Living with diabetes can be challenging. Depending on your type diabetes, the intrusion of your disease differs. It can be as frequent as multiple insulin injections daily, or as minute as taking a pill or even just watching what you eat. It can feel obtrusive or matter-of-fact, but still, it is always there.
It may be that you’ve been living with diabetes for so long, it’s become part of who you are and what you do. So you don’t really know how you feel about it anymore. But connecting with how you feel is actually one of the most important parts of managing an illness.
Sure, diabetes influences our lifestyle; the way we eat, the way we exercise, the way we travel. And, regardless of where we are and who we are with, it influences how we interact with our bodies. This doesn’t stop with the physical aspects of the disease. Diabetes also influences how we feel about ourselves as it impacts our thoughts and behaviors.
Maybe you’re feeling great, but maybe you’re not. A study spanning thousands of people with diabetes, in 13 countries, including the US, UK and Germany, found that patients’ adherence was poor, especially for diet and exercise. Diabetes-related worries were common among patients, and almost half the patients had poor psychological well-being: depression, anxiety, stress and burnout.
And what could be more understandable? One day you’re handed this verdict, and forevermore, whenever you want to visit friends, take a trip abroad, or even take a long hike, you have to be thinking of your illness. It’s like an unwanted child you’re expected to care for like your life depends on it. It’s unfair.
Doctors recognize this. They also believe psychological problems get in the way of patients taking good care of themselves. But doctors simply do not have the resources to help manage these problems. So let’s us do something about it.
In order to maintain a healthy, balanced, lifestyle with diabetes, it’s important to not only monitor your insulin and blood glucose levels, but also to ensure you are emotionally managing your diabetes, and helping yourself stay on top of it. What helps you stay positive and upbeat about your diabetes? What supports you in keeping up with daily testing, medication, and eating regimens? What prevents you from implementing certain life changes? What allows you to live your life, and not let your diabetes live it for you?
When I was diagnosed with prediabetes last year, I became all too familiar about the emotional ups and downs that come along with this disease. In addition to the enormity of being highly at risk for diabetes, I also had to come to terms with the many emotional obstacles that stood in my way of turning my life around. I so desperately wanted to make changes and prevent my prediabetes from turning into diabetes. And yet, I had several emotional blockages that were holding me back. These, of course, can also occur when you’ve been living with diabetes for a year, or two, or twenty.
A recent study has found that under 50% of people with diabetes had participated in educational programs activities to help manage their condition. So let’s get on with it.
’Emotionally manage your diabetes,’ is meant to be a guide to help you identify your emotions that may be hindering you from managing your diabetes, and to help you find strength and emotional balance with this challenge that is part of your life. And hopefully it can empower you to take responsibility for your emotional well-being and physical well-being, living with diabetes.
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