DSMA Blog Carnival. Ideal Diabetes Support Group?

This blog is so new I probably shouldn’t be doing this, but I’ll give it a try anyway. The April DSMA Blog Carnival topic is:

Describe your ideal diabetes “support group”? What would you discuss?

Both of these questions are hopefully answered below.

My ideal support group… well, first of all, it would exist (more on that later). Assuming it does exist, I would want my ideal support group to have 4 qualities:

1. Inclusion. No haters in this group. I know that people don’t always look at the world in the same way, but support means accepting someone on their terms, not mine. Same for conversation. Everyone needs to feel free to be themselves.

2. A sense of humor. Diabetes is a daily struggle for all of us. Not taking ourselves too seriously allows us to focus on what is really important (and who is really important), when it really matters.

3. Flexibility. Let’s face it: things change, people change, diabetes changes all of us. Having the same agenda or focus at every get-together is the kind of rigidity that turns me off. Being flexible means keeping things new and fresh rather than old and stale. Flexibility means acceptance to change, and even embracing change that helps a group’s evolution toward a more perfect union.

4. Goals. Read: Advocacy. The primary goal of any support group should be support of group members, right? If that’s your only goal, okay. But you’re not part of my ideal support group anymore. Because there are always people who need more support than ourselves (well, almost always). My ideal group sets goals that will help make the world a better place for PWDs. That’s not reaching too far, is it? Okay, goals need to be attainable. But I would really like my group’s support to be larger than just the group.

That’s my ideal support group, and at least a basis for discussion. But I have to admit that I’m just guessing here. I’ve never attended a support group meeting since my diagnosis. In fact, in 21 years with diabetes, I think I’ve met maybe 15 other diabetics in a a live setting. And about 10 of those were at a local event for adults with type 1 a couple of months ago. I only found out about that because I had volunteered with the local JDRF chapter the week before.

To be honest, I share much of the blame. I haven’t been a particularly social creature in the past (I’m getting better, I think). Also, I was diagnosed and spent the first few years with diabetes in one city, then moved to another city where I knew virtually no one. I haven’t signed up for a lot of JDRF or ADA walks or rides. And, for various reasons, I’ve pretty much shared my D-story with people on a need-to-know basis.

I haven’t attended events, lectures, presentations, or conferences, mostly because, until recently, I didn’t even know these things existed. As it is, these things rarely happen in my part of world anyway. Wait a minute… Hey! I think I have our first discussion topic! Our first goal! Who’s with me? Let’s goooooo!!!!!

Author’s note: Looking for my first support group meeting… more to come.

This post is my April entry in the DSMA Blog Carnival. If you’d like to participate too, you can get all of the information at http://diabetessocmed.com/2012/april-dsma-blog-carnival-2/

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  • Cherise  On April 22, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    Hi Stephen- Thank you for participating in the blog carnival-it’s nice to ‘meet’ you! I really enjoyed reading your post. I remember when we had the chat on diabetes support groups-a lot of people wanted to discuss the things you mentioned above and also other things outside of diabetes. If you start a support group in your area-let us know. I’m looking forward to reading more about you.


  • Karen  On May 1, 2012 at 9:25 pm

    Great post – I’m so glad you did the blog carnival and I hope you will again in the future!! I love your ideas of what a support group should encompass. I never thought to combine goals / advocacy with support groups, but you are right, they go hand in hand. Good luck in finding a group that is right for you!!


    • StephenS  On May 2, 2012 at 1:01 am

      Karen, thanks so much for the kind remarks! I’m still new with all of this, so I have a lot of room for improvement. Also still looking for a group. Haven’t found one yet, but I’m not giving up…



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