Emotionally coping with diabetes: 7 tips for the newly diagnosed
It can be a shock to discover you have diabetes. You might even feel disbelief and refuse to accept the diagnosis. These feelings are common. In time, as you digest the information, you’ll learn how to live your life with diabetes with the support of others.
However, there’s no doubt those early days after diagnosis can be challenging. Here’s seven tips to coping with diabetes if you’ve been recently diagnosed. Follow them to help take control and develop a positive and empowered outlook.
1) Work towards acceptance
Many experts compare people’s reactions to a diabetes diagnosis with grief. You may experience denial, anger or sadness before reaching acceptance. Give yourself time and go easy on yourself. You might not work out all your feelings and emotions about diabetes today, but you can get there.
2) Talk to your healthcare team
Did you take in 100 per cent of what your healthcare team told you following diagnosis? Probably not. Don’t be nervous about chasing them up for more information about any appointments, lifestyle changes or medications you will need. Getting more information will help you piece together the full story about your condition and can help you feel less confused or overwhelmed.
3) Get the facts yourself
Similarly, supplementing your healthcare team’s advice with knowledge from books and reputable websites will help you develop an empowered mindset. Just be sure to double check any recommendations with a healthcare professional before acting on them.
4) Talk to others
‘Getting more information will help you piece together the full story about your condition and can help you feel less confused or overwhelmed.’
You are not alone. In the first instance, talk to close family and friends. Just getting your thoughts and concerns out in the open can help. Also, healthcare forums and online communities can be a revelation for newly diagnosed people – not only can you meet people who have gone through the same emotions as you, they may also have some useful tips. If you’re more of a face-to-face person, look out for local groups, too. The diabetes charities are a great place for information:
5) Take control
A diary, calendar or diabetes app could help you keep track of your check ups, self examinations, injections or diet and exercise routines – and help you feel less overwhelmed. See our feature on apps for managing diabetes.
6) Consider cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)
Millions of people use CBT to help with life’s challenges, including people coping with diabetes. It’s a simple technique that encourages you to:
- notice the (often negative) thoughts running through your mind
- challenge those thoughts
- develop a more balanced way of thinking.
For instance, CBT might help you change your view that there is ‘nothing you can do to help your diabetes’ to a more positive way of thinking. As simple as it sounds, this guided process can have a positive impact on mood and, in turn, actions. There are many excellent books on CBT, as well as guides online.
7) Remember this one fact
You can live a healthy and long life with diabetes. You may have to make some small changes to your day-to-day routine, but it doesn’t need to stop you from living your life to the full and doing the things you want to do. When your thoughts stray, these can be useful points to remember.
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The views expressed in the Accu-Chek blog are not necessarily those of Roche Diabetes Care Limited or our publishers. The content is provided for general information only. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely – you must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action on the basis of the content. Although we make reasonable efforts to ensure that the content is up to date, we make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether express or implied, that the content is accurate, complete or up-to-date.