Being a doctor, I know about many diseases and the complications related to them. Many people go through psychological and emotional trauma when diagnosed with a chronic illness. I never knew this until after my medical studies. My friend, Sergey was diagnosed with Diabetes. Since then, I have come to know Diabetes as a ‘Monster’ disease.
Sergey is a doctor too. He is a vibrant person, gourmet lover, reveler and party animal. Thus, it was difficult for him to get used to his condition. Most times, he was in pain, but not everyone could see how painful the disease was affecting him. I never liked to see my friend in pain, so my interest in diabetes increased. But one simple question kept running through my mind over and over again. “If a doctor can find it difficult to accept his diagnosis, what about people with no medical background?” When it comes to emotions, everyone is different. Even though you can treat diabetes to a varying degree, there is no medical cure. Therefore, when people are diagnosed with diabetes, some accept it while some don’t. Few people who accept the diagnosis try to listen to the advice of the physician. However, they have too many questions on what to eat and what to avoid eating. Their mind is filled with possible complications of the disease and the fear for their future.
Most times, diabetes is diagnosed during a regular health checkup. This was the case for my friend Sergey. Some are compelled to go for the test when they starting noticing some signs and symptoms of Diabetes. They include slow healing wound, blurred vision, chronic fatigue, increased thirst and others.
My friend, Sergey was no exception. At first, he was sad and depressed. He started to neglect his condition and there was a change in his behavior. He started indulging in alcohol abuse and he was not taking his medicines. I could see that he wanted to forget about his predicament but I knew the denial will not do any good to him.
So, I decided to study Diabetes deeply, it made me become a more sensitive and matured doctor. This changed my outlook towards my patients. I started paying more attention to their emotional well-being. I understood that tackling their grievances and fears at the early stage is important. Some patients even get involved in unproven therapies that are dangerous than diabetes itself.
Nowadays, support groups for various chronic illness are becoming popular. People suffering from similar kind of diseases can now understand each other better. Because it is natural for people in a similar condition to trust one another. But I would add a word of caution here – you should only take advice from someone with positive attitude. Someone who is tackling his conditions with the help of a physician or specialist. If not, their advice may have a negative impact on you.
Here are some great tips for managing diabetes;
Learn about your disease
Like other fields, the medical field is dynamic and progressive. Many diseases that were life-threatening a few decades back can now be successfully treated. Thus, your beliefs could be based on an old information. Under chronic conditions, you need to understand your diseases such as diabetes. You should also know that your doctor is your advisor and partner to help you fight against the disease. Your physician can help you develop the action plan, but you need to learn and act efficiently.
Change your attitude
A diabetes diagnosis is scary. Anyone diagnosed with the disease needs time to accept and understand it. You don’t need to aggravate your condition with anxiety and negative attitude and multiply the problems with diabetes and depression. Most times, chronic diseases do not progress for years if properly treated. Same with diabetes, if you follow the action plan created by your physician, you can live a healthy life. You can live without any complications for a long time or even decades. Armed with a positive attitude, you can keep your mind focused and move ahead in life.
Don’t overindulge yourself
You should not be obsessive about the disease because it may lead to depression. Take proper care of your health, find new hobbies or maybe travel to your dream destinations. I am not advising you to neglect your condition. I just want you to understand that life is beautiful and you should enjoy it. Treating diabetes doesn’t have to painful for you.
Take small steps
Sometimes we tend to get overambitious with our plans. If your physician advises you to do some exercise routines, it doesn’t mean you should spend an hour in the gym. You should be practical. You can start by doing exercise for few minutes at home and then increase it slowly. For diabetes, you can take about 15 to 20 minutes walk after a meal. This is good for your health and quite enjoyable too.
Consult your caregiver regularly
Regular consultations and checkups are the best way to know how you are doing. You need to know your health status and get tested on regular basis. This will allow your physician to give you professional advice on how you can improve your health. You can get information about the disease online, but should not replace your consultation. Diabetic patients need to visit their physician at least quarterly.
Reach out to others
Share your experience with other people with the same condition. You can join diabetes support groups, where you can give and get advice from other diabetic patients. This blog is also an effective psychological tool to help you overcome your fears. Help other people and receive help from others in the process.
Finally, I would like you to know that my friend Sergey is doing well. After more than 15 years of diabetes diagnosis, he has coped well with the disease. He came out of his initial reaction of denial and depression. He discovered he was wrong to worry too much about his condition or live carelessly. His disease has slowly progressed but he has learned to make healthy choices. This has helped him to control the monster disease.
I am sharing this story with you so that you don’t make the same mistake. Getting depressed or angry is far more harmful to your health than the disease. A Diabetes diagnosis is not the end of the world for you, you can live through it.
For greater insight into interacting with diabetes patients or if you would like to chat with others affected by diabetes, I highly recommend joining the app, Reachout.