Learn how to deal with your feelings after you've been diagnosed with diabetes.
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Speaker: Dealing with your diagnosis: Although you may feel well today you must be aware that diabetes is a serious disease. Understandably, you likely experienced a wide array of motions when you were first diagnosed, this is normal. You may have experienced a great sense of relief having being offered an explanation for your physical symptoms or you may have felt a deep sense of despair and helplessness characterized by sadness and anger. There may have been feelings of protest, “This can't be happening to me!” or you may have detached and withdrawn from your diagnosis, denying its very existence. Dr. Janzen: These are normal feelings that they are feeling out of control like, “I can’t cope with this fear,” and it's important that a person realize that common experience. Speaker: Understand that these intense feelings will pass and that you are not going crazy. You are experiencing a fairly predictable cycle of grief. You maybe grieving real losses having been told that you must give up smoking and change old eating and drinking habits or you maybe grieving threatened losses, worrying about your future health. Understanding the process of grief will help you arrive at a healthy level of acceptance. Dr. Janzen: Initially, there is a resistance to associating the realities of a chronic illness like diabetes with your identity. “I don’t want to be diabetic,” is their initial response and I think that’s one of the things that I have learned is that I am not defined by my illness that my hopes and dreams are not defined by my illness and that I have every reason to except to have a fulfilling life despite the fact that I have my illness. I am not my illness. Speaker: Cognitive psychologists recognize that perception is everything. How we think determines how we feel and ultimately, how we behave. Certain patterns of thinking will have either a positive or negative influence on your health. Dr. Janzen: Fear, well, it’s a normal, universal emotion, it can also serve a function of immobilizing us at times, it can stop us from taking actions that will either prevent or protect ourselves or seeking the help we need and there’s many avenues to overcoming that kind of fear. Dr. McPeak: Denial serves as a barrier to the understanding, the motivation and the knowledge that is required to properly care for yourselves to ensure a healthy, happy future. Denial is dangerous. Speaker: But if you recognize that you are in control of your own destiny you will feel motivated to change, you will feel a sense of empowerment. If you are overweight, inactive and a smoker, you may embrace the diagnosis of diabetes as an opportunity for change. Dr. Duggan: Perhaps it's a wake up call before they have had their first heart attack or their first stroke so it's an opportunity to maybe prevent worse problems later on. Fred: He said, “Fred, I am sorry, but you have got type 2 diabetes and you are lucky.” I looked at my doctor and 'Lucky?' I couldn’t understand that and he said to me, ”You are lucky because you could have had a heart attack.” He said, “You have got diabetes and you can do something about it.” Dr. Duggan: Once that diagnosis is told to them, they have to accept it, they have to learn about it and then they are going to have to change their life. Dr. Janzen: There is a lot of support groups that are often available for people who have just been diagnosed with a chronic illness, there is counseling for those who have the resources to seek it, mental health resources of all kinds and I think it's important that accessing people with knowledge that in a safe environment is just critical to coping with the fear and anxiety that’s a normal part of an illness. Speaker: Understanding and addressing the psychological aspects of diabetes will enable you to become an active participant in your own care, optimizing your long-term health. Dr. Janzen: There are so many ways to connect with another person and if that connection aspect with people that are
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