Dealing with Diabetes Guilt
Have you ever felt guilty that you have diabetes? Maybe your blood sugar numbers weren’t where you wanted them. Or you overindulged in a favorite food.
You’re not alone.
Many people with diabetes experience feelings of guilt. In fact, research shows 52% of people with type 2 diabetes feel it comes with stigma.1 Some say they feel blame for causing their condition or that they’re not doing enough to manage their diabetes.
Those feelings can affect your mental health — making it tougher for you to manage your diabetes. So it’s key to know why you feel guilty and how to overcome those feelings.
How Guilt Can Affect Your Health
Feeling guilty about having diabetes is bad enough. But that guilt can have a negative emotional impact on your overall health, even becoming a roadblock to getting the care you need.
The emotional distress and guilt associated with diabetes may lead to:2
- Poor self-care
- Difficulty managing blood sugar
- Higher risk of complications
- Lower quality of life
So how can you overcome feelings of guilt and protect your long-term health?
1. Know the Facts
Diabetes stigmas often arise from misunderstandings. Learn more about how diabetes works. Remember that many risk factors for type 2 diabetes are out of your control — such as race or family history.3 Knowledge often makes it easier to let go of guilt.
2. Set Realistic Goals
Whether you’re working towards a better A1c or trying to eat healthier, keep your goals realistic. If you don’t get the results you want fast, it could leave you feeling like you failed.
For example, it’s recommended that you exercise 30 minutes a day five times a week.4 But that’s tough if you’re just starting out. Instead, start with a daily goal of 10 minutes of activity. Once you hit that goal, you can aim for a bigger one.
Realistic goals help build yourself up for success instead of setting yourself up for failure.
3. Try Positive Affirmations
Affirmations are positive things you say to yourself every day. They can help you beat negative thinking and relieve guilt. Some good examples include:
“I’m doing my best every day.”
“I know my body.”
“I deserve to feel strong and healthy.”
“I believe in my ability to succeed.”
“Caring for myself is important.”
Saying these things to yourself can change your focus from feelings of guilt to working towards your goals.