Diabetes and Emotions

Medicine Wheel:  Emotions and Diabetes

Medicine Wheel

  • Accepting diabetes is not easy.  Accepting that you have both diabetes and cancer is even harder.
  • Some saying accepting that they had cancer was easier than realizing they had diabetes, even though it is so common within American Indian and Alaska Native communities
  • When people are first diagnosed with diabetes, they may have various stages of adjustment. These stages can be:
    • Denial
    • Shock
    • Anger
    • Fear
    • Depression or sadness
    • Hopelessness
  • And for some, acceptance of their diabetes may happen only after there is a complication

It's important to tell your health care provider:

  • That you are having a hard time accepting the idea that you have diabetes (or cancer, or diabetes and cancer, or diabetes and another chronic disease)
  • That you are depressed, angry, scared or stressed
  • Or however you are feeling
  • Sharing these feelings can be the first step to:
    • Feeling better
    • Decreasing the effect of these emotions on your blood sugar

Diabetes and body image

  • If you are already coping with the complications of diabetes, you may have to:
    • Use a wheelchair
    • Wear orthopedic shoes
    • Experience worsening eyesight
    • Start kidney dialysis
    • Have an amputation
  • These are a few examples of how diabetes can affect your life and your image of yourself
  • These physical changes also can affect your self-image and how you feel about yourself
  • It is important to tell your health care provider about how you are making these physical adjustments - or if you need some help
  • It also is important to share how you feel about having to make these changes in your life
  • If these emotions are keeping you from:
    • Doing your work
    • Having good family interactions
    • Enjoying your family, your usual activities and hobbies
    • Taking good care of yourself
    • Tell your health care provider
  • Your Healthcare Provider may recommend that you talk to a counselor about your feelings and consider options to help you feel better