It goes without saying that the circumstances of Karim Ouellet’s death are disturbing and infinitely sad. And the media treatment of him helps add insult to injury. What’s shocking about the environmental discourse is that it seems to imply that this beloved Quebec artist would die of his own fault.
For not accepting his condition as a person with type 1 diabetes (T1D).
For not having “controlled” his illness badly.
For lack of medication.
There are all the ingredients of a speech in which the victim is blamed.
And this contributes to the stigma of people living with T1D.
I myself have suffered from this autoimmune disease since the age of three and a half. Now a PhD in Psychology, my major is experience with T1D. I have therefore experienced and witnessed the devastation that can be generated by the social disapproval that surrounds the management of this chronic disease.
As I write these lines, a friend told me that his experience with T1D inspired him with suicidal thoughts and that media coverage of Karim Ouellet’s death fueled his dark thoughts.
I would like to bring to everyone’s attention that accepting such a complex and tragic disease as T1D is not easy. This problem is very mixed within our community. For some, the idea of accepting the disease is perceived as an injunction to stop feeling frustrated in the face of the difficulties it can cause. Insidiously, such a command seems to have the aim of reducing us to silence, for lack of anything else to claim.
As for the ability to “control” T1D. To date, 42 factors have been identified among the variables that influence blood sugar, including many over which we have no possible control, such as: the external temperature or the hormones they secrete in a situation of stress or viral infection. In other words, asking ourselves to be “in control” of our disease is asking us to be omnipotent. With insulin, our power is limited. And we are constantly confronted with the evidence that it is the dose that distinguishes the medicine from the poison. We always have a sword of Damocles hanging over our heads, because we know that too much or too little insulin can kill us. Blood glucose management is 24 hours a day. It is a heavy daily mental load, without a break. A blood glucose average outside the recommended goals is not necessarily a sign of discontinuation of treatment. Blaming ourselves for our poor blood results is not motivating and harms our mental health.
In this regard, several studies show that T1D is a risk factor for the development of various mental disorders such as: depression, anxiety or eating disorders, and that the stigma surrounding diabetes has something to do with it. Young adults with T1D would also be 3.25 times more at risk of making a suicide attempt than those without the condition.
Therefore, I ask for empathy in the face of the constant ordeal of living with type 1 diabetes. I would like the judgments on the management of our disease to stop and instead be offered appropriate psychological support. I am outraged that we dare to blame Karim Ouellet for his deviations in managing his illness. And it is even more scandalous that we do this without acknowledging that it is painful to live with this condition.
I offer my heartfelt condolences to his family and loved ones.
Lizanne Lagarde, type 1 diabetic for 39 years, PhD student in psychology, study project on experience with type 1 diabetes – and many signatories *
* – Lyne Moreau, type 1 diabetic for 46 years
– Laura Marroquin-Éthier, type 1 diabetic for 19 years
– Karine Grandchamps, type 1 diabetic for 42 years
– Josée Thivierge, type 1 diabetic for 26 years
– Stéphanie Roux dt1 for 29 years
– Isabelle Tremblay, mother of a 7-year-old Simone DT1, diabetic for 9 months
– Johanne Vallières, mother of Laurie DT1 aged 20, diabetic since the age of 11
– Gaétane Poirier, DT1 for 59 years
– Marilyn Roy, Laurence’s mother with diabetes from age 4 to age 18
– Karine Mainguy, mother of Raphaël DT1, 16, diabetic for 3 years
– Josée Latterre diabetic ever since
– Julie Lecomte, 7-year-old mother of Mathilde DT1, diabetic for 4 months
– Josée Heafey, mother of 28-year-old Shaun DT1, diabetic for almost 4 years
– Catherine Poirier Laforce, 42, DT1 for 19 years
– Karine Claes, 20-year-old mother of Megane, diabetic since the age of 15
– Chantal Desrosiers, type 1 diabetic from 2018 at the age of 54
