Responsibility is a big word. It is a word that I think many people don't like to hear. But it something we all have, even if we choose not to live up to it. Some responsibility is put on us by society. Some by our families. Some by our friends. And sometimes responsibility is something that we put on ourselves.
I started this blog over 5 years ago. Blogging was something I did for myself. I needed it. Blogging, for me, was therapy. It was a way to have a diabetes support group. It was a way to have a therapist sitting in a high backed leather chair with his notebook while I talked. Did you guys know you were my therapists? You were. You are.
After a while I realized that blogging was more than therapy for myself. I realized it was therapy for others living with diabetes as well. If my reading YOUR blog is therapy for me....wouldn't you reading MY blog be therapy for YOU? Okay, I know that's not always how it works, but the premise is there. Basically, we are a community of people who are hear to help each other. To listen, to support, to be a voice for each other.
We all know the lack of mental health care that goes on with diabetes. Doctors address our physical health, but all too often over look our mental health. For me, and I know for many of you, that is where the D-OC comes in.
I know we all have our "thing" when it comes to blogging. Some of us are more inclined to write about news relating to diabetes. Some of us write about being parents or caregivers to someone with diabetes. Some of us are more concerned with diabetes research or technology. Just like in real life, we all have our areas of comfort and expertise.
For me, it is about letting people living with diabetes and caring for those with diabetes know that they aren't living this life by themselves. There are so many others out there going through the same things. It's part of the reason I started the Your Voice project. And while it may have slacked off after a while, I still believe in Your Voice and I believe in what this community is doing online and offline.
Cherise and DSMA and Blue Fridays
Kim and You Can Do This
Karen and Diabetes Blog Week
LeeAnn and the Diabetes Postcard Exchange
And I know there are many others out there that I'm forgetting. Great projects and ideas. But what do all these things have in common? They are about helping people find support and understanding. They are about people making connections online and in the real world. It's about filling in the gaps.
At some point in my blogging "career" (can I call it that? It feels like one) I could have stopped. There are even times now where I just want to throw in the towel and walk away. There are times that I don't want to deal with diabetes at all, let alone write about it in my free time.
But that's where I feel responsible. I feel responsible to the people who read my blog (however many there are of you). I feel responsible to the newly diagnosed person (or parent) who googles "diabetes" and manages to run across my blog. Six years ago I felt completely alone with my diabetes. I feel responsible to make sure the no one with internet access and a search engine ever as to feel that way again.
Sure I want doctors and other medical professionals to address the mental health needs of people living with diabetes. But until that becomes a priority in their world, I feel it's the responsibility of the Diabetes Online Community to fill in the gaps the best we can.
We are our own support group. We are our own advocates. We are our own health care provider. But we're also each others'.