Ping pong balls with different emotional faces drawn on each.

Some of the most common feelings associated with type 2 diabetes are fear, anxiety, dread, hopelessness, and embarrassment. Here's how to flip these feelings into positivity. 

“Feelings—nothing more than feelings. For all my life I’ll feel it. I wish I had never met you…” 

Have you ever found yourself humming these words penned by Morris Albert? (You will now ?). These lyrics may reflect how you feel about your diagnosis of diabetes. Let’s face it, being diagnosed with diabetes brings with it some strong feelings. 

Feelings were one of the five “F” words that I talked about in relation to type 2 diabetes back in April of 2019, before this whole COVID pandemic brought more words to mind. Other “F” words that I discussed previously are food, formulary, fitness, and we still have our eye on the future. But wait, let’s not get ahead of ourselves...back to those feelings. Your immediate thoughts may go to “negative” feelings but —there can be some “positive” feelings. Just give it time. 

Common Feelings Associated with Type 2 Diabetes

Some of the most common feelings associated with type 2 diabetes are fear, anxiety, dread, hopelessness, and embarrassment. Fear of the unknown—how is this diagnosis going to impact my life (work, family, free-time, etc.)? Anxiety and dread about next steps in this daily battle. Hopelessness as you thought about how you were going to reach those elusive glucose targets that your provider told you were needed for you to be “successful”. And lastly embarrassment, for allowing this to “happen” to you

Negative Feelings Flipped

Now for the elephant in the room—those negative feelings. Negative feelings may include failure, frustration, fatigue, and futility. But here is something to try: take those feelings and flip them on their head. Instead, each day, think of how you can embrace positive feelings such as:

  • Failure flipped = Formidable/Forceful - you are a warrior who despite getting knocked down (but not out) you rise to face the daily challenge. 

  • Frustration flipped = Fulfilled - you practice self-management behaviors that lead to feelings of accomplishment at the end of the day.

  • Fatigue flipped = Fresh - each day is a fresh new opportunity to may better choices that will positively impact your diabetes.

  • Futility flipped = Fruitful - as you make better self-care choices you eventually reap the reward of meeting your glycemic goals.

Take heart knowing that those initial feelings of fear, anxiety, dread, hopelessness, and embarrassment can be overcome and used as motivation to push you towards successful management of your diabetes. These positive feelings don’t come overnight. They need to be cultivated and encouraged. Attending a Diabetes Self-Management Education (DSME) class (alone or with friends and family; virtually or face-to face) can help provide you with some ‘F’acts about how to do this. 

Are you ready? 

Now go out and be fierce/fabulous-strong, confident, powerful in the knowledge that you have what it takes to meet every challenge that living with diabetes throws at you.

Stay well!

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