Diabetes is a physical disease. It is the lack of the hormone insulin or the body’s inability to use insulin properly. In reality, diabetes affects every area of a person’s life: emotional, mental, spiritual, financial and physical.
People with diabetes have a higher risk to experience depression than the average person. Any chronic disease can be discouraging, complicated and confusing. There is no one-size-fits-all plan to approach diabetes. When a successful treatment regime is finally working, diabetes may throw a curveball and the treatment plan needs to be reinvented, over and over again.
The demands of diabetes can find many people struggling, doubting and crumbling. The pressure is immense. For the most part, in spite of a top-notch medical team, a supportive family and an encouraging group of friends, the person with diabetes has the sole responsibility to control their own blood glucose. Many feel alone even in a crowded room.
The burden can be overwhelming. Each daily finger prick reminds them that the future of their health is literally in their own hands. Their fingers shake with this responsibility.
Dealing with diabetes mentally, emotionally, and spiritually cannot be ignored. A positive mindset and healthy attitude is vital to stable blood sugars. Upon the initial diagnosis, it is important to grieve the loss of a well-functioning body. Grieve over the added steps in your daily routine, the medication, the physician visits, the lab tests and the exercise.
Allow yourself to get mad, throw a fit like a toddler and cry. Talk to God and ask, “Why me?” Get angry at the world for having to deal with diabetes and extra medical bills. Until your loss is recognized and reflected upon, you will remain imprisoned with unexplained feelings. Clinical depression symptoms cannot be ignored. If you suspect that you are in a hole too deep to crawl out of, contact your doctor for help.
Next, realize that there is no point managing this disease part-time. Choosing to only treat diabetes half-way is a ticket to accepting a slow, painful death from heart disease, kidney failure, an increased loss of sensation, possible amputation and an increased risk of blindness.
Realize that the woe-is-me attitude is no longer going to benefit your health. Pull up your big kid pants. No one else can do it for you. Don’t expect your spouse to keep you healthy.
Each week I educate people who know little or nothing about diabetes yet they are expected to adjust their life-style to cope with this terrifying disease. If diabetes is part of your life, learn more about it and how it affects your life-style.
Local hospitals and clinics have learning opportunities called Diabetes Self-Management Training programs. Ask your physician to prescribe one of these programs for you. If you were disillusioned by one program, go to another until you find one that speaks to you and answers your questions. If you were planning to drive across the country, you would seek direction, right? What is the difference?
Bobbie Randall is a certified diabetes educator, registered, licensed dietitian. She supervises a Diabetes Self-Management Training Program at Dunlap Community Hospital, Orrville, Ohio. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.