May 12, 2014

Is Denial Preventing Diabetes Management?

After having the intervention with James who was definitely in denial, I have been reading more about denial. The reactions of being diagnosed with diabetes can cause anger, a feeling of being overwhelmed, and being scared – all at the same time. Other reactions include fear, grief, depression, and denial and finally acceptance. It is important to remember that each person may react differently. Do not attempt to apply a one-size-fits-all conclusion to this, as you will be wrong more often than right.

I have seen some people bypass all of the above and start managing diabetes immediately. Some of the above then happen later and can be very dramatic. A person I knew did this and had none of the above, but two years later blew up at his diagnosing doctor, really asked him why he had not done any education, and was so angry that nothing his doctor said was getting through to him. Three days later he was back to near normal and would not talk about it. I don't think he has accepted his diabetes and may have been in a form of denial all along, but I have only suspicions.

That is one reason I was happy to see this blog on the Mayo Clinic page. The list some items about denial that I have not seen before, and for that I am thankful.

#1. Denial takes many forms and if often difficult to understand as denial. The following are just some of things that many give you a clue (#'s 2 to 5).

#2. "I have a mild case of diabetes; I only have to take one pill." Even your health care provider may have told you that you have a "mild case" of diabetes, giving you the mistaken impression that the disease isn't serious.

#3. "I hate diet drinks; I won't give up my soda." Often times, this doesn't refer to the occasional soda drink. It refers to 80 ounces or more of regular soda — or sometimes milk — a day. When you continue to consume large quantities of carbohydrates, you may be in denial, thinking complications can't happen to you.

#4. "I've had diabetes since I was young and can do what I want now that I'm going off to college." Be careful with this, as an attitude of rebellion can be denial.

#5. "I don't need to test my blood sugar." You may neglect to test your blood glucose levels as suggested by your health care provider, thinking that you can tell what your blood glucose level is by how you feel.

For your health, it is important that you reach the point of accepting diabetes as a fact of your life. Fight for your health. Set realistic goals, make a plan, and ask for help from health care professionals. Regardless of how you start your journey, it is important to move forward and accept the challenge of managing your diabetes. Your emotions will get in the way, if you let them, and prevent you from accepting your diabetes.

I hate to say this, but once the diagnosis is made, it will not go away. Yes, it is possible with changes in lifestyle and food plans that type 2 diabetes can be managed with nutrition (diet) and exercise, but if you don't stick to a regimen, diabetes will return. Even though doctors declare that diabetes is progressive, it is only people that do not manage diabetes that causes diabetes to be progressive. Type 2 diabetes is a lifelong, chronic disease that can lead to complications of left untreated and unmanaged.

Instead of being secretive about your diabetes, tell your friends and family how they may assist you. Things in your life have changed and you need support if a support group exists near you.

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