Channeling Negativity into Healthy Motivation
Dealing with diabetes involves change and adaptation. Lifestyle changes, dietary restrictions and close monitoring can be stressful, and many people have trouble controlling their emotions about diabetes. Fortunately, there are plenty of opportunities for you to take control and use your charged feelings to your benefit, helping you stay grounded and well equipped to manage your health and relationships.
Dealing with the Diagnosis
It’s never easy to learn that you have a chronic condition, and it’s perfectly natural to be overwhelmed by the surprise, stress and questions that come with a potentially life-changing situation. Although everyone processes this type of news differently, it common to feel emotions like:
- Fear. All of a sudden, you have to treat your body differently, and you may feel a loss of control. Unsurprisingly, this feeling can snowball into fear and worry that you may not be able to adapt sufficiently to keep yourself healthy.
- Shock. If you lost track of your health some time ago, you may be unpleasantly surprised when you receive the diagnosis. Turn this awakening into a positive and ambitious response.
- Anger. While you shouldn’t diminish your situation (it is a big deal), you need to channel your anger toward more productive ends. Assert your health needs to your medical team, burn off the energy with a workout or start journaling to relieve the pressure.
- Guilt. You didn’t do anything to deserve diabetes; try not to dwell on the past. Keep your eyes firmly focused on the path that lies ahead, and take heart that you have a good team that’s there for you.
About 15% of people with diabetes dip into a depressed state at some point, but turning inward can impact your health in dangerous ways. One of the best ways to handle your emotions about diabetes is to discuss them. Get into the habit of sharing your feelings, and soon you’ll find it easy to vent when you need to.
Staying Happy and Positive through Treatment
Even if you start off with a great attitude and the right habits, managing a chronic condition like diabetes has its ups and downs. High or low blood sugar can lead to fatigue and anxiety, and the stress of sticking to a restrictive routine can spark anger and frustration. It’s important that you try to sort out negative emotions that can interfere with good self-care, by:
- Controlling stress. One of the best ways to control stress is to exercise, and the faster you can get into a workout routine, the sooner you’ll be able to enjoy your exercise rather than suffering through the task.
- Learning to accept. There are situations that you can change, and there are realities you must live with; learn how to tell these apart. Many things that seem important at the present moment are rather insignificant in the long run, so ask yourself if the outcome is going to matter a year from now.
- Asking for help. You have family, doctors, friends, and other helpful resources at your fingertips. If you’re looking for objective insight, you may find that a professional counselor is your best confidant, and your most effective route to psychological wellbeing.
Emotional changes are part of life with diabetes, but keep an eye out for the sudden turns and deep sadness that may signal depression. Talk to your doctor about treating your symptoms; sometimes there’s a hormonal imbalance at the root of your emotional turmoil, or another physical issue at play.