Dr. Beverly S. Adler
“When it comes to success – Stop being your own worst enemy!” says, Dr. Beverly S. Adler aka ‘Dr. Bev.’
As a clinical psychologist and Certified Diabetes Educator in private practice, Dr. Bev sees many patients who struggle with their feelings about diabetes. Whether newly diagnosed, or living with diabetes for many years, it does not matter. Diabetes is a chronic illness and the daily stresses to manage it can take their toll on your emotions. Diabetes distress and diabetes burnout can be the result. When that happens, thoughts and actions become impaired. You become your own worst enemy unable to manage your self-care in a healthy way. By changing your thoughts and actions, you can become your own best friend and make positive changes to your diabetes self-management.
Here’s two examples of simple changes you can make.
Denial : “I don’t really have diabetes. I just have a touch of sugar.
With that attitude, it’s no surprise if you ignore your diabetes. Denying that you have diabetes grants you permission to live your life like you have no health concerns. Words of wisdom from health care providers fall on deaf ears. You know you should lose weight. You know you should eat smaller, healthier portions at meals. But you’ve convinced yourself that diabetes is no big deal. You’ll start exercising “next week” – but next week turns into next month turns into never. And, you don’t change your lifestyle. You are your own worst enemy!
Not to scare you, but even if you don’t want to think about having diabetes, it can still do damage to your body if your blood sugar is always high. Once you change your attitude to accept your illness, you can start to make changes in your lifestyle. You can start with small changes such as walking 15 minutes per day. You can gradually increase to more minutes per day. Eating smaller portions of food. Trying to reduce carbohydrates and increase veggies in your diet. Those are ways to start helping yourself to manage your diabetes. That is a great way to be your own best friend!
Depression: “Diabetes controls my life. I feel like giving up.”
With that attitude, it’s no surprise if you stop taking care of yourself. It’s hard to manage your self-care if you are feeling hopeless about your health and your future. Depression affects your thoughts and you feel like a black cloud is over your head. You might feel like nobody understands the burdens of your diabetes self-management. You become your own worst enemy!
Research shows that depression is twice as likely to occur for people with diabetes. Understanding that you are not alone with your feelings could help. Try a new attitude: “I will not let diabetes control my life. I will control my diabetes!” Depending on how serious your depression is, it may help to talk to a mental health professional (like a psychologist) who can help you see things from a new perspective. Or you can talk to others dealing with similar diabetes distress and burnout by attending a support group. Many people with diabetes feel the bond of diabetes sisterhood and brotherhood at social media sites within the diabetes online community (DOC). When you start to think differently, you can feel differently. Then, you can start to feel hopeful about yourself and your future. That is a great way to be your own best friend!
Make the choice to be your own best friend as you manage your diabetes! Good luck!
Written By: Beverly S. Adler, PhD, CDE, Clinical Psychologist and Certified Diabetes EducatorDDP Staff Writer.
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