For most of us, we reference our diagnosis as “getting diabetes”. When worded this way, it makes the situation sound as if we’ve received something. What we received is a new diagnosis, but we’ve also lost a fully functioning part of our body that will now require lifelong attention. Some of us feel like we’ve lost a life that was familiar, comfortable and safe. That loss requires a period of grievance, and we should allow it. Part of the process of grieving is to express your feelings, to learn from them, and to share them in some fashion. When it comes to chronic illness, we are oftentimes encouraged to cheer up, hang in there, and find positivity despite the current situation.
I certainly agree that having a great attitude, and adopting the “cup half full” mindset is important, but you should allow yourself to also feel the deep seeded sorrow, sadness and pain that comes with diagnosis. If you are living with diabetes and feel trapped, isolated, hopeless, frustrated, sad or angry, I encourage you to find a safe place to share your voice. Reach out to a knowledgeable coach, a ministry leader, a close family member, or even a trusted friend. Express yourself through music, art or writing if you’re looking for a positive outlet. If you are a friend or family member of someone who is struggling with diabetes, I invite you to approach the situation with grace. Instead of pointing out what they have done wrong, or discount their feelings of sadness, extend the hand of empathy.
Validate where your loved one is, and then offer to help as well as listen. This resonates from a positive position rather than an accusatory one.