Tuesday 6 October 2015

#DefineDiabetes Campaign

Hi everyone,

Today's post is something I feel very strongly about and is something I've been itching to write about for a long, long time.

As you may or may not know, I'm diabetic type 1 and for those who don't know exactly what diabetes is, in a nutshell, it is when your pancreas stops working and therefore stops producing insulin which regulates your blood glucose levels.

Now there are two types of diabetes; type 1 and type 2. I have type 1 and type 1 is when you develop diabetes through no control of your own. You can't prevent it and it's NOT because you're overweight and no, you can't go on a healthy diet to stop you from having it. Diabetes type 1 occurs in people under the age of 30 (generally), has absolutely nothing to do with weight and requires multiple insulin injections per day. I have a post all about my diabetes story which you can read here if you like!

Now diabetes type 2 is a whole different story. Type 2 diabetes develops in people over the age of 30 (generally), can sometimes be prevented by leading a healthier lifestyle and can be treated by taking tablets and sometimes, it is possible to come off diabetes medication altogether whereas with type 1, there is currently no cure (although I'm sure we're getting close!). 

I just want to make clear before I continue with this post that I am in no way accusing type 2 diabetics to have brought diabetes on themselves. It is a very thin line and I am not in any way, shape or form attempting to stereotype type 2 diabetics as being "overweight" or "obese", I am only speaking from a type 1's point of view. So if you are a type 2 reading this, I would love it if you were to get involved to stop the media stereotyping all type 2's as being overweight and obese, when we know there are other reasons for a person being diagnosed with type 2. 

Here is a table below from Diabetes.co.uk which compares the two types.

Table from Diabetes.co.uk
There is the possibility that in some cases, individuals may be overweight and still be diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (not that they've been diagnosed with type 1 because they're overweight - it just might happen they're overweight but has nothing to do with them being diagnosed as diabetic), and individuals diagnosed with type 2 may in fact not be overweight, just over the certain age group to categorise them as type 2. 

This post is to in no way state that all type 2 individuals are overweight, not at all. It is simply to make the general public aware that if you have type 1 diabetes, it is not caused by being overweight and it is entirely out of your control with no way to prevent it.

I am tired of watching the news, TV programmes, listening to the radio and reading articles with the majority of them NOT stating which type of diabetes they are talking about in headlines and in the body of their articles. The media has such an extraordinary influence over an individual's mind, thoughts and opinions and when a broadcaster or journalist says something along the lines of "Obesity in the UK is continuing to rise, causing an increase in diseases like diabetes..." it automatically triggers minds into thinking "Oh, so diabetes is caused by obesity... it's their own fault".

People read or hear that headline and some aren't aware that there are two types. These people will then assume diabetes is caused by being obese. Is that a nice feeling for people who have diabetes type 1? Who have had this brought on through no fault of their own? A life changing disability which involved thousands of injections per year, at least 100 blood glucose tests per week, constant hospital visits, hypo/hyperglycaemic attacks and life threatening situations on a daily basis? Again, I am not in any way saying all diabetics who have diabetes type 2 are obese or overweight, as mentioned, it could be due to their age or other circumstances and not all type 2 diabetics should be tarred with the "obesity" brush. But that's a different story for a type 2 to discuss!

Here's an example of a Daily Mail article on the 15th July 2015 which talks about both types of diabetes further on in the article. It is also a rare article I've came across which defines both types, explaining how diabetes type 1 cannot be prevented and has nothing to do with weight. This is great - at least they have defined the two, explained how they're different, but wait... if you were to read the article's title, what would you honestly think?

Daily Mail
Diabetes? Which type? Throw in the word 'obesity' a few words after the word 'diabetes' and you've got an automatic link between the two.


This one might be my favourite, posted by the Daily Mail on the 31st July:


What about this one by The Market Business?

The Market Business

This article goes on to discuss how they are referring to type 2 diabetes, yet fail to stick that all important "type 2" in the heading.

Huffington Post - Title
Huffington Post - Body text

"...and other obesity-related problems" Really?

The Guardian
"Being overweight is associated with increases in the risk of...diabetes". Diabetes type 2, you mean? 

One of the only media influencers who ensures they correct anyone they interview or any news headline they read which only states "diabetes" is Philip Schofield. Philip Schofield has family members who have diabetes type 1 and so he understands the frustration when people generalise diabetes, not explaining the different types and how each type has differences.

So, I apologise for this super long post but I wanted to really try and make this change, and this change being to change the way in which diabetes is represented in the media. Yes, diabetes costs the NHS a very heavy amount of money, but without the medication, type 1 diabetics would not be able to survive and it is not fair we are being made to feel guilty for something we cannot prevent. 

This is one of the reasons why I feel so strongly about the media defining which type of diabetes they are referring to: If a child/teen who has type 1 diabetes is in school, and another child/teen thinks it's caused by them being obese, think of the bullying that child might suffer through no fault of their own, all for the sake of a news channel, journalist or presenter being clearer on what type diabetes they are talking about.

As part of my #TakeBackWhatsYours campaign, I'm adding another dimension. This dimension will use the hashtag #DefineDiabetes and I would really love it if everyone could tweet using this hashtag, getting the word out there about the campaign or how they also feel frustrated at news channels, journalists, presenters and other media influencers who need to be clearer on the type of diabetes they are talking about in order to let the public know that there are two types which have extremely significant differences.

