Wednesday, June 22, 2016

To the Person Glaring at Me as I Inject My Insulin in Public

To the person I see glaring at me as I inject my insulin at the table across from you in the food court,

Hello, my name is Michelle. I see that you saw me injecting myself and from the look on your face, you didn't like it very much. Maybe you're afraid of needles. Maybe you thought I should have gone somewhere private to do this and thought I was weird for doing it in broad daylight. Maybe it just really grossed you out. There was a time I would have let your judgmental stare really upset me. Times have changed. I'll tell you why.

I have Type 1 Diabetes. Type 1 Diabetes is an autoimmune disease - it is NOT caused by weight, eating too much sugar, or not getting enough exercise. Type 1 diabetes can happen to anyone. It can happen to the fittest person you know. In a person with Type 1 diabetes, their immune system mistakenly attacks the insulin-producing beta cells in their pancreas. Without insulin, a person will die. No ifs ands or buts. Insulin helps control your blood sugar. So Type 1s literally have many highs and lows. We usually have to give ourselves injections of insulin every single time we eat. Would you enjoy finding the closest dirty washroom, going into the tiny stall, trying to prepare your insulin, inject yourself, and do this over and over again for the rest of your life? I don't think so. 

While I sit there and inject my insulin manually, your body is automatically doing the same work for you as you eat. I consider you quite lucky in that respect. I'm already stuck injecting myself up to 10 times a day, which sucks, so why should I have to get up and hide myself away? Why should I be ashamed?  

I used to be terrified of injecting in public. I refused to, actually. It took a lot of encouragement from some great friends to start doing it. I would occasionally whine and say "Ugh, I don't feel like going to the bathroom to inject", and they'd say "Why don't you do it right here?" For some reason it was branded into my mind that it was an impossible idea. Then one day when they suggested it, I did it. And it felt so liberating. It felt so freeing to tell myself that I didn't have to care about the judgment of strangers and that I felt better doing it this way, so this was how I was going to do it. This was easier for me and this is the way it was going to be. 

So stranger, I hope you can now understand my decision to inject in public a little more. I hope that you can understand that, and that maybe, if you really don't like needles, you can just turn away. I hope you learned something new today.

Until next time. 

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