Over at Shoot up or put up, Alison blogged about hypo awareness week and asked "What would you make people more or less aware of about hypos?" This is the post that actually got me thinking about Hypo Awareness week, and public understanding of hypos in general.
If there's one thing in particular that I would change about friends and family's knowledge about hypos it's this:
Please don't panic if I say I'm low
Yes, hypos suck, and they feel like crap, but (usually) they're not the end of the world. The majority of the time, I feel low, I test, I treat and I move on. That's it.
I once had a conversation with a colleague who had just returned from a first aid course, where, of course, they had covered what to do with a diabetic who is hypo (their answer was give them chocolate but that's a rant for another day). She'd come over to talk to me about it afterwards, and in the course of the conversation commented "you must be a really well controlled diabetic, because I've never seen you go hypo!"
After I stopped laughing at the idea that well controlled diabetes merely involves not ending up passed out on the floor at regular intervals, I pointed out that we had had entire conversations while I was low and she had no idea. Public perception of a hypo seems to be at the extreme end of things, and to be fair, the bad ones are probably the ones you hear about most often. However, most hypos aren't like that. I usually don't tell people that I'm low, because the few times I have, they've generally panicked, and I don't want to deal with that at the best of times, even less so when I'm hypo. It would nice to just say "I'm a bit low at the moment, can you give me ten minutes to get my brain back into gear" and not have it be a huge Thing.
While I'm writing this, I'm realising that I'm probably part of the problem! By not telling people when I'm low, they're not getting a change to see what a minor hypo actually looks like, so that they know when to help and when not to. Maybe one of the best things to come out of Hypo Awareness Week is just to get people talking about these things, and chatting to diabetics about what they actually want and need with regards to help when low.