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From Camanche, Iowa, USA:

I'm looking for some criteria on encouragement for my college student who is sick of having diabetes.


I think that being sick and tired of having diabetes is a pretty normal response to the situation! I've lived with it 50 years now and although I love being alive, I hate having diabetes. Being happy about being alive and hating it are not mutually exclusive states! Approaching the exhaustion and frustration ought to be approached with honesty and a sense of fearlessness; meaning, the more honest you are with yourself about how you feel, the easier it will be to walk through the feelings to the other side where acceptance and letting go reside.

It might help your son to know that I've gone to therapy and counseling for a number of years to help me cope with the sadness, fear, frustration, anger, resentment and exhaustion of living with diabetes. It doesn't mean that you're not doing well; it just means that we need help and is a part of the reality of living with a disease that requires constant attention and focus. Going to counseling for me, and many others, helps us to deal with the feelings that come with doing it 24/7 and gives us the strength to carry on. Living with diabetes is like running a marathon, not a 50 yard dash. Dealing honestly with the feelings is just as important as getting the right insulin dosing and getting your HbA1c to be in target range.

In addition to finding a good counselor or therapist, it might be helpful if your son got in touch with others living with diabetes. There’s a cool web site Insulin Factor where people with diabetes who run marathons and triathlete events get together to share experiences, strength and hope. DESA, the Diabetes Sports and Exercise Association, is another place to connect with others who are living to the fullest and including their diabetes in their activities. I'd be happy to talk with your son, at no charge, if he’s interested, just in the sprit of being "Fellow Pilgrims," and share some of my experiences with him. I've also included an article that I authored a while ago that highlights some of the issues that I spoke about here. See Diabetes and Depression: Some Thoughts to Think About (PDF)


[Editor's comment: You might also consider attending one of our web site conferences where people of all ages with type 1 can get together and learn how to cope better/live with diabetes. See our list of upcoming CWD Activities and Conferences. Scholarships to attend the conferences are available through the Diabetes Scholars Foundation. BH]

Original posting 14 Jan 2011
Posted to Behavior and Ask Joe


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Last Updated: Friday January 14, 2011 12:05:56
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