Managing Your Emotions

Right after diagnosis, or during the course of your disease, you may experience lots of different emotions. This is not a secondary aspect of your life. In this section you will read how important is to be aware of your feelings, and to look for any kind of support during the course of your illness.

Emotions are important

“After learning that you have diabetes, you may be feeling angry, scared, or depressed. These feelings are normal, understandable, and manageable. For people with diabetes, stress and emotions such as anger, fear, frustration, and depression can affect blood sugar levels. For this reason, it is important to learn effective ways to deal with these feelings. Don’t try to hide or suppress your emotions; these are normal part of life and some of the work you will have to deal with in managing your condition.” – Lorig

Having a long-term condition brings about many feelings, some of them not pleasant. Here are some basic tips for how to express these feelings in a positive and constructive manner.

Always show respect and regard for others. Try not to preach or be demanding, and avoid demeaning or blaming comments such as “Why do you always spoil my plans?” The use of the word “you” is a clue that your communication might be blaming.

Be clear. Describe a specific situation or your observations using the facts. Avoid words like “always” or “never”.

Test your assumptions verbally by asking for clarification. Remember that assumptions are often the place where good communications break down. One sign that you are making assumptions is when you are thinking “he or she should know…”

Be open and honest about your feelings.

Accept the feelings of others and try to understand them. This is not always easy. Sometimes you need to think about what has been said. Rather than answer immediately, remember that it is always acceptable to use “I understand” or “I don’t fully understand. Could you explain some more?”

Be tactful and courteous. You can do this by avoiding sarcasm and blaming.

Work at using humor, but at the same time know when to be serious.

Be careful not to make yourself a victim, by not expressing your needs and feelings and then expecting others to act the way you think they “should” act. Also, you should not have to apologize all the time for your feelings, but if what you’ve said or done has hurt the other person, then you should apologize.

Finally, become a good listener.