Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Working with diabetes

Managing your diabetes is a very personal thing and how (and with whom) you choose to share that with can also be a very individual thing.  Some people choose to be very open about it whilst others can be more reserved – and whatever works best for you is obviously the best thing.


But is there a certain amount we should disclose about our condition regardless of how much we might want to?


I recently started a new job (actually my third different workplace in the last 12 months – the price of being a contract worker) and I haven’t really talked a lot about diabetes since I began.  I have my tester and diary out on my desk all the time, I openly use my pump in the lunch room but I haven’t really explained any of this to my new colleagues.  I’ve told them I have type 1 diabetes but I’ve not elaborated any further than that.


I think the main reason is that I don’t want to make other people feel uncomfortable because of it.  Or that I don’t want people to feel any sort of responsibility towards me because of it.  That said, in a previous job, I ended up explaining to two of my co-workers all about type 1 diabetes in great detail when we had an overnight stop in London for some meetings.  It turned out that they were very curious and felt a lot more informed as a result.


I’ve always been very independent with my diabetes and whilst my immediate family and close friends know what they need to know I’ve never felt at ease automatically giving that same information to colleagues – partly because I’ve never felt like I needed to. 


But is it being responsible for your own health to tell people what might happen, how to treat a hypo and what signs to look out for?


I suppose the answer is always a pretty personal thing too.  If you’re going through a phase where your control isn’t as good as you’d like, or you don’t get hypo warning signs then maybe it’s more prudent to be open with your colleagues than if you’re a lot more confident in how your daily routine affects your diabetes.


What we should always remember is that there should be no stigma attached to having diabetes and you should always be able to speak openly about what it means for you and what it might mean for your colleagues too.


If you’re not sure about how you should broach the subject or want someone to talk to, don’t forget you can contact us in confidence to talk things through.