Dealing with Your Feelings

When you find out you have diabetes or over the course of living with diabetes, you are likely to experience feelings of anger and frustration. You may feel that life is treating you unfairly.

You may feel frustrated when all of your hard work doesn’t seem to be paying off. Or you may find that feelings of anger coexist with feelings of denial, depression, or anxiety. You may find yourself feeling angry whenever you think of having diabetes or when confronted with some of the problems it brings.

Or you may find that you flare up more quickly in situations that have nothing to do with diabetes. It’s as if you are using all of your strength and coping skills to deal with diabetes. There’s not much left to deal with life’s other stresses and strains.

All of these feelings are a common reaction to dealing with a difficult condition. It is normal to feel angry over something you feel you can’t control. Trying to manage blood glucose levels is often frustrating.

Start to keep track of your angry episodes and the events that trigger your anger. Keep notes or a journal if possible. After a few days or even weeks, sit down and review your observations. Try to figure out if there is any sort of pattern. See if there are any particular situations or people that make you angry.

Does your anger typically occur after sitting in a traffic jam? Or does it occur when people start to ask you about your diabetes?

A good way to deal with anger and other bad feelings is to recognize the feelings, realize they are common, and find ways to channel your energy.

Sometimes just identifying the triggers may be enough. You may also need to avoid those situations that cause you to become angry. If you find yourself getting hot under the collar every time your spouse asks you about your blood glucose, don’t wait until things build up to an angry outburst. In a calm moment, explain that it bothers you. Let your spouse know how he or she can be helpful.

You may discover that you have angry feelings because you haven’t completely come to terms with your diabetes. If this is the case, think about joining a support group, talking with other people, or seeking the help of a professional counselor.

You can let anger eat away at you and make you miserable, or you can think of it as unharnessed energy. Use that energy to do something positive. Your anger may be telling you that youare due for a change in your life. Educate yourself about diabetes.

Learn ways to handle anger without taking it out on others or yourself. For example, go for a walk, count to ten, or walk away from the situation. Many people find that seeing a professional counselor can be helpful initially and as they live with diabetes.

Martha M. Funnell, MS, RN, CDE
Michigan Diabetes Research and Training Center
University of Michigan Medical School
Ann Arbor, Michigan

Robert M. Anderson, EdD
Michigan Diabetes Research and Training Center
University of Michigan Medical School
Ann Arbor, Michigan

Shereen Arent, JD
National Director of Legal Advocacy
American Diabetes Association

American Diabetes Association Complete Guide to Diabetes

Page 2 of 21 2

Provided by ArmMed Media