New diabetes diagnosis? 3 steps for getting on the road to acceptance.
It's never easy to be handed a diabetes diagnosis, whether it's yours, your child's or another loved one's. If you're feeling overwhelmed or confused about what to do next, here are 3 first steps that will aid in accepting and controlling the situation you're in.
Step 1: It's okay to grieve
You've heard of the 5 stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. When you get unsettling news like a diabetes diagnosis, it's common to wonder "Why is this happening?" and to fear the unknown. It's also common to blame yourself and worry about what others will think of you. You may experience some, all or none of the 5 stages. Everyone grieves differently, and these feelings don't have to follow a blueprint.
At first, life may seem like a scary rollercoaster ride. What's most important is that you acknowledge your emotions as they come and go, and ultimately start to deal with them.
Step 2: Find some positives
Perspective is everything. If you approach a diagnosis as something you can control, or as an opportunity to truly understand and manage your or your child's health, you've already won half the battle.
And don't forget to laugh! Humor plays a neat trick on your brain, forcing you to see things from a new perspective. That's why it's such a great stress reliever―it yanks you out of your frame of mind, even if it's only temporary.
Of course, you'll want to surround yourself with people who can help you over the long run, emotionally or physically. Friends and family make great cheerleaders, but it might also help to find a local support group. "Been there, done that" stories from other people with diabetes or their caregivers can be a great source of information and comfort. You can also find bloggers' diabetes diagnosis stories online with a quick search.
Step 3: Build your healthcare team
After the diagnosis, did you go straight to the Internet to search for information? Many people do. But at some point, you need to start meeting with the people who are going to teach you or your child how to live with this disease: your healthcare team.
In addition to your primary care physician or pediatrician, you will likely have to see an endocrinologist, a diabetes educator, a dietitian, pharmacist, eye doctor, dentist, podiatrist and maybe even a personal trainer.
Of course, you are an important member of this team as well. In fact, you're the most important member, because you are in charge of reporting the day-to-day details and carrying out the self-care plan. When talking to any new team member, it's important to ask about their experience is with diabetes. For example, a pharmacist who understands how various medications affect blood sugar can be a real asset.
By the time you've built a healthcare team and you've laid out a diabetes care plan, you'll look back and realize how far down the road to acceptance you've already traveled.