dear author of the above postsecret,
i’ve rewritten the first line of this letter so many times, this nothing of a sentence will simply have to do. hi. my name is heather and i have been living with diabetes for thirteen years; not sure how much time from diagnosis to now i have spent pretending i didn’t have this damned disease. diabetes is the pits and many blame us for it. nothing helps us try to self manage better than being told we deserve what we got, huh?-(insert aggressive wink to denote sarcasm here). living with diabetes can be soul sucking and when we pretend it isn’t, the soul-suckage seems to increase exponentially.
i’m not writing you this letter because i have seen the light and am on the other side of the invisibility cloak, because i’m not. in many ways i’m right in there with you. hiding. pretending. for now and perhaps the rest of my life i will experience health tribulations that lead me to mask diabetes, removing its face, voice, and presence completely. i might be an expert in pretending i have a better handle on my diabetes than i actually do.
when i read your secret, the first thing i wanted to do was reach out and hug you. mostly because i would want a hug myself, but also because hugs happen a lot here. here… in the diabetes online community – affectionately called the #doc. the DOC is where i found the courage to come out from under the diabetes invisibility cloak for the first time.
i’m guessing from your submission to postsecret, that you too find comfort in the anonymity of the internet. the web is loaded with opportunities to purge painfully repressed emotions. i’ve taken advantage of those resources before as well. i did reach a point, however, when purging wasn’t quite enough.
when i read your secret, the second thing i wanted to do was lead you to all of the beautiful people living with diabetes right here on the internet who have experienced life under the diabetes cloak. most of us here have gone through periods of hiding our diabetes from strangers, from our friends, and from ourselves. because of these people, who show humility and courage exactly like you did in that postsecret card, the diabetes that has been my tantalizing struggle transformed from a ‘mine’ to an ‘ours’.
so now, even when i’m nestled tightly under the diabetes cloak, i’m in there with company, with friends, with family.
i’m not writing this letter asking you stop pretending you don’t have diabetes.
i’m writing this letter asking you to give up on pretending alone.
look around you and find that the cloak is actually an expansive tent, filled with individuals under their own cloaks – feeling isolated, blamed, ashamed, burnt out.
let my friends be your friends
and allow diabetes to be more than just yours.
diabetes, dear author, is ours.
if we have to pretend, let us do it together.
hoping you find us near you,
Heather the diabetic.