I Wish People with T1D Understood THIS About Type 2 Diabetes


It’s important to advocate for people who live with all kinds of diabetes. However, people with type 2 diabetes (T2D) often feel misunderstood, stigmatized and ostracized by other diabetes communities. Why is this? It’s a chronic illness that is often associated with poor diet and lack of exercise, and this leads to T2Ds feeling shame and blame for their diagnosis, even though type 2 diabetes is caused by a number of factors. Unfortunately, many times, these feelings can come from other people in the diabetes communities, like those with type 1.

So we asked the people in our community: What’s one thing you wish people with type 1 diabetes (T1D) understood about T2D?

The responses from our community give a glimpse into the experiences of people with type 2. When reading them, ask yourself what you can do to make the diabetes community safer and more inclusive for T2Ds.

What’s one thing you wish T1Ds understood about T2D?

  • “Having T2D isn’t always ‘easier or ‘reversible.’ It can have a similarly huge impact.”
  • “They’re not the only ones going through daily struggles and decisions, we do the same.”
  • “That hard is hard and we still don’t fully understand why diabetes happens, so take the blame/shame out.”
  • “The shame. I’m often envious of how open T1Ds can be without being shamed for it.”
  • “It’s not our fault.”
  • “It can hit many of us later in life, so we don’t possess the skills to deal.”
  • “We need similar care like them. We require the same amount of funding in healthcare.”
  • “Obesity is not the reason for our diagnosis.”
  • “That we’re not to blame for the stigma they endure, we have just as hard a time as they do.”
  • “Identifying in your bio as T1D is like saying, ‘I don’t have the type to be ashamed of.”
  • “Diabetes is a daily struggle no matter what type you have.”
  • “They are the same last name—but different.”
  • “That it can be just as dangerous!”
  • “That we don’t choose to be T2D and should stop being treated shamefully for a disease.”
  • “We didn’t do this to ourselves.”
  • “For them to stop excluding us like we don’t matter.”
  • “We, people with type 2 diabetes, are not the enemy.”
  • “I would say to them that whilst our danger of imminent death may not be the same if we get our meds wrong, but we still live with the increased risks of complications due to dangerously high blood glucose that they do, and sometimes worse because we do untreated for longer. I would also say that type 2 stigma is worse because of fat-phobia.”
  • “My eating didn’t cause me to have type 2 diabetes.”
  • “That type 2 isn’t any more our ‘fault’ than type 1 is theirs.”
  • “Type 2 diabetes is not considered the ‘mild’ type of diabetes. Type 2 diabetes can be equally severe if not taken care of. Not everyone with type 2 diabetes is able to manage it with just diet and physical activity alone. Many people living with type 2 diabetes may also use insulin as part of their management.”

You are more than your diagnosis.

Looking for additional support? We started the Beyond Type 2 community because people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes need more than a few pamphlets and “see you in three months.” Now supported by our friends at Diabetes Canada and at the American Diabetes Association, come join in the conversation and get connected with others. Join our community today here.

Want to share your story with us? Reach out to hello@beyondtype2.org.

Written By Erika Szumel, Posted , Updated 09/03/23

Erika has been living with type 1 Diabetes since 2000 and began her career as an associate producer, working at NBC's Oxygen. When she's not writing about her favorite places (or planning a trip), she's jammin' out to classic rock. Living at the Jersey shore, Erika is a lover of the little things, the ocean and pork roll.