Here is what fellow diabetic type 1, Emily Barker had to say about the media stereotyping diabetes:

'It is so essential that the media differentiates between the different types of diabetes, although they share the same name they are caused and treated by many different things. As a type 1 diabetic I honestly say that the media has a big impact on society and saying that diabetes is caused by obesity generalises the idea of diabetes and doesn't give people the chance or influence to learn about it and it's many forms. Because of this many Type 1 diabetics are suffering a negative impact from what's being said in the media, such as nasty name calling and rude comments and assumptions that aren't true that aren't helping the type 1 diabetic with their illness mentally. This has to change.'

Thank you for reading this super long post! Please let me know if you would like to get involved in #DefineDiabetes! I'd love to put your quotes in this post about your feelings towards diabetes type 1 being stereotyped.

Chloe :) 

Get in touch! 

Email: ChloesConcept@gmail.com / TakeBackWhatsYours@gmail.com

Sunday 4 October 2015


Hey everyone!

It's been so, so long since I published a blog post and it's been a lovely break (sometimes you need to take a blogging break to realise how much you miss it!) but now I'm back and I'll be posting as regular as possible to get back into the swing of things!

As the first week of teaching at most universities started last week/the week before last, I thought it would be a good idea to make a little 'freshers-coping-with-the-stress-of-university' post. I graduated in July of this year and I honestly wish I was starting my first year of university all over again! Sounds crazy? I know, I would never have that I would be saying that this time three years ago. I think this time three years ago I was probably pulling my hair out thinking "how on earth am I going to survive these next three years of essays, assessments and exams!?" But you know what? I did and I miraculously managed to get a high 2:1 (2 marks off a first - unbelievably annoying!) and here I'm going to give you a run-down of how I, someone who did borderline-average in school, managed to do quite well in university.

Step 1: Studying a degree you're genuinely interested in.

At first, I struggled to really decide on what course I wanted to study. I always had an interest in media but wasn't really sure it was enough to study a degree on and what type of job I could get out of studying media. Instead of committing and following my gut feeling, I went on different course open days... like midwifery! Actually, I think I would have really, really enjoyed that course and would not say no to being a midwife now, however I don't think I was fully cut out for all the blood and guts, but I can imagine how rewarding a job like being a midwife would be. 

Anyway, back in 2011 I stayed on an extra year in sixth form and took the time to decide Media and Communications Studies was for me and it really was. In 2012 I began my course in media, which allowed me to experience all the different forms of media there are in order to choose which I preferred. I studied film, television and radio as well as journalism, PR and marketing; all of which were so fascinating and interesting. Although the work was hard and challenging, it didn't feel like a chore. Yes, some of the times I detested some of the essays as you don't get the most interesting ones every single time, but on the whole, they were at least manageable.

Step 2: Keeping Sane

Take up a hobby to keep you sane. Pretty self-explanatory, really. I decided last year (February 2014) to start up this blog in order to take my mind off all the work I was doing in university. It actually worked out extremely well because through blogging, I've adapted it into what I want to do now I've left university... I've set up my own online campaign focusing on diabetes, bullying, self-esteem and motivation as well as using my digital marketing skills to work in the field of marketing!

Step 3: Can-do Attitude

Know you CAN do it. As I've mentioned in a previous university guide post, you would not let yourself go into an exam or hand an essay in without writing something... you would never leave it blank and accept a zero without trying. So, when your work starts to feel too much and too stressful, take a step back and realise you will eventually do it, you just need to think it through, make plans (I couldn't have survived university without making essay and exam plans), take regular breaks, drink plenty of water, exercise and try and eat a bit healthier (throwing in an extra apple a day will do the trick in this case!) 

Step 4: Take Advantage of Resources

Make use of your university's resources. I didn't really take full advantage of this until my last year, but better late than never! You'll find by popping into your university's library or help desk, you'll be able to access a whole host of fantastic resources which will help you during your time at university. There will be so many workshops you can attend to improve your essay writing skills and there are always tutors willing to help you if you need that extra bit of support. I also found it extremely useful to meet with careers advisers when preparing my CV nearing the time I was due to graduate, so keep in mind life after university!

Step 5: Life after University

That brings me onto step 4; life after university. I know, I know, if you're just starting your first year of university, the last thing you want to do is think three years ahead when you can barely think of one week ahead, but it's really important you at least start to think about it. When I was in my second year, I started a long-term internship with a great advertising platform which allowed me to combine my passion for blogging and digital marketing. This internship gave me so many fantastic and real life practical experiences of what it is like to use what I have learnt in university. I also simultaneously interned for an entrepreneurship department within my university which allowed me to continue to develop my skills. Not only is it great for personal development reasons, employers nowadays won't look at you twice if you don't leave university with some good internship placements and experiences under your belt! I also highly recommend you checking out your university's societies. I was marketing officer and secretary for a student television station at my university and whilst it wasn't exactly the same as an actual job, it still allowed me to develop and improve my skills whilst being surrounded by my peers and friends, making it more enjoyable and something I would look forward to!

Step 6 - Be Kind to Yourself

Don't beat yourself up over university. If you're really worried or stressed, go and speak to the head of your department because they don't want you to feel upset or stressed. They understand how daunting starting this new chapter of your life is, so don't think you're alone. Think of all the exams and essays you've passed previous to starting university and how you managed to get through those... okay, university is a bit of a jump from A-levels, but you wouldn't have been accepted into university if they didn't think you could do it!

If I think of any more in the meantime, I will definitely update this post!

I hope you're enjoying university life so far. I'm sure when it comes to the end of your course in 3 or 4 years time, you'll be wishing you were starting this chapter all over again so enjoy it while it lasts!!

Chloe x

One last piece of advice - take lots of hair grips to your graduation to keep that heavy and awkward cap on!