When I started writing here three and a half years ago, it was honestly more of a creative outlet to flex my Marketing and PR muscles. Diabetes sounded like something that I should write about, but I never, ever imagined that actual people with diabetes would be reading my blog.
Today, I think it’s fair to say that my blog has become a lot more than just a blog. I may or may not be classified as a diabetes social media junkie, an oversharer, a freelance writer, speaker, committee member, social networker, an advocate, a diabetes PR service or even a sellout to big pharma!
The diabetes community, both online and offline, has been invaluable to me. I am in a place with my own diabetes that I never imagined possible. I honestly owe it to every single individual that I’ve ever connected with, and every single piece of information I’ve ever been given. I wouldn’t trade being a part of the diabetes community for anything in the world (except maybe, a working pancreas…)
But at the same time, I get the impression that blogs are sometimes seen as merely something ‘nice’ to do. Or that a blogger is often pictured sitting in the comfort of their own home on a Monday morning, typing out a fresh post and then going about their leisurely day.
Blogging is a fairly big investment in the subject area you’re writing about and the cause you’re advocating for. Keeping on top of all of the news, developments, tools and technologies forms a pretty big part of my life. And hey, it also keeps me pretty motivated in wanting to better manage my own diabetes. I do not have a technical or scientific background. Yet as I hear myself talking enthusiastically to others, I realise just how much I have immersed myself into a very technical and scientific world.
There’s a pretty big investment of my own time. Whether it be writing my blog, taking part in advocacy work, responding to e-mails, networking or embarking on diabetes travel, it’s all done in my own time. Evenings. Weekends. Sometimes out of my hard earned annual leave. Often at relatively short notice for the responsibilities and full time job I’m leaving behind that pays for the pancreas that doesn’t work properly.
There’s also a pretty big responsibility in advocacy. When companies choose to speak to people with diabetes, I believe that’s a good thing. While some might see it as accepting tokens from ‘big pharma,’ I see it as a responsibility to tell them what’s important to people with diabetes. While trying to be mindful of my privilege.
I’d also be lying if I said that I didn’t feel a sense of obligation to the community that has given me so much. I know full well that I am a highly privileged person, and that I don’t represent all people with diabetes out there in the world. A mere four years ago, I was in a relatively isolated place with diabetes. I guess a big part of my ‘why’ is to help other people to discover the power of peer support and being engaged in the diabetes world.
For me, the biggest reward that has come from diabetes blogging is all of the amazing people I have met. My tribe of people who have diabetes feel like somewhat of a close knit family. I often arrive home after some amazing conversations with a cup that is overflowing and a newfound motivation.
Diabetes has made my world a lot smaller, and being part of this community always makes me feel that I am a part of something much, much bigger.