The Power of Communication
Expressing thoughts and feelings is an important aspect of managing diabetes.
Editor's Note: While this columnist is no longer writing for dLife.com and we have ceased to update the information contained herein, there is much to be read here that is still applicable to the lives of people with diabetes. If you wish to act on anything you learn here, be sure to consult your doctor first. Please enjoy the column!
September 2007 — Gloomy weather and gloomy moods dominated our first vacation following my type 2 diabetes diagnosis. The reality of us both dealing with chronic conditions was setting in as we watched happy young families and older healthy-looking couples at the national park we visited. The demands of watching carbohydrate intake nearly ruined the relaxing experience at a quaint bed-and-breakfast. I felt as though we had become isolated, overwhelming ourselves with the idea that we were different from our peers, different from our families.
It took awhile to realize that we were not alone. Our family and friends reached out to discover the turmoil we had been facing. While laughing about diabetes with our friends helped both of us, Greg found comfort in talking about it with his family and I found comfort in writing about it privately and publicly.
One of Greg's oldest friends has always provided comic relief regarding just about any subject. Greg's diabetes has never been exempt from laughter. On a recent visit where he asked Greg what would happen if he, someone without diabetes, took some insulin. Greg's brain filled with dark humor as he responded, "You could end up having a debilitating seizure," harkening back to the very real hypoglycemic episode that Greg experienced a few years ago.
Greg's parents are always willing to listen to our concerns. As a retired surgeon and former nurse, they have both kept up with diabetes news from medical professionals' points of view over the years since Greg first developed type 1 diabetes. I remember the first conversation where they talked with me honestly about his condition, helping me understand what I most needed to know about it if the relationship was moving in the direction of long-term commitment. Their knowledge and empathy did not waver upon my own diagnosis years later.
Writing about diabetes has not only allowed my friends to understand my thoughts and feelings regarding my condition, but it has also opened up other opportunities for friendship through common bonds. Knowing our biggest fears about the future creates a deeper layer with our dearest friends. Just as we support them through tough times, they return the favor. Adding our story to the internet has seen an incredible response, bringing new friends who understand what we're going through in our daily lives.
Whether it is sharing humor with close friends, seeking comfort with family, or nodding and agreeing with other people with diabetes, we find that expressing our thoughts and feelings with others is an important aspect of managing the disease.
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dLife's Viewpoints columnists are not all medical experts, but everyday people living with diabetes and sharing their personal experiences, most often at a set point in time. While their method of diabetes management may work for them, everyone is different. Please consult with your diabetes care team before acting on anything you read here to find out what will work best for you.
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