Laura ignored her diabetes for years. Her doctors told her that her weight, food choices, and inactivity could cause , diabetes complications in the future, but she didn’t care. She felt fine and had other concerns on her mind. She promised to focus on her diabetes one of these days, but not right now. Unfortunately, complications did develop. She now has neuropathy pain in her feet and problems with her vision. She is so angry at herself for ignoring the warnings of all of those around her. If only she had done this. If only she had stopped doing that. Laura is so upset with herself that she finds it very difficult to move forward.
If you live with diabetes-related complications and believe that they happened because you ignored past advice, forgive yourself. Some of your issues will improve if you take better care of yourself and future complications can still be avoided or delayed. You have a great life ahead of you, so try to start each day with a positive attitude. Here are some suggestions to help you do that:
• Don’t blame yourself.
Everyone who has diabetes, type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes, inherited the potential to develop it. We believe that some type of environmental trigger causes it to kick in, such as an illness or weight gain, but these possible causes only bring diabetes to the surface if a person has inherited the potential to develop it. Without that gift from your ancestors, you would never have it.
• Look at the glass as half full, not half empty.
I cried because I had no shoes,
Until I saw a man who had no feet.
Don’t dwell on the problems that you have, but focus on all that you are still able to do. Don’t accept “no” for an answer. People with diabetes win Olympic medals, star in movies, climb mountains, and even fly airplanes around the world. You have a lot of living to do. If your current diabetes plan feels too restrictive, discuss other options with your health care team. Diabetes shouldn’t prevent you from enjoying life.
• Help yourself feel better.
When your blood sugar level is in a healthy range you will feel better. Meet with a registered dietitian to learn how to eat well. Sign up for an exercise class or enlist a friend to walk with you each day. Exercise and a normal blood sugar level can lift your mood and help you avoid future problems.
Forgive yourself and move on. If you aren’t able to do that, seek the assistance of a qualified mental health professional who can help you move on from this point. Don’t let diabetes stop you from being all that you can be. You have a lot of living to do and deserve the best that life can offer.
Janis Roszler, RD, CDE, LD/N
NOTE: The information is not intended to be a replacement or substitute for consultation with a qualified medical professional or for professional medical advice related to diabetes or another medical condition. Please contact your physician or medical professional with any questions and concerns about your medical condition.
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