Let’s talk about trolls.
No, not the cute ones from the 90s with the gems stuck in their bellybuttons and wild, vibrant hair.
I’m talking about two specific types: Internet trolls and in-real-life (IRL) trolls.
They’re not my favorite kind of people, I’m betting you’re not a fan of them, either.
I can’t tell you how many times trolls have made their presence known on my Instagram posts. It always goes a little something like this: I post a photo to my account and within 10 minutes, I’ve got some sort of comment on it that goes a little something like this (the following is an actual comment I got last week):
Just wanted to let you know that truly what people are posting about DIABETESTYPE1 cure is true. I write one of the doctors and got herbal medicine from him and truly I’m cured from DIABETESTYPE1. It’s real. Message the doc @herbalist.ebho
There are so many things obviously wrong with this comment that I almost don’t want to deign to explain it, but let’s go over them real quick. 1) Diabetes can’t be cured from freakin’ herbs. 2) No matter how many times someone puts “truly” into a comment, it doesn’t make it TRUE! 3) Why on earth does this person think I’d want to seek help from some random Instagram doctor that probably isn’t even a real doctor? And 4) Obviously, this person – or bot, because I’m sure it’s a bot account – is simply plugging type 1 diabetes into this comment. I can only imagine how many other accounts it trolls that focus on various other chronic conditions…
I deal with most of these comments by deleting and/or reporting them immediately, but this time, I decided to respond to the claims that some generic herbs could cure my diabetes. This is what I said:
“Oh yeah? Is it? Wow I can’t believe I never thought to message some random person to get cured from T1D! Thanks for your completely inaccurate message and typos, have a nice life! 🙂
And of course, I never got a reply…because that’s how trolls operate.
But what to do when trolls come creepin’ into real life?
You know, the people who tell you that their distant relative cured their diabetes by consuming cinnamon? Or the people who assume that you caused your diabetes by eating too much sugar?
I wish there was a delete/report option for those comments, but instead, I try to turn them into educational opportunities. My initial approach is always gentle when I explain that these myths are not only incorrect, but they increase the stigma and misunderstanding of type 1 diabetes. More often than not, trolls turn into apologetic students who walk away with the facts…but every now and then, you encounter a stubborn one who just doesn’t seem to get it.
As frustrating as that can be, it’s okay. Trolls are gonna troll and you can’t always slow their roll (ugh, I know that was lame, please forgive me). So even though I feel like I’m going to hit the roof if I see one more stupid troll comment on my IG posts or encounter one other troll spewing diabetes myths, I can take solace in knowing that I can take back control of the comments by explaining why they’re wrong or (more satisfyingly) removing them altogether.