3 Negative Thoughts You Might Have After a Diabetes Diagnosis—and How to Cope
Diabetes affects many aspects of your life.
This information is part of the American Diabetes Association’s Living With Type 2 Diabetes Program. To sign up, visit diabetes.org/LWT2D.
When you first find out you have diabetes, the news might be hard to believe. You may think it is your fault, or you may feel angry, scared, or sad. These feelings are normal–many people have them. Give yourself time. Everyone handles finding out they have diabetes in their own time and in their own way.
It is hard to make changes in your life-especially changes such as eating healthier, taking a new medicine, or starting to exercise.
It may help to talk to other people who have diabetes, your diabetes care team, or a counselor so you can learn how to fit diabetes management into your life.
Diabetes is something you will have for the rest of your life–and there are no vacations from it! It affects a lot of things in your life, so it is normal to have different kinds of feelings about it. Below are some thoughts and feelings that many people have about diabetes.
Why me? I did not ask for diabetes.
Taking care of your diabetes is a lot of work. It is normal to feel like it is not fair, or to be frustrated, sad, or mad.
Your feelings may change from day to day and over time. Be honest with yourself about how you feel, and find someone you can talk to about your feelings.
I feel fine, so I can't have diabetes.
Since people may not feel any different or have any symptoms, it is hard for them to believe they have diabetes, or need to manage it. They don't think diabetes is a serious problem.
Getting used to the idea that you have a disease is different for each person. After a while, most people accept the diagnosis. They wish they did not have diabetes, but they learn how to live with it. This makes it easier to take care of yourself.
I feel like it is my fault.
People often think that diabetes is their fault. You did not do anything wrong. It is true that lifestyle changes can help your diabetes, but that does not mean you made it happen. Many people don't have a healthy lifestyle and they never get diabetes. Diabetes is genetic (it runs in families).
Instead of thinking that you did something wrong, think about what you can do to make things better–eat healthy foods, be active, and take your medicine(s). You can stay healthy and take charge of your diabetes.
Coping with diabetes
Learning how to take care of your diabetes will help you feel better every day. Remember, the feelings you have about diabetes are normal. A lot of other people probably share the same feelings. Feelings come and go and change over time, and people can have two or more different feelings at the same time. Knowing that there will be ups and downs can be helpful.
Finding a way to deal with your feelings is important. Your feelings can affect your behavior (the way you act) and your blood glucose. When you are upset or feeling stressed, your body makes stress hormones that can make your blood glucose go up and make diabetes harder to manage. Stress can also make it harder to think about taking care of yourself–you may eat too much or not enough, you might not exercise, or you may forget to take your medicines.
Everyone deals with feelings in different ways. Finding what works for you is important.
Keep track of what makes you feel stressed. Write down what made you feel that way and how you handled those feelings. Use those notes to remember what made you feel better. Stay away from activities or events that are stressful. Say no when things get to be too much. If you have to do those things, wait until you feel ready to handle them. Don't work too hard or do too many things. Save some time for yourself every day.
Take time for yourself
Move your body. Do things like walking, dancing, or stretches to help you handle stress and feel better. Smile and laugh. Laughing helps get rid of negative feelings. Do things you like, such as reading, crafts, or talking with friends. Try to relax. It can help you feel calmer. For example, take slow, deep breaths.
Join a support group for people with diabetes, or ask friends and family to help you when you feel sad or frustrated. Talking to someone can help. Find professional help. Try talking with a counselor (such as a social worker or a psychologist) who works with people with diabetes. Your diabetes care team can help you find one. Create your "support system": Talk to other people and get support to help you manage diabetes. The people you talk to–family and friends–are your support system. If you don't have a support system, make one. Once you create your support system, use it. Ask for help from people you can talk to!