Wednesday, September 24, 2014

What the DOC is to me

In the last week or so there has been a lot of conversation about the Diabetes Online Community, what it means to some people, and the negative feelings surrounding it for others.  My experience with the DOC has been an overall positive experience but I can see where some people might be coming from.  I guess I kind of liken it to a big party.  There is a lot going on and at anytime there are several groups sort of engaged in their things, with their attention focused on that.  If I am a newcomer to the party it is easy for me to go unnoticed.  Unless I make some noise about my arrival a few people will probably see me walk in, but all those people focusing on their own conversations might not even notice.  And if you are someone who is already insecure and dealing with all the changes that dealing with T1D brings it can be hard to bring that attention to yourself.  This is no way that fault of the new person or the existing members of the party.  It's just kind of the way that it is.  Unless you already know someone at the party, getting know other people at the party can be not only hard, but kind of intimidating.

Here is how it kind of happened for me.  My diagnosis had left me feeling so isolated.  In my travels through the internet I had come across Six Until Me which led me to several other blogs and eventually the DOC on Twitter.  I tried to join in on a few different conversations but never really took.  With no responses to my posts and not really committing to it I did feel a bit discouraged.  I already had my blog going but it was really just a place for me to vent my feelings.  I was still hesitant to put these intimate feelings out there for other people to see.  The posts I did put out there for others and invited people to read were usually ones that just described what was going on but never really touched on my personal feelings.  I eventually found the DSMA chats that take place on Wednesday nights.  The first night I had a hard time keeping up.  The next one was a few weeks later and I tried to get involved but at times felt like I was kind of talking to myself.  I don't make it to the chats regularly but what I have found is that the more you go, the more involved you get.  When I see new people introduce themselves, they are always welcomed into the conversation.  But I really don't see that all that often.  Perhaps there are people lurking but afraid to get involved?  But this isn't like the party or even like a chat room.  If you don't put yourself out there no one will know you are there.  If my experience has taught me anything it's that, like with most things, you get out of the DOC what you put in.  It takes time and commitment, but any friendship does.  

I read a post a few days ago from the side of someone who does not feel included in the DOC.  He talked about asking questions to those people who were posting from different events and conferences but never got answers, instead only saw repeats of what was being said at the meeting or conversations among themselves about the refreshments.  I enjoy the references to what's going on because if I can't be there myself I live vicariously through those who can attend.  And I think that is why those people are invited to attend.  Because they have more reach.  It doesn't make sense to invite someone like me who can only reach a handful of people when you can invite someone who can reach thousands.  Space is limited and I think it's smart to make the best of use of invites to spread their message as far as possible.  That certainly doesn't stop me from being completely envious of those people.  I realized recently that I was asking myself why them and not me as well.  Then I realized I have never made an effort to get a scholarship or even see what it takes to attend on of these events.  I got out what I put in...nothing at all.  I could understand most of the viewpoints presented recently, but this one I don't get, 
" It does seem that they often talk to each other, and while they tout 'diabetes advocacy' (whatever that means) it seems to me that the place to start is with other PWD. "
  Advocacy means something different to everyone I think.  I don't think you can discount the work that any of the so-called "big players" has done to advocate for diabetes.  I see it every day, from Strip Safely, to You Can Do It, to the new Medicare initiative.  When this group gets behind something they do big things.  I saw it myself when I put the word out about my own interaction with a government leader.  Seeing this statement really makes me wonder, how much of a chance is this person really giving the DOC if they can't see the advocacy efforts put forth by it?  As for advocating for other people with diabetes, isn't that what all their advocacy is about?

No comments:

Post a Comment