The feeling of a brick dropped onto your stomach can be unbearable, and that’s what it’s like to hear that you have diabetes. Like with any type of unfortunate diagnosis, your head spins, the world whirls and where do you go from here? You’re consumed with questions: how could this have been prevented? What will life be like living with diabetes? Will I be able to handle the high costs for treatment and doctor’s visits? Even more so, how will I handle this life change emotionally — mentally?
How? Because you’re stronger than you think.
Here are five ways you can find meaning in your diabetes diagnosis:
- Admit defeat : A diagnosis of any type can leave you feeling defeated, repeatedly. Bad days will be inevitable. Sometimes before you can be strong, you need to admit defeat. Allow yourself moments when you feel hopeless and like you can’t cope because from there you’ll learn to find acceptance. As you start to build strength you thought you never had, you’ll gain a new perspective on living with diabetes.
- Face the truth : Falling into denial is a natural response to an unfortunate life change; however, in facing truth there’s much to be discovered. Do you reflect on decisions that could have prevented this outcome such as unhealthy lifestyle choices? Perhaps you clearly remember days of shopping for birthday supplies and overspending on candy only to eat every last morsel at the party, which contributed to obesity. Or maybe you were just susceptible because of genetics. Whether you’re facing the truth of your past, present of future, you’re one step closer to healing and healthily living your best life — even as a diabetic.
- Reach out for support : Rely on your relationships to get through the initial shock of your diagnosis and hard times. Talking about your frustrations and fears with a close family member or friend will help you express vulnerability and let people in when you need them most. Isolation won’t cure this disease. Embracing compassion and sympathy from people who will listen without judgment will provide restoration. Sometimes a disease diagnosis is a wake-up call that reminds us to simply tell people how much you care about them.
- Promote change : Share the importance of eating a nutritious diet and exercising. The more vocal and dedicated you are to living a healthy lifestyle, the more you’ll encourage others in your life to drop bad foods and sedentary habits as well. Use your connection to this disease as an opportunity to share your story, educate people about diabetes and advocate lifestyle changes. You’re not a victim. You’ve been blessed to spread knowledge and promote health and happiness.
- Treat yourself kindly : Now living with diabetes, you may feel resentment toward your body and disappointment in yourself for not taking care of your health like you should have. Accept that the past is the past, and from now you will treat yourself and your body with kindness and respect. If you’ve been perpetually self-destructive, now you can move forward with self-love, appreciation and an improved quality of life.
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