I'm in the middle of those two opinions. When I was first diagnosed with Diabetes I had no confidence with it in terms of showing others that I was diabetic. I didn't want to be stared at or feel any different from everyone else sitting around me. I don't want to attract negative attention; and in my eyes people looking at my blood meter or my injection pen- that was the attention I did not want. And so, I often went to the toilet to take care of my things; but I did bring my mum along with me too so I suppose I didn't have to set anything down on the sinks. Then once we were done I carried on my business as usual, no one would know I was diabetic apart from those whom I was with, and I was seemingly just like all those around me; which is what I wanted.
Nearly four years on and I am much more confident in managing my diabetes in front of others. I suppose a lot of the time my lack of confidence was also derived from being only eleven years old at the time and also not really knowing what I would say to a curious person. In hind-sight, I also didn't like explaining; it frustrated me to be asked to explain why I was doing what I was doing, I just generally didn't like it. I suppose I just didn't want to keep being reminded that I had just been diagnosed I was diabetic. I had enough to remind me about that during the day.
I recall sitting in a restaurant once and I was with my parents and my sister- I got out my testing kit to check my blood sugar and the waiter said to me "are you okay?" I swiftly replied "yes" and sort of giggled. It was really unexpected and I'm not sure if the waiter even knew what she was asking me about. I guess she saw blood on my finger and asked. Even though she may not of known exactly what I was doing, she still asked me about it and for some reason, that was a bit of a confidence booster for me. In knowing that people do care and not everyone is going to stand and stare.
Over the years after being diagnosed I have developed the attitude of "Who cares?" Now I will get my insulin pump out in public and do my insulin, I will get my blood sugar testing kit out whenever I need to. It doesn't bother me anymore. I know what to say to people now and I like telling them about it. I would rather them ask me about it, rather than go around still unsure of what diabetes is and possibly still harboring stereo-types or assumptions. Whereas when I was younger; I was very shy and didn't want to talk to others about it. I have had people stare before but I just quite literally smile at them. Just to get rid of the awkwardness.
In August 2010, about a year and two months after being diagnosed I went on my second holiday with Diabetes in tow. The first was July 2009 on a cruise ship with my family- that wasn't the best holiday blood sugar wise...anyway, I was still on injections when we went to Amsterdam and we went to a sandwich shop and whilst my family were up at the counter ordering their food, I had to stay and do my injection and test my blood sugar. I looked around warily before injecting myself with insulin in my stomach. I finished and when I looked up there was a lady just sitting there with her friend; both of them staring at me. It was actually really awkward and I just felt really singled out and it knocked me back a bit.
Looking back at it, I think I took that situation and used it to motivate me into not caring about what other people think. I have grown up with the idea that what other people think of me matters- especially when it came to diabetes. But now, I realise that it probably doesn't. I am living my life and going through my life just as everyone else in this world, I just have a few more things to do to get through the day. Now I don't mind, ask me about my diabetes, i'll tell you about it. I'm not afraid to tell people about it now.
Being confident in diabetes helps you deal with it so much. It helped me deal with it. Talking about it is good too; I find that speaking about it helps me cope with it more. I'm only fifteen and diabetes taught me what others think of you doesn't matter. As a diabetic, all the things that I do in public that Ii find people staring at: is exactly what is keeping me alive. So, do what you need to do. You're only trying to survive.
Be confident and show people how awesome diabetics are.