Getting a new diagnosis can bring on complicated emotions. There may be relief at finally getting answers, fear of what your future may now look like, and overwhelming information in your search to learn as much as you can.
If you’ve just been diagnosed with diabetes, the good news is that plenty of research and resources are available to guide your journey! To get started, check out this Resource Guide we’ve put together to get you connected and answer your questions.
Looking for more? Here are some tips we’ve gathered from chatting with our diabetic Friends in the Fight:
Living with any chronic illness can feel isolating. The best treatment for isolation is community! Find people who understand what you’re going through, and help those already close to you learn to understand.
Support groups can be a great place to start. It’s nice to have an outlet to vent your frustrations or worries, knowing that they’ve all been there. It can also be a great sounding board for questions that only someone with your experience can answer. (My first question in a support group was how to find bras that didn’t hurt, given my spinal pain. Doctors were baffled by this question, but my fellow patients immediately had a flood of answers.) Even if you don’t post in a group, you can read other people’s questions and learn from the sidelines. Each of the organizations listed in our Resource Guide offers a community, with local chapters for you to meet people in your area if you find that in-person community would be helpful! Mighty Well also offers our Friends in the Fight group that you are more than welcome to join! It is for all people affected by chronic illness, rather than diabetes-specific.
Depending on your age, diabetes camps can be the best way to build a community of people who get it without having to focus on your illness. You simply have fun together, build friendships, and experience all that summer camps have to offer… within a group of people with the same experiences. Find a camp near you here.
For building support within your existing friends and family, understand that it may take time, patience, and some work to get people to where you need them. Our healthy loved ones have to go through their own process of grief, helplessness, and acceptance, and need to witness our struggles before they can fully build empathy for what we go through. It is so worth it, though, when you do reach that point! Check out Celebrating the Heart of Your Relationships, our Guide to Difficult Conversations, and Maintaining Healthy Relationships Despite Chronic Illness for tips to get you there faster.
Finding joy in food can feel near-impossible when everything you eat is a math equation with dire consequences. Having some go-to carb-free foods available will give your brain a break. Note: the organizations listed in the Resource Guide also have ample recipes available! (Yes, they are awesome, all-encompassing sources of information and healing.)
The technology available now for managing diabetes is amazing! Remember that there’s no best way to do this — you can choose what works best for you. Even if you do enjoy all the benefits of high-tech pumps and apps doesn’t mean you can’t ever take a break. One Friend in the Fight tells us she loves her pump, but chooses to take “pump vacations” every now and then, to unplug and just use pens for a bit. You do you, whatever style feels right!
As an aside, sometimes the skin at your pump site can get irritated from adhesives. Try Flonase spray on the area to help soothe allergies and irritation.
Keeping track of treatments, blood sugar, and all the other complicated factors is exhausting. Find ways to reduce your brain’s load. Use your phone for alarms and diabetes apps. Use organizers to keep all of your gear in order and easily accessible.
one step at a time
The most important thing to remember, when it all gets overwhelming, is that you can do this, and you will. Take it one step at a time, look to role models who’ve been doing it longer than you, and just do your best — whatever that looks like each day!
Oh, and remember that you’re not alone. In fact, you’re far from it 💚
Want more tips and support from people who get it? Check out our community here!