Diabetes: Just deal with it?

by | Mar 7, 2018 | Blog, Dealingwithyourdiabetes, Motivation | 0 comments

Where do you learn to deal with it?

As I progress deeper into my coaching career, I notice many people talking about how they “deal” with diabetes.  I see it in personal conversations, on social media, podcasts, blogs, and FB posts.  People sharing their stories, bits of their day and pics that offer insight into what life with diabetes looks like.  It seems like dealing with diabetes is a self-guided tour of trial and error down a path walked by so many but seen by so few.  We all feel our way around, fall down a lot and keep pushing on.  Some more successfully than others.  The entire time, we just want to be seen, to be understood and to be validated.  Not judged.

The medical system arms us with an overwhelming amount of data – medication, carbs, blood glucose checks, alcohol swabs, injection sites, what to eat, what not to eat, how it “should” work and so much more.  As an RN, I am can tell you the emphasis in the medical community is on patient education.  Give them all the knowledge and they will know what to do.   If that were the case, why are so many struggling?  Why is it so hard to manage?

Dealing with it depends on how you cope

To me the hard part of diabetes isn’t the needles or the blood sugar tests.  It is how to cope with it in a healthy way –  Every. Day. Of. My. Life.   I have learned some good coping skills on the couch of a counselor, in the stories of others and from hard fought struggles.   Dealing with it means managing every possible emotion, extreme frustration, unexpected life changes, a distorted worldview, feelings of isolation, a broken healthcare model, all the while still being a son/daughter, mother/father, brother/sister, spouse, boss/employee/student, care giver/care receiver and every other role we play every day wrapped up in a roller coaster of hyper/hypoglycemia.  Dealing with it means trying (or not) to live up to other’s expectations of what we “should” be doing.  As if they could do it better (yes doctors I am talking about you).  How well we deal with it is so tightly tied to our ability to cope with life’s challenges.  Yet this is absent from any treatment plan I have ever seen or been a part of.  The closest things is suggesting we attend a support group.

What if?

What if part of the initial diagnosis treatment plan included an assessment of how you cope?  Or what support you have? Or where you are in the grief process? (did you even know you were in a grief process?)  If your go to strategy is to avoid problems, I would place a large bet that you will struggle a long time in managing diabetes.  Do you get easily frustrated?  Why would anyone be shocked if diabetes frustrated you to the breaking point?  Are you a control freak?  Shocker that your highs and lows will be a source of disappointment – daily.
What if before we (the medical community) got into the intricacies of pump therapy, we helped you reframe your options for managing frustration?  What if we explained grief so you understood that what you were feeling was normal and expected and healthy?  What if we helped you to put a name to the emotions you were experiencing?  What if you were trained on how to find your voice so you could ask the questions, challenge the norm and claim your way?  What if we helped you to feel better.  Even just a little bit – during a time when your world falls apart or during a time when the road is too long and you are not sure how you will continue?  What if?
Dealing with diabetes Is hard. Everyone knows that.  But there are ways to cope that serve you better, help you feel better.  And when you feel better, even just a little better, you will naturally do better.
Even a little bit better is significant.


Patricia %



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