A few years back, Dr. Bill Polonsky and his team at the Behavioral Diabetes Institute in San Diego introduced their now-famous Diabetes Etiquette cards — the world's first recognition and pocket-sized guidance on how to avoid being rude and potentially hurtful when interacting with PWDs (people with diabetes), thank you very much!
At this year's ADA, the BDI premiered the next-generation of these ueber-clever and useful little fold-out cards: "Diabetes Etiquette for Parents — What Your Teen Would Like You to Know."
It's a list of nine Do's and Don'ts from a teen's perspective (i.e. "don't tell everyone about my diabetes, especially not during the first minute you meet them. Do you know how embarrassing this is?") But there are quite a few points that really spoke to me as an adult with diabetes, too! For example:
No. 2: "When my blood sugars are high, don't assume I've done something stupid (although I may have)."
No. 4: "Don't always be in my face about diabetes, but don't leave me completely alone with it, either."
And in the explanation of No. 5: "No need to cheer me up, or to tell me that it could all be worse. You don't have to fix it; instead, just listen when I need to vent or complain."
The BDI has hit the proverbial nail (or needle?) on the head once again, IMHO. Got a teen with diabetes? Look for these etiquette cards to be launched a the Children with Diabetes Friends for Life Conference starting next week!
* * *
On a more somber note, the BDI has also just published a booklet called "Breaking Free from Depression and Diabetes: 10 Things You Need to Know and Do" — essential reading for anyone experiencing depression or observing it in a loved one.
How do you know if you're really in need of help, as opposed to just feeling "down" or "blue"? According to the BDI's No. 4 in this booklet, major depression is characterized by experiencing five or more of 10 negative symptoms within a two-week period. Those symptoms include sadness, irritability, hopelessness, pessimism, fatigue, nervousness or restlessness and more.
One thing I learned from this booklet is that depression can sometimes come in the form of feeling nothing at all — just a general lack of joy in life, and finding no interest in anything. That kind of "emptiness" can be treated, too!
This booklet will also be available later this summer. Keep your eye out for both on the BDI publications page, here.
In a world where we're being inundated with a lot of useless and depressing information, there's one thing we PWDs need more of, IMHO, and that's the psychological and social help stuff they offer at the BDI!