The Blame Game
Today is the third day of Diabetes Blog week. Each day we have a prompt and are called to post a response. You can read all responses at my friend Karen’s site Bitter~Sweet. Also, please remember RABlog week will occur in September. I hope you join the fun then as well.
The Blame Game – Wednesday 5/17
Having diabetes often makes a visit to the doctor a dreaded experience, as there is invariably bad news of one kind or another. And sometimes the way the doctor talks to you can leave you feeling like you’re at fault. Or maybe you have a fantastic healthcare team, but have experienced blame and judgment from someone else in your life – friend, loved one, or complete stranger. Think about a particularly bad instance; how that person talked to you, the words they used and the conversation you had. Now, the game part. Let’s turn this around. If you could turn that person into a puppet, what would you have them say that would leave you feeling empowered and good about yourself? Let’s help teach people how to support us, rather than blame us!
Blame is defined as assigning responsibility for a fault or wrong. I recently felt blame, though it was admittedly not directed at me. To begin with I was diagnosed in 1974 at the age of 17 and I am clearly a Type 1. No crackpot cure, exercise program, or water elixir is going to reverse my diabetes; that horse left the barn years ago. So why am I so upset about a television show about diabetes that is titled “reversed”?
The answer is simple I get all those crackpot cures and solicitations for the miracle elixir to cure diabetes. I place the blame about the name of the program squarely on MannKind, makers of AFREZZA®. I have no issue with the concept of the program. What I just cannot get over is that a major manufacturer in the diabetes space is associating itself with a diabetes program called “Reversed.”
The premise of the show is that people with diabetes can reverse the stigma by being better advocates and living more balanced lives (better eating habits, better health goals, etc.). I have no issue with any of that. What I do take issue with is the title “Reversed.” I hate that word when it relates to diabetes.
I expressed that sentiment a few days ago to MannKind and I told them I feel the name of the program is an affront to those who like myself get all that negative crap about diabetes. I realize that is just me; others may likely feel different.
The producers and media personalities associated with the program can say all they want about what the program is or is not. To me, that name is designed to promote the program playing off the stigma associated with diabetes. A stigma by the way which happens to be untrue for many of us. As a type 1 I know no amount of physical fitness and reducing weight will ever “Reverse” the diabetes I live with. For people with Type 2 diabetes, this is just a weekly program that tells them to work harder and look at all you can achieve.
And lest we think this is a minor issue look at what high ranking government officials are saying about people with diabetes. Those video clips make me realize how deeply negative stigma is attached to people with diabetes. A television show about diabetes called “Reversed,” feeds the stigma monster, no amount of explanation will ever overcome the damage done.
So I will say it again, shame on MannKind for sponsoring such a television program. You see single words can matter in a fast-paced media environment. The producers and sponsors chose it for a reason, and it was not because it would help people understand diabetes. They chose it to generate attention and feed the stigma. That word is offensive to me and for that reason so is MannKind’s sponsorship.