Myth “Having diabetes give you mood swings”

Is it true that my diabetes is caused by being overweight? I feel so guilty.

It’s true that being overweight makes your own insulin less likely to work properly. However, to develop Type 2 diabetes, you also need to be genetically predisposed to the condition, and you cannot control your genetic makeup. Many people feel responsible and guilty about what they have or have not done in the past. These feelings are normal, but focusing on looking after yourself now may help you feel more positive.

I can’t get used to the ideal of having diabetes. Won’t the pills make it go away?

Pills for diabetes can lower your blood glucose level and make it seem as though your diabetes has disappeared, but it hasn’t – you have diabetes for life. This can be a shock and hard to accept, especially if your diabetes has come out of the blue and you haven’t felt particularly unwell. Over time, feeling more in control will help you get accustomed to having diabetes. Talking to your health professional, family friends, or other people, or contacting a support organization, can help if you are having trouble adjusting.

Can diabetes affect your mood? I feel very down about it and sometimes cry.

Yes, having diabetes can affect your mood: it may be the worry of feeling unwell or thinking about your future health; the stress of having to think about food, activity, and blood glucose testing; or the frequent visits to health professionals or hospitals. If your mood is up and down, talking to your family and friends may help. If you still feel depressed most of the time, you may need treatment from a mental health professional. This could include counseling or antidepressant medication.

My partner says I’ve been really irritable since I got diabetes. Is it my blood glucose level?

A high blood glucose level can make you moody or irritable, but other causes include stress, felling unwell, or even lack of sleep due to the need to go to the toilet during the night. Diabetes doesn’t change your personality, but it can change the way you think and feel – figuring out what is making your irritable and explaining this to your partner or family can help.

I’m an optimist and I want to control my diabetes, not let it control me. How can I help myself?

Finding out as much as you can about which lifestyle changes will be beneficial to you and setting achievable short-term goals can help get you started. There may also be days when you feel less motivated. On these days, concentrating on the positive things that you can do to control your diabetes, such as healthy eating and physical activity, can help you cope.

If I feel that I’m not coping, who could I talk to?

If you want to talk about a specific aspect of your diabetes, a diabetes helpline can offer confidential and impartial information. If you feel you are not coping well with your diabetes, your health professional can refer you to a counselor. A local support group for people with diabetes – where you can share your feelings with others who understand what it is like living with diabetes – can also help.

How can I deal with the negative feelings I have toward my diabetes?

Strong negative emotions, such as fear, guilt, and anger, are normal from time to time, especially when you are first diagnosed. Understanding as much as you can about diabetes and how to manage it can be helpful. Writing your feelings down (including any questions you have about diabetes care) can help make sense of them. Being regularly physically active can help reduce stress. Discuss with your health professional any negative feelings you have.

It seems as if diabetes has taken over my life. What can I do about this?

Adapting to life with diabetes can take a lot of thought, time, and energy. Eventually, blood glucose testing, healthy eating, being active, and taking pills (or injecting insulin) will be more automatic. Understanding the importance of your diabetes-related tasks can help you stay motivated. Sharing your experiences with others who have diabetes can also make it easier to cope.

My diabetes feels overwhelming and I can’t face thinking about it. What can I do?

Breaking down your fears and anxieties into specific concerns, for example, about food or your blood glucose level, can help you. Tackle each concern one at a time. Learning as much as you can about Type 2 diabetes can help you feel in control.

I’m scared of going blind or needing an amputation. How can I deal with these fears?

These fears are understandable, especially if you know people who have these complications. Finding out how to prevent complications can help you take positive action. Some concern about the future can be a good thing, but constant worry can have a negative impact on how you look after yourself. Talking to someone about your concerns can help reduce your fears.

Everyone seems to be nagging me about my food or my weight and it annoys me. What can I do?

When you are newly diagnosed, it can be irritating to have other people suddenly commenting on what you eat and drink, especially if their opinions are ill-informed, judgmental, or out-of-date. People may do this because they care about what happens to you and want to help. Tactfully letting them know how their comments make you feel – and perhaps how they could be more helpful – might be useful.

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