Previous Guest

Chet Galaska (he/him)

Chet Galaska joined Momma on February 5, 2024 live on Twitch & YouTube to talk about Diabetes & Mental Health

About Chet

Chet Galaska is a retired businessman who is working to dispel myths and misperceptions that surround diabetes. He is not a medical professional but has had the disease since 1981 and sees things from the perspective of people who have diabetes and experience the issues he discusses. The basic problem is that people generally do not understand diabetes and much of what they believe is untrue. To address this he wrote The Diabetes Book: What Everyone Should Know and developed the Challenge Diabetes Program. CDP teaches the basics to diabetics, those who care about them and anyone who wants to know the facts. He has presented the program in cooperation with civic, church and social groups as well as the YMCA, the University of Massachusetts and Springfield College. He received the “Heroes Walking Among Us award from the Massachusetts Foot and Ankle Society for his work. Chet’s goal is to create an informed and supportive social environment that respects diabetics who fight it and encourages those who don’t to take it seriously.

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References / Things Mentioned During the Stream

Episode Summary

This episode is a must-listen for anyone affected by diabetes, chronic illness, or mental health challenges, offering valuable insights and support from diabetes advocate Chet Galaska.

Key Takeaways:

In this episode of Even Tacos Fall Apart, I had a profound conversation with Chet Galaska about the complex interplay between diabetes and mental health. Chet, a type 1 diabetic for over 43 years, has dedicated himself to educating the public about diabetes, dispelling myths, and advocating for better understanding and respect for those living with the disease.

Chet shared that diabetes, whether type 1 or type 2, is often misunderstood. People frequently blame individuals for their condition, assuming lifestyle choices are solely responsible. This stigma can severely impact a diabetic's mental health, fostering feelings of guilt and shame. Chet emphasized that diabetes is a genetic condition triggered by environmental factors, and no one should be blamed for having it.

We talked about the social stigma diabetics face, especially regarding diet. Chet recounted instances where diabetics are judged for their food choices at social gatherings, which only adds to their mental burden. He believes that society needs to better understand diabetes to offer appropriate support rather than criticism.

Chet also addressed the psychological toll diabetes takes. Managing diabetes is a constant, 24/7 job with no breaks. This relentless vigilance can lead to diabetes burnout, a condition where individuals become overwhelmed by the continuous demands of managing their disease. This burnout can significantly affect mental health, leading to depression and anxiety. He highlighted the importance of peer support and education. He recounted how educating diabetics about their condition can alleviate their guilt and shame. He shared a touching story of how some diabetics, after learning that their condition wasn't their fault, experienced a visible relief. Chet's mission is to empower diabetics with knowledge and to advocate for societal change to reduce stigma.

Overall, Chet's message was clear: Understanding diabetes is crucial for both diabetics and society at large. By dispelling myths and providing accurate information, we can create a more supportive environment for those living with diabetes, ultimately improving both their physical and mental health.