Living with Diabetes: Practical Steps
Regardless of what age you are diagnosed with diabetes or which of the two types you have, it helps to have some coping strategies. Living with diabetes can be challenging, but it certainly need not keep you down. Here are some practical steps for living with diabetes.
Connecting with Others
One of the most helpful things you can do is get to be a part of the diabetes community in your area. You'll learn you're not alone; you'll probably pick up valuable information, tips, and literature, and you'll learn about upcoming events, retreats, and camps.
This can be helpful for children who want to fit in with a peer group but aren't sure how or if others will accept them, or for adults who feel isolated in their condition. It helps a lot just to know there are others who understand what it's like.
Form a Group
If you don't have a local support group for diabetics, consider forming one. Members can meet at your house or at a local venue, and you can set up social networking or a website to keep in touch. You can plan outings, gatherings, meetings, and so forth, and keep your group informed about events.
While regular visits to your physician are important, diabetics ultimately have to be responsible for their own daily care. You have to learn to take your own blood sugar and administer your own insulin, and only you know when something feels "off." It's up to you to implement an exercise regimen and eat the right foods. Learning this basic truth - you are responsible for managing your diabetes - can take some of the stress out of living with this condition.
Don't Beat Yourself Up
For those with Type II diabetes or for parents of children who have Type I, it can be tempting to get caught up in the self-blame game. The development of Type II diabetes may in fact be linked to certain lifestyle choices, but it's not necessarily so; and even if it is, you have to move forward and into a healthy lifestyle.
Parents whose child or children have Type I may blame themselves - mothers may worry about something they did while pregnant, or obsess over letting their child eat a lot of sugar before the diagnosis. None of these blames are necessarily even true! It wastes time and energy to worry, so focus on moving forward and getting the most out of life from here on out. This may be the beginning of an opportunity for self-improvement and self-control.
Have a Plan
Having a plan can help you stay in control in a given situation, and get the most out of parties and holidays. Decide ahead of time how you will handle holiday and party treats so you don't have to think on your feet each time you're offered a goody.