What’s Your Itch?
My “diabetes advocacy itch” has always been emotional health. I’m not a doctor and I don’t know everything about type 1 diabetes, but I do know that I pay more attention to my diabetes when my head is in a healthy space, and being tuned in to diabetes improves outcomes, for me. Feeling stressed, overwhelmed, upset … any kind of intense emotion like that seeds itself in my management attempts and upsets the apple cart. (Or, to be more accurate, the islet cart, which is already a precarious one.)
I can have the most up-to-date, tech-savvy glucose meter on my bedside table, but I still need to motivate myself to load the test strip, apply the blood drop, and make decisions on the result. I can have access to the best medical team in the country, but I still need to follow through on the appointments that are scheduled. All the diabetes management tools in the world are rendered useless if I don’t use them.
Which is why the psychosocial side of diabetes interests me so much, because I feel that mindset can be as important as access.
(I realize that it is a privilege to have access in the first place – see how it comes back to mindset? During the Spare a Rose campaign, I was repeatedly reminded to appreciate the insulin sitting in my butter compartment, which made me want to move the Life for a Child mission forward even more. :: scratch, scratch ::)
Since the start of my blog back in 2005, I’ve seen people in the DOC space tackle a host of issues, because it was their “itch.” Some people make their focus the FDA, or research, or fundraising for different organizations. Some people want to move the needle on access to care, or exercise, or peer-to-peer support. Some people want to connect with PWD in their town, or have a network to discuss emotional issues with. Others want to tackle public perception, or offline outreach, or influencing policy. Just like the variables of diabetes, the advocacy and connection possibilities are endless.
Lots of different “itches.”
Every single aim is important. Every voice is important. Every person touched by diabetes is important.
So I want to know what your “itch” is. What fuels you? What diabetes issues are important to you? We’re a huge community with the ability to do a lot of good, and it starts with knowing what you want to see “scratched.” Maybe by sharing, we can find kindred spirits and get scratching.