Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The Other Half of Diabetes: You Know, the Mental One

It’s not possible to measure the effect diabetes has had on me emotionally.

There’s the endless tasks of a day-to-day routine.  There’s the guilt over highs, panic over lows, and frustration over the numbers that don’t make any sense.  There’s the worrying about how much my loved ones worry about me (meta-worrying? J).  There’s the bad days where everything seems hopeless.

Mental health doesn’t get enough attention in diabetes management.  They loudly broadcast the possible side effects on your kidneys, eyes, heart—everything but your brain.  Nobody in the doctor’s office (or elsewhere) encourages you to pay the same attention to your mental health as they do your numbers.

But treating the emotional/psychological side of living with a chronic disease is just as important as keeping the numbers under control.  People with diabetes can have all the information and resources available to them, but it won’t help unless they’re willing to use them.  A doctor can prescribe medications all day, but they won’t do anything if the patient doesn’t take them, and the patient won’t take them unless they believe it matters. 

When I my A1Cs used to be in the 10s, 11s, 12s, my doctor used to always conclude that I needed to visit the diabetes educator again, as if education and not attitude was the problem.  As if I needed to see the plastic pork chop again to understand the proportion size for meat.  I knew; I just didn’t care.

Attitude is everything.  So is hope.

As a wise blogger wrote today for #DBlogWeek (I’m sorry I can’t remember who it was, I read more than a few today J), it could be worse.  It’s true.  We’re alive today, and our blessings only increase from there.

I recently started a new mental exercise, fill in the blanks style: 

_______ today as if _______ was a gift

Because it is. 

1 comment:

  1. Well said. Attitude and hope are crucial in dealing with diabetes.