– Tina Hache-Lacombe, type 1 diabetic, diagnosed in 2022 at age 38
– Audrey Lamontagne, 29, DT1 for almost 10 months
– Sandra Potvin, mother of Rosalie and Eve-Marie, 17 and 12 years old T1D for 5 years
– Myriam Gagnon, entrepreneur, type 1 diabetic since 2006
– Chantal Lecours, mother of Mederick dt1 for only 4 months
– Manon Pelletier, DT1 for 18 years
– Marie-Claude Poirier diabetic dt1 for 44 years
– Marie-Claude mother of Maīka 15 years T1D for 13 years
– Sabrina Gauvreau mother of Leah dt1 and t21 aged 16, diabetic for 15 years
– Cassandra leblanc DT1 for 3 years
– Sarah Brunette, companion of a diabetic adult since she was 21
– Caroline Gallant, 46, DT1 for 9 months
– Julie Tremblay, DT1 for 36 years
– Nadia Lévesque, 46, T1D for 29 years
– Xavier Ferron 36 years diabetic for 23 years
– Arianne Moreau, type 1 diabetic since 2016
– Annik Lessard 46 and type 1 diabetes from the age of 5
– Julie Bourgeois, 50, DT1 for 3 years
– Caroline Désilets, 44, DT1 for 32 years
– Solea-Madeleine Fugère, 43,
diabetic for 25 years
– Carole-Anne Cloutier, 35 and dt1 since the age of 6
– Sonia Dris, 32, DT1 for 9 years
– Joane Désilets 63 years, DT1 for 47 years
– Julie Dion, mother of a wonderful diabetic daughter since the age of 3 and a half who is now 9 years old
– Florence Aubuchon, 24, type 1 diabetes for 21 years
– Claudine Bolduc, Dt1 for 43 years and mother of a 16 year old Dt1 and dt1 for 14 years
– Aude Bandini, DT1 from the age of 11
– Sylvie Gagnon 63, type 1 diabetic for 7 years
– Cloé Perdriau, 25, DT1 for 6 years
– Johanne Bastien-Vinette, 65, Dt1 since the age of 50
– Marianne Lavallée, 29, DT1 for 5 years
– Chantale Poirier, 63, mother of Catherine Poirier Laforce DT1 for 19 years
– Sophie Angelina Grenier, DT1 for 30 years
– Maria Fuentes, mother of Roberto 17 years DT1 from the age of 14
– Marianne Duguay, mother of T1D for 7 years
– Marie-France Mercier, 56, T1D for 44 years
– Annie Thouin, DT1 for 35 years
– Yassmina Batir, T1D since the age of 7
– Marianna – Mother of Isabella, 18 years old T1D for 9 years
– Andréane McNally-Gagnon, DT1 for 36 years
– Julie Dabate, 38 and T1D from the age of 20 months, so nearly 37 ~ 09/25/1985 ~
– Isabelle Desrosiers, William’s mother 8 years DT1 for 1 year
– Brigitte Fillion, 60, Dt1 for 37 years
– Annie Roussy, 44, DT1 for 37 years
– Chantale Lagrange, type 1 diabetic for 49 years
– Chantal Berthelot, 47, Tt1 for 1 year
– Diane Bergeron, 63, type 1 diabetic for 41 years
– Claude Cloutier 58, type 1 diabetes for 40 years
– Roxanne Ménard, mother of Noémie, 16, DT1 since the age of 12
– Amélie Vallières, DT1 ever since
– Erwan Miry, 42, dt1 for 19 years
– Isabelle Brossard, DT1 for 5 years
– Gabrielle Maheux, DT1 for 28 years
– Christine Mimeault DT1 for 2 years
– Maria Zentefis, T1D since the age of 10
– Gabrielle Dufour, dt1 for 16 years
– Josy-Ann Roberge, 36, Dt1 for 20 years, numerous hospitalizations during my career
– Melanie Plante, 44, type 1 diabetic for 8 years.
– Catherine Héroux, 36, DTI for 35 years.
– Elisabeth Paquette, mother of Antoine 11 years DT1 since she was 2 years old
– Danielle Henrichon, Aurelie’s grandmother 15, DT1 since she was 9
– Maryse Morency, mother of a 16-year-old teenager, T1D since the age of 2
– Claudine Laporte, DT1 for 34 years
– Karine Galarneau, type 1 diabetic since she was 3 years old
– Maèva Rodier, 17, type 1 diabetic since she was 12
– Stéphanie Rioux, DT1 for 2 years
– Jean-François Lamarche, father of Félixe 6 years diagnosed at 3 years
– Anne-Marie Trépanier, 31, T1D since the age of 4
– Sylvie Cote, type 1 diabetic for 35 years
– Mélissa Perreault, Emma Tardif’s mother 10, DT1 since the age of 7
– Geneviève Roger, Livia’s mother, 5 years old, dt1 since she was 21 months
– Vanessa Audet Breton, 31, DT1 for 17 years
– Caroline Authier, 37, T1D since the age of 13
– Diane Jolin, 53, T1D for 33 years
– Hélène Samson dt1, 52 years old
– Stéphanie Pulinckx, mother of Sofia Mathieu 11 years, DT1 for 1 year
– Melissa Gilbert, mother of 6-year-old Madyson Verreault, diagnosed when she was 4
– Layla Fathy, amine mother, 10 years old, DT1 for 9 months
– Marie-Eve Dubuc DT1 for 10 years
– Josee Tessier, 37 years old. Nolan’s mum aged 5, DT1 since she was 3.5 years old
– Jessy Bouchard mother of Nicolas 12 years DT1 since he was 3 and a half years old
– Nathalie Long, wife of Samy DT1 for 30 years and friend of several DT1s (Carowanis fields 💙)