Managing Your Diabetes Diagnosis (continued)


The first step is to learn to to "LIKE" yourself as a person with diabetes; come to terms with your diabetes diagnosis and the fact that diabetes is now a part of your identity and "like" your life even if it includes the ups and downs of managing a chronic health problem.

Here are my steps to help you:

Learning to LIKE Yourself

Learn — Educate yourself all you can about diabetes. Borrow some books from the library, join a diabetes support group, obtain all the information your can from your healthcare team, join the dLife forum, and learn from others who have been through what you are experiencing.

Inquire — What can you do to improve life with diabetes? Is there an educational course you can attend? Ask your diabetes team about how to be referred to free courses. Would a kit bag for your diabetes equipment help you feel more in control? A particular blood glucose meter? Anything that makes life with diabetes a bit easier is worth considering.

Kindness — Go easy on yourself and show yourself some kindness. It is common to experience a range of painful and powerful emotions toward your diabetes—anger, sadness, guilt, rage, regret, or sometimes a deep sense of numbness, which can be equally unnerving to contend with. These emotions can feel overwhelming—you have encountered a loss and in the same way as any loss, you can't expect to feel your usual self straight away. However, know that these painful feelings can and will pass.

Express Emotions — How can you express and let go of some of the emotion you are experiencing? Can you have a good cry? Talk to a trusted friend? Punch a pillow, do some exercise, write a journal, see a therapist? People are often tempted to use alcohol, cigarettes, or other substances to manage and dull the overwhelming emotions they are experiencing, in an attempt to try to distance themselves from the painful reality they are living. These substances are indeed shortcuts to feeling better in the short term. It is therefore very likely that you might feel a greater desire to use them in the midst of having to cope with a whole new range of feelings and all of the practical challenges that accompany diabetes. However, you know that using these coping mechanisms for anything other than the very short term is not ideal. Yes, they mask the root problem, but the root problem is still there. This is where techniques drawn from psychological therapies of coping can be helpful.

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Last Modified Date: January 30, 2014

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by Brenda Bell
Many people say that depression is a side effect or complication of diabetes. Without discounting the association of the psychological condition with the physical one, I'm not convinced that our high and/or unstable glucose levels are directly responsible for that change in our mental state. My belief is that the unrelenting need for self-care, for following the sort of care schedules that can drive licensed, professional caregivers crazy, is what overwhelms us...
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