Living with diabetes blog

Don't let denial keep you from managing your diabetes

By Peggy Moreland, R.N. and Nancy Klobassa Davidson, R.N. May 2, 2014

What was your first reaction when your health care provider told you that you have diabetes? Were you overwhelmed? Scared? Or, did you completely deny that you have diabetes?

An initial, and sometimes later, reaction of denial is quite common. In our work, we see many forms of denial, including statements such as:

  • "I have a mild case of diabetes; I only have to take one pill." Even your health care provider may have told you that you have a "mild case" of diabetes, giving you the mistaken impression that the disease isn't serious.
  • "I hate diet drinks; I won't give up my soda." Often times, this doesn't refer to the occasional soda drink. It refers to 80 ounces or more of regular soda — or sometimes milk — a day. When you continue to consume large quantities of carbohydrates, you may be in denial, thinking complications can't happen to you.
  • "I've had diabetes since I was young and can do what I want now that I'm going off to college."
  • "I don't need to test my blood sugar." You may neglect to test your blood glucose levels as suggested by your health care provider, thinking that you can tell what your blood glucose level is by how you feel.

Fear, grief and depression are other common reactions to a diabetes diagnosis. Whether your initial reaction is denial, fear, grief or depression, we hope that you're able to move forward and accept the challenge of managing diabetes. Don't let these common emotions lead you to avoid self-care or to think that the diagnosis will "go away." Diabetes is a lifelong, chronic illness that can lead to complications if left untreated!

For the sake of your health, it's important you reach the point of acceptance. Fight for your health. Set goals, make a plan and ask for help from health care professionals such as diabetes educators and registered dietitians.

Tell your friends and family how they can help, and seek the support of a diabetes support group near you. The Juvenile Diabetes Association and American Diabetes Association websites also have information about camps for children and teens with diabetes. Remember, you're not alone.

Have a good week.

Peggy

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May. 02, 2014