Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Does having diabetes make you ordinary or extraordinary?

An eye-catching news item about disabled people has made us stop and think. It discusses why disabled people might undertake dangerous or gruelling (or both) activities, such as trekking to the Arctic or running a marathon.

Diabetes magazines and websites often feature people with diabetes doing extraordinary things, like climbing Everest, trekking in a rainforest for weeks or – yes, you’ve heard of this one – winning many gold medals at the Olympics. You could almost be forgiven for thinking it was obligatory to ‘overcome’ the condition by proving that you are somehow extraordinary. Leaving aside the obvious question about whether these activities do have a life-enhancing, diabetes-defeating effect, the fact is that in reality, doing these things is off most people’s radar screens, whether they have diabetes or not.

So do you have to prove yourself somehow ‘normal’ if you have a condition like diabetes? Our thinking about this is that having diabetes doesn’t make you any more or less able to do ANYTHING, and nor does it mean that you have to prove anything. 

There will always be people who enjoy and succeed at ‘super ventures’. Having or developing diabetes might uncover your desire for these, or if that desire is already present, it will not stop you, and for this we salute you. But there are many more less adventurous souls who are happy just to get through each day and count its successes and blessings – this seems to us equally worthy of celebration and it would be great to hear a bit more about the ordinary life achievements, as well as the extraordinary!

What’s your view? Are you an adventurer or a get-through-the-day-er?  Has diabetes made a difference to how you view life?   The discussion is open!

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