DSMA Blog Carnival topic for March:
“Does your employer/school/friends know you have diabetes? Why or why not?”
I have never interviewed for a job without disclosing my type 1 diabetes in the first few minutes of the interview. I thought I’d make them think “Either she’s crazy or she isn’t afraid of what we’ll think about her”. I’m a fan of bold moves during interviews-makes things more exciting for everyone. I know it was a risk but out of about 10 job interviews in my life I’ve only once not gotten the job (in that case I totally bombed the interview). And I’ve been lucky to have never been fired from a job.
I share this to say that I suspect confidence and demeanor probably do more to create an impression on your employer of reliability and ability than one’s having diabetes. I might be wrong or I might have been lucky but that’s how it’s always been for me. I imagine it helps to look relatively healthy and happy as well. Smiling and assuring them that I take care of myself is something that worked for me (even if that wasn’t all true at the time).
People at school have always known of my diabetes because my mom was very adamant about meeting with all my teachers (even when I was in high school) and looking them in the eye and very seriously explaining what the diabetes thing was all about. She’d insist that whatever I needed to do like test, eat, use the restroom, should not be questioned. (Yay mom!) This made it impossible for me to hide my diabetes even if I had wanted to. Teachers would be very aware of me. I’d get my little snacks out and they’d discretely ask me how I was doing. Or they’d make a little note on my homework or test paper reminding me that if I didn’t feel well or needed something I shouldn’t hesitate to let them know. It was comforting to have them know. I believe that it’s possible I got more tutoring help from teachers because of having diabetes but that could just be a figment of my imagination. If that’s true, then being open about having diabetes sent me extra help, understanding, and support my way.
And then because intense diabetes management has a hard time hiding anyway, I was open with everyone in general about it. I wanted friends to know about my diabetes. I happened to be friends with really sweet, caring kids who all had great parents. That helped a lot. I was never teased or made to feel bad about my diabetes by a peer. But then again, I don’t recall ever teasing or bothering anyone about anything, ever (though I did punch a few boys who deserved it). I think that helped, too. And if someone did say hurtful things, I can’t remember anything about that right now. Weird huh?
*Side Note: I completely understand someone’s unwillingness to share their diabetes with others readily. If my life had gone a little differently with other experiences, had people not been as supportive, or had someone poked fun at me…well, I’m sure I’d done different.
To read other awesome submissions for this topic, click here.