Do Our Kids Look Upon Themselves….as Damaged?….Again Seeking Input.

Last night I saw the movie, Love and Other Drugs.  Before you start your car to run to the Redbox outside your local 7-11 or quickly download from Netflix, you need to know that this is a real, raw film.  And you may want to see it before sharing with your older teens due to the sexual nature of the film, which is a tad too bad as there is an extremely crucial message in this film.

I don’t watch films to learn, per se, I go to be entertained.  Anne Hathaway (Maggie) gives a fabulous performance and two things struck me in particular about the film.  One is the drive Anne Hathaway’s character has to live with the disease that afflicts her body, and the other was an actress that has a small role that captures you immediately, Lucy Roucis (I will get back to Lucy in a minute)..

Maggie has Parkinson’s Disease.  She is doing her ‘damnest’ to live her life to the fullest.  Many times I have stated how important it is to ‘LIVE with diabetes’ rather than ‘live with DIABETES’.  Despite everything that Maggie attempts, the one crucial point she cannot get past is to allow anyone to get close to her.   Jamie (exceptionally played by Jake Gyllenhaal) falls for Maggie and she does all she can to keep him away because the way she lives her life is safe.   At the crucial point in the film the conversation went like this:
Maggie Murdock: I’m gonna need you more than you need me.
Jamie Randall: That’s okay.
Maggie Murdock: [crying] No it’s not! It isn’t *fair*! I have places to go!
Jamie Randall: You’ll go there. I just may have to carry you.
Maggie Murdock: …I can’t ask you to do that.
Jamie Randall: You didn’t.

Recently I wrote asking those with T1 Diabetes, who were now adults, to chime in and I have heard from so many how healthy that dialogue was.  So many parents sent me emails and private messages how much they learned from those who live with diabetes every day.  I thank all of you who commented. And now I may ask it again. 

As I watched this film, it was very clear that Maggie was going to do her all in her power to live as she sees fit,  But it was also very clear that she could not get past the fact that someone may actually love her completely because she thought of herself as ‘damaged’ or not as perfect as someone may ever want.  Moments in the film had me saying to myself, “Do our kids feel that way?”  DO they feel that no one would ever want them because they have diabetes?  Do they feel that  THEY do not want anyone to get close to them because they have diabetes?  When they enter into a relationship, what does the family of the new-found love say about their diabetes?

A beautiful actress named Lucy Roucis caught my eye in the film.  Maggie goes to a support group meeting and Lucy’s character is running the evening’s event.  You notice the sparkle in her eye and hear her fabulous wit; it is only after that moment that you also realize she has tremors and has Parkinson’s also.  In my homework for this writing I found out that Lucy has Parkinson’s and what we are seeing is probably a lot like who she is everyday.  She shared that she also wrote part of that wonderful scene.

Lucy states in an interview,
I would like journalists to change the phrase, “suffering from Parkinson’s.” I don’t suffer. I endure Parkinson’s. I live with Parkinson’s. But suffering is a state of mind.

And there you go.  “…suffering is a state of mind.”   How fabulous is Lucy?

In as much as our kids with diabetes do incredibly wonderful things, which I have written about many times, do they—EVEN WHILE DOING these great things, deep down inside, ask themselves, “……will anyone fall in love with me WITH my diabetes?”  Do they, as Maggie did, push people away and not allow people to become close to them, because of their diabetes?  Did they feel that way and had to get over it?  What do they feel?

Do you as parents ever ask yourself these questions?

I look forward to reading what others feel on this subject and again, if you could reply here so everyone can read the responses (as oppose to wherever it is posted on-line) it would be appreciated.

BTW you can click the hyperlink to Lucy’s interview above and see how fabulous and successful a person she is when not onscreen; I do hope her parents are as proud of her as we are of our kids, who also accomplish great things even while ‘enduring’ with diabetes.

I am a Diabetesdad.



5 replies on “Do Our Kids Look Upon Themselves….as Damaged?….Again Seeking Input.”

Tom – this is a great topic. I have an absolutely gorgeous 17 year old daughter with T1D since she was 5 years old. I also have a 5 year old with T1D. My 17 year old has always worried that a guy won’t want to be with her – especially long term (marriage)- due to her diabetes. Currently, she has a boyfriend. He recently asked her, “If we ever have kids, will they get diabetes like you?” He was very concerned about it and my daughter came to me extremely distressed and in tears. All I could think to do was sit her down and give her the facts as I currently know them. If a woman with T1D waits until she is over 25 to have kids, then her chances are drastically reduced to have a child with D. Also, if you have a father with T1D then your chances are approximately 8% that the child will get it. However if you are the mother of a child with T1D, then there is only a 2% chance. My daughter also worries about complications and all the fun things that daily life with diabetes has to offer will make someone leave her. It’s a real fear of hers and she already has a diabetic complication. I know this has happened to at least 3 people that I know of – someone didn’t want to deal with them AND diabetes. I try to comfort her and tell her that if someone truly loves her, then they will deal with her health issues, won’t they????

This certainly has given me more to think about. Through high school, Shelby had many more male friends than her other girl friends did, but the female friends all had boyfriends. I don’t remember Shelby having many close boyfriends and I never thought it was because of diabetes, but now that I’m seeing this differently, maybe this plays with it a bit. She has told me that she doesn’t think she’ll have kids. I have admired the fact that she is thinking ahead and being a responsible adult who knows what she wants, because she didn’t say she wouldn’t, just said she didn’t think she would. Thank you for bringing this up, Tom. It will give me another way to look at it the next time we talk and discuss how things are going with her. Maybe I’ll hear her differently when she talks with ME.

I just wanted to update my personal information and no I am not looking for sympathy. After working as a paramedic/firefighter 15 years I know very well where sympathy can be found.
I have every reason in the world to be upset. In the last 10 years I have lost my job, my wife, my car, my house and I am not suicidal, suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. My temporary problems just keep me busy.

Oh wow, reading this brought up so much for me.
I grew up with type 1. Being diagnosed at age 6, I don’t remember life pre-diabetes. It was always there, and I was always different because of it. So I guess in answer to your question, Yes, I always saw myself as damaged, or at least completely different from my peers. This led to many other health issues that can be directly linked to the “damaged” perception, such as clinical depression and a severe eating disorder. It’s taken lots of therapy to address these feelings, and they still linger honestly. I’m 22 now and it’s still a struggle to feel “normal” sometimes.

As a mum to a young boy with diabetes it’s heartbreaking to think that my boy may be rejected or not accepted because of his diabetes.
But my real thoughts are- the diabetes is part of him , it makes him even more wonderful as he has had to grow up fast, understand things that should not have to bother him, he’s brave yet vulnerable. If you reject the diabetes you reject him and a person who would do that is frankly not good enough for my son.
I just pray he finds a partner who loves him for him- all of him diabetes included. And a partner that will be caring, responsible and sensible and though their love for him help him to carry on looking after himself.
A big ask- I’ll keep on praying, I have many years- he is just 5!!

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