6 understandable reactions to being diagnosed with diabetes

People handle being diagnosed with diabetes in different ways. It’s a life-changing moment, regardless of whether you are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes.

A number of things can affect how you react to your diagnosis, such as your age, while people can often experience a multitude of emotions across a long period of time.

Here are some common reactions to a diagnosis with diabetes, and an explanation of why it’s perfectly normal to feel that way.

Denial

Denial of diabetes can affect people in different ways. At diagnosis, it can prevent you from adapting to diabetes management successfully, risking your health. If you refuse to accept your diabetes, you can cause yourself further long-term problems.

Talk to family, friends or even your GP if you are finding it hard to accept your diagnosis. You won’t be the first person to experience denial, and you won’t be the last. Moreover, check out some of the stories on the Diabetes Forum of people who have experienced similar feelings when diagnosed.

Anger

People with diabetes can experience anger at many different times following their diagnosis, and you may be asking ‘why me?’

It can feel like diabetes stops you in your tracks, which makes it hard to accept for some, particularly if you are preoccupied with other life challenges at the time.

Anger can be a destructive emotion, and the stress that accompanies anger can adversely affect your sugar levels. Mindfulness can be beneficial in controlling your anger, and it is important to ensure that your wellbeing remains intact so that your long-term health doesn’t suffer.

Relief

Some people can actually feel relieved once they have been diagnosed with diabetes, particularly if they have been unwell for a long period of time.

It can be comforting to finally have a diagnosis to explain why you have been experiencing certain symptoms, such as frequent urination or persistent tiredness. Instead of continuing to live in fear or frustration that your illness isn’t being recognised, a diagnosis can enable you to take back some sense of control.

Scared

You’ll likely feel a little overwhelmed following your diagnosis: there’s a lot of information to absorb, from medication to diet, and this can lead to you feeling scared.

This is perfectly normal – many of our Diabetes Forum members have reported feeling scared – and this feeling can periodically return following your diagnosis.

While simply not being scared is easier to theorise than embrace, it’s important to remember that you can still live a normal life with diabetes.

Keeping as good control as possible can help you achieve this, and while there can be still be rocky patches along the way, living a healthy life is a fundamental way of achieving good diabetes management and health.

Depression

Coming to terms with the requirements of diabetes management following your diagnosis can make you feel depressed. Depression is, unfortunately, all too common among people with diabetes.

Depression can lead to spikes in blood glucose levels if you find managing your diabetes too hard, and you should seek medical advice if you have been suffering from symptoms of depression for an extended period of time.

Shock

Shock is a common feeling once you have been diagnosed with diabetes. This is particularly the case for adults who are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and may have only started to feel unwell in the weeks preceding their diagnosis.

This effect can resonate for a long time, but making small acceptances and management achievements following your diagnosis can help you accept diabetes. Take things slowly and set achievable goals for the time being. Once you have started to embrace diabetes management as a regular part of your day, the shock will fade.

What other emotions did you, or someone you know, experience following a diabetes diagnosis? Share your stories in the comment section below.

Picture: watchdog.org

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About the author

Jack Woodfield

Jack is Editorial Manager of Diabetes.co.uk. He works hard, plays fair and sleeps whenever possible. He has type 1 diabetes, doesn't mind being called a "diabetic", and once won a talent show for dancing to Dario G’s 1997 hit “Sunchyme”.

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