My interactions with the DOC have been nothing other than supportive*. I am not sure if it is because I am particularly fortunate or if it is that my opinions and thoughts are so vanilla that no one has ever thought to take objection to them.
I have enjoyed some robust discussion following topics I’ve written about, but I have always found respect directed towards me and hope that I have always displayed respect and kindness in spades. When I have opened up and exposed some pretty raw sentiments, I have felt enveloped in a blanket of love and support.
But having said all of that, there are times that interacting with the diabetes online community is exhausting and I simply feel the need to step away. I get burnt out and tired and need a break. I’d like to point out that it is never personal – my fatigue is never because of a single person.
I also find there to be some symmetry in my need to shrink away online with wanting to go to ground in real life. Sometimes, I don’t want to be ‘out there’. And that is okay.
What I find most draining when it comes to social media is the OUTRAGE (all caps; has to be all caps!). It happens frequently and certainly not exclusively in the diabetes sphere.
OUTRAGE is a modern-day ailment. At the end of last year, online magazine, Slate, compiled this amusing/terrifying/telling/ridiculous (choose your own adjective) piece which told us what we were OUTRAGED about EVERY.SINGLE.DAY of 2014. (August 28 was a watershed day – it was the day that there was OUTRAGE when it was announced that Hello Kitty is not, in fact, a cat.)
In the diabetes world, there is OUTRAGE a lot. In fact, in the first week of January, I wrote this post because we had already kicked off the year with some diabetes outrage thanks to Jamie Oliver and an inflatable Coke can.
I have admit, I am not immune to it. I wrote a post about the whole Crossfit palaver, but it actually was more a commentary on the stupid way that Crossfit dealt with it rather than taking offense to what was said.
The outrage is constant and tiring and often unfortunately results in sad and sorry diabetes-type in-fighting. It gets ugly and instead of building each other up – which is something that the DOC often does so well – we diminish each other and take each other down.
After each of these episodes, the fury and frenzied rage and anger and hate (because there is hate in there and it is terrible), I want to curl up under the doona and step right away from the noise. I reconsider if I really want to be part of a community that turns on each other so quickly at times, adding to the stigma that usually comes from outside our circle.
So when that happens, I spend a couple of days being a little less ‘out there’ and a little more time offline. I give myself space and air and before long, I remember what I get from the community. Support.
And I need that support. I need it for the days that diabetes is too big and scary. I need it for the days that I want to celebrate something about diabetes. I need it for the humour and the sustenance. But mostly, I need it because it makes me feel like I am something bigger than my little diabetes life.
*(There is only one incident where someone took objection to my post about diabetes burnout following a miscarriage, but as that person has made it policy to systematically work through the DOC, insulting as many people as possible, I am completely ignoring and discounting her rude, abusive, disrespectful attack in my DOC experiences. Block, ignore, delete in whichever order you choose, are powerful tools. I have learnt to use them!)