Teen Topic #8: Were you ever bullied or have social issues in regards to diabetes? If so, how did you handle them?

Laura (age 16)
I’ve never really been bullied about it, but sometimes I feel awkward checking in public and making noises with my insulin pump and stuff. I handled it by just getting over it. It’s something that I have to do to live.

Brandon (age 15)
Having diabetes has never really led me to having social issues or being bullied, and I would attribute that to my sense of humor, because I make jokes about my diabetes all the time and there isn’t much that is left for them to offend me with.  And if they’re going to use your incurable disease to make fun of you, they have no other way to be mean to you, and are just bottom line not worth your time.

Jessica (age 19)
In regards to my diabetes I don’t believe I was ever bullied, but rather looked at differently by people who did not know or understand. I felt that it was part of my duty as a T1D to educate them and most of the time this helped in changing their attitude and they became accepting of who I am. I think people who don’t know about diabetes are quick to judge based on the myths out there and that in turn leads to bullying. As T1Ds it is our job to educate people and help create change so that everyone can understand and be accepting and helpful when things get tough.

Claire (age 16)
I have never been bullied because of diabetes, most of my friends are incredibly supportive and even remind me to take care of myself. I did have some social issues when I first got diagnosed, at age 7. I didn’t get invited to birthday parties because the mothers of the other little girls didn’t want to have to “deal” with me. And to this day I still get weird looks, stares, and some of the strangest questions you could think of.

Luke (age 15)
I have been picked on about having diabetes.  I would just ignore what they said and move on because I knew that they were trying to bring me down.   My mom helped me out a lot by telling me people like that are usually unhappy about themselves and do things to people to make themselves feel better.  As I have gotten older, it bothers me less.

Ian (age 13)
Yes, I have. I try to educate them upon the matter, but they are more stubborn than a donkey and don’t listen. My health textbook even has wrong info. My school won’t do anything about it though, and thus, I don’t try anymore. I wish they’d do something. They won’t let me even fundraise for JDRF. When I ask, I get an eye roll, or, “maybe next year,” but that never has or will happen.

Ashley B.(age 14)
Oh yeah, I’ve been bullied about it. Mostly from complete morons who know nothing of the disease. In example, “You must be an animal because you’re diseased, like a dog.” Okay, yeah. Diabetes is exactly like rabies. Thanks for that. I quickly called them out on their ignorance, and they left me alone. I don’t really hide having to do shots or checking my sugar in public, because if you act ashamed of what you have, you’ll be more of a target. “Oh wow, look at them, they’re doing drugs!” “Yeah no I have a disease, idiot, I have to do this or I’ll have health complications later in life” Basically, don’t be ashamed of what you have, you didn’t ask for it, but that doesn’t justify people making a joke out of you.

Mercedes (age 15)
I have been called named before because of it and I am very socially awkward.  I don’t think it’s because of my diabetes but it is a possibility.

Allie (age 13)
I wasn’t ever bullied because of having diabetes, and I don’t think I ever will be because I tend to keep to myself and don’t tell anyone straight up about having the disease. They’d have to see me check my blood sugar or bolus for something in order to notice, and even then most people are very understanding.

Page (age 17)
I’ve never had any bullying problems with my diabetes. When I was younger I would go around my elementary school every year with the other few diabetics and we would talk about type one and what we have to go through and how the other kids could help. They were always really supportive and never said anything about it. As I’ve gotten older, I just stay quiet about my disease and not very many people know that I am diabetic.

Skylyn (age 15)
I don’t think I have ever been bullied for my diabetes. I am sometimes questioned but not really rudely; they were just curious.

Ashley C. (age 14)
I was never bullied really more kids thought I was that kid who was different and I had a pump so I was really cool.

 

Teen Topic # 7: (from a Project Blue November reader) How can a parent motivate a teen to take better care of himself in terms of blood sugars, giving the right amount of insulin, etc? My teen does not want to let me take care of those things for him but also does not do them on his own. I worry about his future health.

Jordan (age 17)
You can’t motivate someone to take care of themselves.  They have to want to do it on their own.  Sometimes it takes feeling really bad to make them want to feel good.

Laura (age 16)
Honestly, I don’t think there’s really any way for a parent to motivate the child. They have to want to do it alone. It’s really frustrating to have someone who has no idea how you feel tell you how to take care of yourself. I guess you should just remind him, and if he gets pissed off, then give it a little time before you get onto him again. It’s frustrating being a teen with diabetes and sometimes we feel a little awkward and uncomfortable, but he’ll come around.

