Diabetes: dealing with guilt, anger and depression

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Recently diagnosed with diabetes? Is your diabetes out of control? Maybe you are feeling guilty, angry or depressed. All these emotions are normal.

Don't feel guilty. Do not play the blame game! You did not give yourself diabetes. Sure, lifestyle choices may have contributed to your risk for Type 2 diabetes, but if you don't have the genes for diabetes you will not develop it. You can make different choices starting now. For Type 1 diabetes, your actions played no role at all.

It is OK to be angry, but do not let anger overwhelm you. Even if you do everything right, you may not be able to prevent diabetes or its complications. Have realistic expectations of yourself. Understand that diabetes can't be managed perfectly. Instead, focus on what you can do to help improve your situation, and feel good about the positive efforts you have made, no matter how small.

Depression can be a serious condition. It is twice as common in people with diabetes. Untreated depression makes diabetes harder to treat. Fortunately, depression is treatable. See your doctor if your mood interferes with your ability to take care of your diabetes.

Don't know where to turn for reliable information? There are certainly no shortages of diabetes-related books and websites. How do you know if the information you read or hear about diabetes is true? Fortunately, you don't have to do this on your own. A diabetes educator can help. Consider these options:

  • Providence St. Mary Medical Center is sponsoring a Community Awareness Diabetes Program in collaboration with Adventist Health Medical Group and the YMCA. This program is free and includes presentations by experts in Walla Walla talking about diabetes management and prevention. Get the latest information on preventing and managing diabetes and its deadly complications to help keep you and your family healthy. The program will be in the Providence Room at Providence St. Mary Medical Center Nov. 27 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. You do not need to register. For more information, call 509-529-8922.
  • Individual diabetes workshops and support group meetings are held monthly at Providence St. Mary Medical Center. Call 509-529-8922 for more information. Spanish language groups also are available. Spanish speakers can call 509-522-5118 for more information.
  • Adventist Health Medical Group also provides diabetes education. Call 509-527-8045 for its current schedule.
  • The Walla Walla YMCA offers exercises and lecture classes on diabetes prevention. Call 509-525-8863 for more information.
  • The Washington Association of Diabetes Educations also offers a website with good, reliable information, www.DiabetesAnswers.org.

Ron Kammer, registered nurse and certified diabetes educator, is coordinator of the diabetes program at Providence St. Mary Medical Center.

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