If you have diabetes, you know that it can take an emotional toll. But you're not the only one who may feel the stress. Your family members, especially your partner, is likely to share in the burden. If you shut out your partner completely, he or she may feel isolated and helpless. He or she may feel a need to "rescue" you and resent being left by the wayside. But if you shift too much of the burden to your partner, he or she may resent having to spend too much effort trying to help you and feel that you should be doing more to help yourself. Many spouses dislike being put in the position of parent or nursemaid.
Your mate may worry when the decisions you make about caring for yourself seem wrong. He or she may fear the consequences of what will happen, either in an emergency situation or down the road, if you neglect your health. Maybe you feel that your spouse is nagging too much. Maybe your spouse feels that you are deliberately undermining his or her efforts to sup-
port you. However you are feeling, it is important for both of you to realize that nobody is perfect. And often many of these feelings are due to love, concern, stress, or fear. It is important to acknowledge that these feelings—and probably many other conflicting emotions—do exist. Try to share them honestly when neither of you is feeling pressured or stressed out. By sharing your feelings and communicating openly, you and your partner may be drawn closer together rather than driven apart.
You might need help learning to communicate. Admitting to this is a sign of strength, not a weakness. Confide in your friends. Speak with your spiritual counselor. Consider seeking the help of professional counselors who are trained in coping strategies for people with chronic disease. Your health care professional or local ADA office may be able to help you find the skilled professional you need to talk to.
And finally, don't forget to lighten up. Humor can help you get through stressful times. Laughter helps lighten the load, relaxing us in the process.
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