I really couldn’t find a better title for this post. Other ideas were a bit sweary, so I’m going with this, because that is the sound I seem to be making with increasing frequency when I look at online encounters.

I probably should acknowledge that it’s mid-December. I’m tired and a little grouchy and so is everyone else. I am ready for a holiday and to be away from the daily grind. I need quiet, and some downtime, and a break from the crap that a lot of the time I’d barely notice, but now seems amplified and awful. I know I’m not the only one.

But even with that caveat, this year, more than any other, I have found myself needing to deliberately and consciously switch off from the diabetes online world.

Two occasions stand out for me. The first was back over the Easter period when Dexcom UK and Ireland dared to suggest people with diabetes post a selfie with an Easter egg. That sent the low-carb community into a frenzy because obviously daring to take a photo with an Easter egg (which, incidentally, no one said had to be made of chocolate), was the same as committing some sort of crime against humanity. The fact that each photo was attracting a £10donation to Life for a Child was completely lost in the carb-deprived anger.

And the second was during ADA when some in the community once again jumped on the outrage bandwagon for, as it turned out, no good reason.

These have not been isolated incidents, and the latest explosion happened on the Diabetes Australia Facebook page just the other day. (So, by way of disclosure, I work for Diabetes Australia, but I don’t have anything to do with the daily running of any of our social platforms, In fact, I don’t even have the passwords to most of them.)

What happened? Well, last week one of the team shared an article from Diabetes Daily about Xmas gifting for friends and family with diabetes. I read the article. It wasn’t the first or only piece I’d read recently about diabetes-related giving, but this was the one that was shared.

Anyway, apparently this article is hugely insulting and offensive. Yeah, I know. I had trouble joining the dots too, but some people really, really took offense to the idea that a gift with a diabetes focus should even be considered.

The comments after the article were quite nasty, including horrid remarks to and about the author. This is completely and utterly uncalled for. The writer is a person – a person with diabetes as it turns out. One of our own. Yet the comments about, and to, her were awful.

If I’m honest, I don’t really want a pair of ‘diabetic socks’, in exactly the same way, I don’t want the gift of a Michael Bublé Xmas album. But you don’t see me ranting and raving and yelling at the staff in JB HiFi because, apparently, they think that’s what a woman in her forties wants for Xmas.

You know what? If you don’t like the idea of giving or receiving a diabetes-themed gift (or Michael Bublé), don’t do it. Melinda Seed wrote a great piece last year about why she thinks it’s a bad idea and offered some suggestions that, quite frankly, I’d be happy to find under the tree on Xmas morning. Her piece is not aggressive, it’s not mean spirited. It’s her well-considered viewpoint on why she wouldn’t really appreciate being given a ‘diabetic cookbook’. (Oh, and she managed to get the words weird-arse and diarrhoea in one sentence, which made me laugh out loud. Probably more than Mel intended.)

This sort of commentary is great because it provides a different perspective, once again showing that we don’t all have to agree to get along. But when the response is aggression and nastiness and rudeness, all that does is divide the community.

I feel that there has been quite a bit of that this year. I do know that it’s always been there to a degree. But this year? This year it seems to have been taken up a level. Maybe I’m just tuned into it more. Maybe I’m just over it more. Maybe my resilience around this kind of stuff just isn’t what it used to be.

So, for the sake of my sanity, the ‘block’ function has had more of a run this year than ever before. And, I’ve discovered and made a lot of use of the mute button. Not seeing negativity or aggression, or people who seem to just want to complain, constantly coming up in my stream is refreshing.

But the best thing I do when I see something that isn’t necessarily aligned with my diabetes philosophy? I scroll on by. That’s the only action necessary. Scroll on by.

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