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Meaning of diabetes in your life

When diagnosed with diabetes, you and your loved ones need to reflect on the significance and impact of the diabetes on your own life and daily routine.

What does my life look like with diabetes?

When diagnosed with diabetes as an adult, various questions arise about the impacts diabetes will have on an often already established life and self-identity. You might wonder if the disease will limit social interactions, hobbies, school, or work. If you were diagnosed with diabetes as a child, you might only start to contemplate the significance of diabetes in your life in adulthood, with the development of thinking and challenges related to growing up.

It's important to remember that treating diabetes is a marathon, not a sprint. Things are learned over time, and many initially challenging issues become routine and part of one's daily life with practice. Diabetes can also introduce new beneficial aspects, like a more regular meal rhythm or a diverse diet.

The advancements in diabetes care mean that many things that used to be difficult or impossible are just as achievable for those with diabetes as they are for those who are generally healthy. A primary objective of diabetes care is integrating treatment into your everyday life, ensuring a high quality of life and living a life true to yourself, so diabetes doesn't prevent you from achieving your dreams.

How am I perceived now?

Regardless of the life stage or age at which diabetes is diagnosed, feeling different and a sense of loneliness are common at different stages of the disease. One might often contemplate how others react to insulin injections or if I'll be shunned because of my diabetes? What if my illness causes fear in others or gives them the feeling that they don't know how to act correctly if I behave strangely due to my blood sugar being too low

Unfortunately, there's still a considerable amount of stigma associated with diabetes, both on an individual and societal level. This can sometimes feel overwhelming. However, personal and societal prejudices and beliefs about the disease typically change with the increase of factual information and understanding.

Discussing diabetes and sharing information can also help those around you overcome their biases and fears, making daily life safer when surrounded by individuals who know how to act in various situations. It's always easier for both oneself and others to relate to situations they understand and have sufficient knowledge to act upon.

Peer support is also something to consider when you feel the need for support from people who are pondering similar questions in their lives.

Take care of yourself right from the start

One can intentionally strive to enhance mental well-being, for example, by ensuring that every week you set goals to do things you know bring joy. Having a social support network aids in adjustment. A friend accompanying you to medical appointments or a listening ear is invaluable!

Also, remember that diabetes doesn't change the fact that you're still yourself. Especially in the initial stages of the disease, amidst new information and experiences, it might feel like diabetes consumes your entire life or that your sense of self is getting lost under its weight. Amidst learning new things, ensure that you do things that you enjoy, which help you detach from diabetes momentarily. For instance, meet with friends and request discussions about entirely different subjects, reminding yourself that, amidst the diagnosis and diabetes, you are still you.

Updated 8.11.2023