Is Diabetes Denial Real?
“I don’t understand it, I eat right and exercise all the time. There must be some mistake!”
Those were my first words after being diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. I was in complete shock and just could not wrap my head around what I was hearing from the doctor. But that first reaction is not the main problem most diabetics face.
The problem we face comes when we repeatedly deny that we have diabetes – to ourselves, our family and our friends. And if we keep on this path of denial how do we grow and learn how to deal with what has happened to us. Learning and educating ourselves is so vital in keeping ourselves alive and healthy and to enjoy a life free from complications.
Why do we deny that we have diabetes?
If we bottle up our feelings and pretend nothing is wrong, just maybe we will wake up and we won’t be diabetics any more… Wrong, we will still have diabetes. Often denial serves as a way of coping with the bad news and will keep you from getting overwhelmed and depressed. But at some point we have to deal with and accept what has happened to us.
Denial can also show its ugly head later on because it seems easier. I would not say I was in complete denial but there are still days where I question why this happened and wonder what I did wrong to get diabetes.
Pretending that your diabetes is not serious lets you get away with not looking after yourself. But the fact remains that diabetes type 1 is a lifelong, chronic illness, which, if left untreated, will end up in complications.
Do you want to go blind or loose a leg? No, you don’t! And the sooner you realize Diabetes type 1 is here to stay, the better you can look after yourself.
Denial on it’s own can be dangerous, especially when it starts to sabotages your health care.
So how do you spot Denial
Like anything there are tell tale signs and diabetes denial is no different. Listen out to see if you hear yourself saying any of the following catchphrases.
- One bite won’t hurt.
- This sore will heal by itself.
- I’ll go to the doctor later.
- I don’t have time to do it.
- My diabetes isn’t serious. I only have to take a pill, not shots.
- I will test my sugar afterwards.
- I will just give myself a correction shot later.
- I am fine – I don’t need to test now
But in reality there are the clear signs that you may be in denial of your diabetes
Not testing your blood sugar when you need to
Yes, in time you will learn to read your body and be able to tell if you are high or low but you have to check your blood glucose regularly and by this I mean before every meal, when you wake up, when you go to sleep, when you exercise – get the point?
Stick to meal plan
Changing eating habits and food choices is tough but it’s for your own good. So what if you have make yourself a different meal from your family or friends. They love you and want you to be healthy, you might even find they support you and change their eating habits to. Most grocery stores stock low-carb options which will come in handy when you are pressed for time. Meal prepping is key and left overs are king! Make enough food for dinner and lunch the next day.
Never forget to check your feet
If your blood sugars are uncontrolled you run the risk of damaging the nerve ending in your toes and feet. Basically you lose feeling in your feet and should you bump your foot on something, chances are you won’t feel it. You know you should check your feet each day! No excuses. Washing and checking your feet for signs of trouble every day is essential to avoid serious injury. This is true no matter what type of diabetes you have.
Do not Smoke
Smoking and diabetes are a deadly pair and smoking increases your risk of complications later on.
So how do we deal with denial?
Make a plan and stick to it! Write down your diabetes health care goals. Go keto or low-carb when it comes to your meals. Up your fitness goals. Write it down and put it where you can see it everyday – maybe on the fridge. Understand why your plan is important and accept that it will take time.
Ask for help, whether it be your local diabetes clinic, your diabetes educator, your doctor or even your dietitian. Join a Facebook support group and ask for help. Together you can come up with solutions.
Tell your friends and family how they can help. A good support system is key and let them know that encouraging you to go off your plan can cause more harm than anything else. Teach them what you are allowed/not allowed to have and why. Teach them what will happen to you if you have hypers/hypos.
Acceptance and educating yourself is key to a better – healthier you!
So if you feel like you are struggling reach out, drop me a comment or email me. Follow my Facebook page Diabetes Girls.
Remember there is only one you!