I was having this conversation with a woman who has diabetes recently and she said when she hears the word “diabetic” she thinks “less than.” That just about summed it up for me! Wow. In fact, we are so much more than diabetes! Diabetes is just one small part of who I am – an important part that I take care of, but not the most important part.
So if you call yourself a diabetic, I support you in that. Maybe that’s all you’ve ever heard and you don’t even think about it. My only hope is that you know that you are more than diabetes.