How do you feel about having diabetes? Do you see it as a daily challenge, one that requires your own strength, energy, and attention as well as the support of your fiends and family? If so, you're probably coping well with your diabetes. You understand that diabetes is a serious condition, but you are optimistic about your treatment plan. You're committed to taking responsibility for your self-care, to following your regimen, and to learning as much as you can about your diabetes. You trust your health-care team, and you feel free to participate in decisions about your diabetes care plan. Your attitude is positive.
On the other hand, you're not coping well if you believe your diabetes isn't a serious condition, or that your care plan is impossible to follow, or that your treatment won't work. Maybe you feel that it's your doctor's responsibility to keep you well, that you can't change your lifestyle to fit your diabetes regimen, that you have no time for medical appointments, or that you can't depend on family and friends for support. These are all poor coping responses.
If you feel you're not coping well with your diabetes, ask yourself why not. Do you think you are not strong enough, smart enough, or well enough educated, to take responsibility for your self care? Are you afraid you can't afford diabetes supplies? Your first step is to seek out health-care professionals you can trust and work with as a team member. It takes courage and hope to get involved in your own care, but it's worth it.
For more information on psychological aspects of diabetes, see The Physician Within by Catherine Feste. You can order this book from Diabetes Center, Inc., P.O. Box 739, Wayzetta, MN 55391.
Another book that has brought comfort to many is When Bad Things Happen to Good People by Harold Kushner. You can find this book in your library and at most book stores.
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