Fitness
Reviewed by

Shifa Fathima

Talking About Your Diabetes and its Management

It's not always simple to discuss health issues with anyone for various reasons. You may not want to burden someone else with it, you may wish to keep aspects of your life very personal or maybe even feel shameful or guilty about having it. But being honest about the condition and your concerns could be the very thing you need to break out of the vicious cycle. Although we all think or believe that it is simpler to manage your diabetes on your own, we should not underestimate the power of finding an empathetic ear to ease the strain of dealing with diabetes, especially on a difficult day. 

Studies have shown that having a healthy conversation with someone we trust, has a tremendous positive effect on our psyche and mental wellbeing. Being honest, open and just speaking out aloud can bring about more clarity in your thought, reduce anxiety, make you feel more in control and give you the support and boost needed to navigate through everyday struggles to reverse the condition faster.

With Whom Can I Discuss Diabetes?

It is not always necessary to have deep elaborate conversations with anyone or everyone all the time. Even a brief chat is a good first step to improve mood and help you cope better. If you're still not too pumped or comfortable about talking or initiating a conversation about diabetes, here are some pointers that can help you get the ball rolling.

1. Talking to Friends and Family

It may seem unappealing to talk to your near and dear ones about the difficulties you facing because of diabetes, but remember they are your well wishers and only want the best for you. Once they are more aware and informed about the condition, they can be your biggest cheerleaders and be more appreciative of the healthy choices you have to make. Some suggestions to prepare before initiating the conversation are-

  • Make a note of what you want to share with a particular group or person. It is not necessary to share everything with everyone, but make sure you keep it relevant and honest.
  • Think of how you can include them in the discussion and make them feel involved. It should be a dialogue and a two-way conversation; not like an official memo on a notice board.
  • Encourage them to ask you questions or express any concerns they may have. Sometimes this may become bothersome if it leads them to ask you questions like "Should you be consuming that?" everytime you eat a meal. But at such times, give them the benefit of doubt as most times, it comes from a place of good intentions. No matter what, be respectful with your answer, thank them for their concern and tell them you are doing your best to take care of yourself.
  • Let them know what they can do to make your life easier, and what they do currently which is undesirable and needs to stop in order to play their part in supporting you on this journey.
  • Be Patient. Not everyone may understand the complexity of your situation or the reasons for your actions and consequences of inactions. Give them the space and time to understand and accept the facts as they come.

2. Talking to Your Team of Diabetes Experts (Doctor, Coach, Therapist)

The first thing you should know about your team is that it is centered around You!

You are the captain and the doctor, coach and other experts are all your supporting team members. Your diabetes care team are dependent on you to be and give honest information because only you know how you feel about your body. But what should you be talking about with your team of experts? Here are some things your team wants to know so that they can provide you with the utmost care and support.

  • How well your diabetes is controlled and whether diabetic complications are starting or getting worse.
  • See your blood sugar monitoring record and check for trends, patterns and concerning too low (low blood sugar) or too high sugar levels (hyperglycemia).
  • Know about any changes in your diet, exercise, or medicines and any new health issues or illnesses you may have gotten.
  • Ask questions to understand your personal obstacles, in order to create a customized plan for managing your diabetes.
  • Identify your triggers, pain points and strengths to determine the best way you can find the motivation, confidence and structure to make positive changes and accomplish your goals.

3. Talking to Coworkers and Employers at the Workplace.

Being open and truthful to your employer or colleagues about diabetes may seem like a terrible idea, and it is natural to feel concerned about how others at the workplace may respond or react to the news of your diabetes. But as a person with diabetes, it becomes necessary for you to convey how the condition impacts you regularly on a daily basis. If you are not too keen about having widespread communication, keep your conversation succinct, to the point but at the same time expressing what needs to be said without withholding anything important. Some things to keep in mind are-

  • Communicate and follow your own rules that has been made keeping your health as the No. 1 Priority.
  • Point coworkers in the right direction of the discussion.
  • Understand your rights as an employee in the workplace.

4. Talking to Other Diabetic Compatriots

Peer support may be very beneficial. Whether you have diabetes for the first time, have had it for a while, or know somebody who does, managing the illness may be challenging. Diabetes people might need to share their insights with others or could be searching for advice or assistance.

Why Talk about Diabetes?

Diabetes requires time, so discussing it might be the last thing to consider. You might wish to start taking care of your diabetes on your own. If the diagnosis is recent, you might need time to process it yourself. Everybody is in varying circumstances, and discussing may be challenging, especially when it involves your well-being. 

However, opening up to others and discussing how diabetes impacts your everyday life may be a genuine eye-opener for you and the other person. You'll feel less isolated if you share the hardship of having diabetes and may feel relieved. Even just saying the words out loud can help you feel less worried and prevent you from feeling trapped in a loop of anxiety.

Talking about your diabetes might also change the way you perceive your diabetes. Relationships with other diabetics may help you cope with daily difficulties like worrying about your blood glucose levels or attempting to determine insulin dosing woes.

Bottomline

It's not always simple to discuss diabetes. However, honesty could ensure you receive the best diabetes care when required. You might find it simpler to manage your diabetes on your own. However, a sympathetic ear may ease the strain of dealing with diabetes, especially on a poor day. Talking about your diabetes freely with relatives, friends, coworkers, and other diabetics may allow you to get the support you need to get through the difficulties of the disease.

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