Brandon (age 15)
Here’s my tip for you:  Buckle up and get ready for a s*** storm.  I’m pretty sure every diabetic goes through a phase like this where they “Pretend they don’t have diabetes”.  I went through it, and just about every other diabetic I know went through it.  Honestly, just give it time, it will pass.

Jessica (age 19)
I truly believe that T1D is a disease that children need to learn to manage on their own. My suggestion would be to give your teen space and see if he comes around. We know that you want what is best for us, but micromanaging tends to make us annoyed and unmotivated. My advice would be to give him space and see what happens. Another idea (if that doesn’t work) would be to motivate him. I think a good way to do this is by explaining that he needs to prove that he can take care of himself, by himself, in order to be able to go out alone with friends and eventually off to college. I currently go to school 3 hours from home and, yes, there are times I get off track with my diabetes and my parents kick in and start to help me manage, but I had to show them I can take care of myself on my own before I could leave. I think it is important to talk about this and not lecture or yell; make him feel as if taking care of himself will better his life in the long and short term.

Claire (age 16)
He needs to find motivation in himself, because sooner or later he’ll be on his own. And if he still can’t then you have no other choice but to force your help, if you are that worried about his health. Maybe try showing what might come to him if he doesn’t take care of himself. But either way, self motivation is key.

Luke (age 15)
Not sure how parents can motivate if kid doesn’t want help.  I like reminders from my mom.  Sometimes I get busy and forget to do stuff.

Ian(age 13)
Well, I don’t recommend scaring him, but maybe positive reinforcement. Maybe say, “if you do this, I’ll do this,” or “if you don’t do this then you lose this, that, or the other.”

Zyler (age 15)
Tell them what could happen if they don’t and not nag all the time.

Ashley B. (age 14)
Honestly, you can’t really motivate anyone to do something they don’t want to do. I felt the same way about always having to check and give shots. My mom would always be on me about that stuff, and one day she just backed off. She let me fend for myself, not in a “hey good luck don’t die” way, but she would help me when I needed help. I’ve been a lot better about it since she’s not making me check what seems like every five minutes. As a result of not checking so much, I can feel my lows much better than I could when I was checking constantly.

Mercedes (age 15)
It mostly depends on the kid.  With some of them you just have to let them make mistakes and as long as you are there to help them fix them, and of course make sure they aren’t huge mistakes, they will hopefully wake up and fix what they messed up on.

Allie (age 13)
I feel like the best way to get someone to manage their diabetes on their own is to give them subtle encouragement along the way. Don’t try to force it on them but let them know that this is something that they’re going to have to deal with for a really long time. Tell them you’re concerned for their health and tell them you’ll always be able to help if they need it. Make sure they’re in a good mood before hand or else they could just filter it out as nagging and get mad.

Page (age 17)
I know that when I’m not taking care of myself correctly, I very much dislike when my mom or dad is continuously on me about it. I like to try and get it down by myself and if I cannot do it myself then I will ask for help from my parents. Try telling him that you’re going to give him some space to do it himself and then ask him what else you or a doctor can do to help. Possibly try some of the newer technologies that are starting to come out that can help remind him to check his blood sugars and take a dose.

Skylyn (age 15)
I’m not sure what other advice I could give other than he needs to take care of himself. Diabetes can be scary and you don’t want something bad happening from being lazy or not caring about your health.

Ashley C. (age 14)
I have the same problem. I do to want my mom to baby me with diabetes, but I also don’t do it very well, so my mom will do it when I’m asleep or will give me a dollar if it’s a perfect 100. But you can’t force the kid if he has no motivation to do so.

Philip (age 16)
I don’t think you can motivate with controlling him/her. The teen has to motivate himself/herself.

Teen Topic #6: How do you prefer to handle your diabetes in public? Is it different when you are with friends vs when you are among strangers?

Kate (age 15)
I handle my diabetes the same way no matter where I am/who I’m with. If somebody has a problem with it then they just need to deal.

Mercedes (age 15)
I handle it out in the open, I don’t worry about people seeing  and I think it might be because I was diagnosed at the age of 6 and I’m used to it. There might be some kids that do want to do it under the table or something, and I would let them because you don’t want to force them to do anything that they aren’t conferrable doing. As long as It’s not skipping testing and blousing completely when you’re out.

Garrett (age 16)
I handle my diabetes the same way in front of friends or strangers.

Ian (age 13)
I am not embarrassed by my diabetes, but I sometimes prefer doing what I need to do privately to avoid questions and making people uncomfortable.

Skylyn (age 15)
When I am among strangers, Ii will mostly test and bolus not caring what people think, but with my friends it’s different. I am not very open about my diabetes, even with my close friends. Usually when I am among friends, I won’t test or even bring a meter. I will just bolus whenever I find a good time to.

