Posted on July 20th, 2013 by Eliot LeBow, LCSW, CDE
Now, I am going to discuss how denial changed or didn’t change me, as well as the impact denial had on my life. Where in my previous blog, “Diabetes: Losing Your Way of Living Life
,” I talked about denial and the impact it had on my diagnosis day.
The diagnosis was a death sentence back then. Everyone in that room with me on that faithful day was in complete denial. “See, he can take care of himself so we don’t have to worry about him. Everything is going to be all right!” Well, guess what? It wasn’t.
I wanted to keep everyone around me in denial so I could continue in my own denial. I was not going to change a thing. No one will ever know I have this “little issue.” I continued in my denial for years.
I decided to be responsible around adults; pretend I had everything under control and thanks to their denial, whatever I fed those in charge of me (mom, dad, doctors, teachers, or any other adult) they believed.
Act like an adult and you are an adult. Well, let me tell you something and you can take this to the bank. Children are children, regardless of how mature they act, and will never be responsible enough to take this disease on by themselves—at least until there mid-teens and even then they will still need your support.
I continued acting like nothing was wrong. I ate whatever I wanted and did what I wanted when adults weren’t around. I didn’t want to be treated any differently. What will my friends think? Well, I didn’t want to find out so I kept it to myself.
I was the same old me and I was going to keep it that way. I won’t be one of those people who loose a foot or have all the horrible things happen to me that doctors told me about.
For people with type II, don’t think for a second that you didn’t go through the same loss or that you can avoid denial. What is important? Regardless of how old or what type of diabetes you have, denial is always a strong possibility and you need to address it—even if it means seeking help from a therapist to figure why you are ignoring your health.
Denial is one of the first defense mechanisms a human being acquires. Everyone is in denial about something and most of the time whatever that is, it is relatively harmless to that person. With diabetes, it can and may be fatal.
If you are in denial, you are moving forward with your actions while ignoring the possible consequences of your behavior. What are the consequences of not taking care of my diabetes? For me and for most people with diabetes regardless of type, these problems include issues with memory, thinking, attention, feeling sick all the time, depression, anxiety, managing relationships, holding your marriage together, holding onto your job, performance at work, performance in the bedroom, and much much more!
How do you avoid the consequences of living in denial with diabetes? Take care of your diabetes by seeking out help. Work with the health professionals and with your family and friends to manage your diabetes. Without that support, diabetes is painfully hard. Total independence is not a good Idea. Build the support team you need. How do you do that? Tune in for the next episode of “Diabetic Minds.”
All the advice included in this blog is therapeutic in nature and should not be considered medical advice. Prior to making any changes to your diabetes maintenance program, please consult with your primary physician or endocrinologist.