Jessica (age 19)
In public I like to be quick as possible, while still being accurate when it comes to my diabetes. I get annoyed and frustrated with long dragged out conversations about carbs and unit amounts. I would rather just say 50 carbs, 6.0 units, okay, bolus, and move on. I feel that the only difference with friends vs. strangers is the time. Yes, I like to be swift; however, if a stranger is curious I do not mind stopping and taking my time to explain it to them. But with friends who know me it is more likely that I’ll do it in a snap. For those on pumps, it is the easiest to just bolus and be done. Shots, I prefer to go into the bathroom to administer just because it is a little more private and sanitary. But I check my blood everywhere and anywhere — I feel it is the easiest task we have.

Zyler (age 15)
I just do what I normally do.

Ashley B (age 14)
When it comes to doing shots or checking my blood sugar in front of people, I do it out in the open so I can see what kind of reactions I’ll get. I like seeing people’s reactions when I give a shot. It’s just funny to see their expressions go from horror, to confusion, to astonishment. Or, people just run out of the room screaming about how I’m doing drugs.

Jordan (age 17)
It’s not different with friends vs strangers.  I just do it how it needs to be done.  If I need to test I just pull out my tester and test.

Laura (age 16)
I try to do it discreetly, but I handle it as I need to. I’m a little more comfortable with checking my sugar and things around my friends rather than strangers, because I know my friends understand.

Allie (age 13)
I handle my diabetes in public the same was as any other time. I have an insulin pump so it’s not as difficult to manage in public, and most people don’t even pay attention to you in public unless you’re wearing or doing something that makes you really stand out. I don’t think people should handle their diabetes differently in front of other people because it’s a part of them, and they have to accept that.

Luke (age 15)
I treat my diabetes the same with strangers and with friends. It’s my health so I’m not going to let anything stop me from taking care of myself.

Claire (age 16)
As far as handling it in public, it’s no different than with my friends. Sure my friends understand, but both groups stare uncontrollably. It’s just what happens.  I used to feel uncomfortable about it, when I was younger and more self conscious, but now that I’ve come to terms with what I have, I don’t care if people stare. The only difference is that to add to the staring, my friends will ask me how it works and if it affects me in any ways, while strangers will just stare and sometimes glare at me as if I’m ruining their day by keeping myself alive.

Brandon (age 15)
I handle it the same way all the time.  There is no reason not to.

Ashley C (age 14)
I don’t handle my diabetes any different when I’m with my friends vs. if I’m around strangers. I feel if they want to ask questions they can come up to me and ask. I’m not going to get mad at them, if I didn’t want them to see I would have done it where they wouldn’t have seen.

Teen Topic #5: What are the differences in your care (and your BG) when you have your period? Explain what types of changes you have to make during those times of the month.

Skylyn (age 15)
The day before and the first day of my period, my numbers can be weird. They are either 200s all day or below 100 all day and for me, that isn’t normal.

Jessica (age 19)
As far as diabetes, I believe that my numbers become slightly elevated and I am a little more sensitive to corrections and insulin intake, but overall nothing dramatic changes when I have my period. I am also on medication to regulate my flow so that can also have some impact as to the effects I see during my monthly cycle.

Allie (age 13)
The only thing I change during that time is sometimes I increase my basal using the temp basal tool. My blood sugar tends to be higher during that time.

Nicole (age 14)
I usually have to crank my lantus/ long term insulin up a bit the week before because I’ll get higher numbers. Also, I might change my ISF too, and generally take more insulin because I tend to eat more. My blood sugars are usually higher up to a week before until a week after my periods.

Kate (age 14)
My numbers go up so I have a pattern with increased basal rates

Mercedes (age 15)
With my period there is no change, it all depends on the person.

Page (age 17)
My sugars spike really high during the week of my period so I have to dose more and increase my corrections and dosages for meals. When I am on my pump I increase my basal rate and when I am MDI I have to take a few more units of Lantus to keep my levels down and controlled.

Ashley B. (age 14)
I go low about a week prior to getting my period, and then I’m high while I am on my period.

Claire (age 16)
In the week prior to my period, my numbers are perfect.  In the week of my period, my numbers skyrocket, to the high 200s, low 300s, even without eating.  The way I manage that is by upping my Lantus dose by one or two units.  Sometimes, even that doesn’t help, but if I up it too much, I run the risk of lows.  It’s unpredictable, some months the higher Lantus isn’t even needed, and some months, it barely keeps me below 300.  Even the shorter acting insulin seems to have less impact on highs when I correct during my period.