Eliot LeBow LCSW, CDE has lived with type 1 diabetes since 1977 and is a specialist in Diabetes-Focused Psychotherapy. He has a thriving psychotherapy practice in New York City and online via Skype Session. LeBow, treats the many diverse cognitive, behavioral, and emotional needs of people living with, Type I and Type II Diabetes. He has a holistic approach combining traditional talk therapy with diabetes management. As a presenter, Mr. LeBow has presented on the emotional issues facing people with diabetes for multiple diabetes organizations including The Joslin Research Center, JDRF, ADA and the AADE at their annual conferences. In his free time, he founded and presently runs DiabeticTalks, a large online platform designed to help people living with diabetes.
Living with diabetes can be a daily grind. Constant monitoring of your blood sugar readings, diet, and exercise takes its toll, and over time, you may feel worn out, not only physically but also emotionally. Positive thinking about the tasks required to manage diabetes is a significant factor when it comes to avoiding burnout. So is streamlining diabetes self-care.
If you view your diabetes as a burden, it’s time to find the silver lining. Set emotions aside. Adopt a neutral approach and learn to control your sugar. Accept the entire diabetes “package” (tests and all) as your daily self-care. Blood sugar readings are out of range? Evaluate them without overvaluing numbers. Seek relief in recreation, healthcare providers, family, and support groups.
Diabetics often blame themselves for their 'bad' blood sugar levels. This leads to negative emotions such as self blaming or feeling depressed that further worsen diabetes. The key is in accepting that many contributing factors to diabetes are completely outside your control. High or low blood sugar is not 'bad' - just 'undesirable'. You can manage your diabetes - if you can stop worrying about it!
Start slow. Reduce portion size or eat a salad before dinner. Go for a 20-30 min walk after dinner. Take the stairs. Go to the movies instead of watching TV on your couch. Set reasonable weight loss goals (eg. a pound per week). Look at one behavior change at a time. If you are struggling emotionally with change, seek professional help. Be around supportive friends.
Diabetes can cause drastic mood swings and disrupt the peace in your life. The fluctuating blood sugar levels can lead to unjustified anger and irrational behavior from your side. Take these simple steps to keep your levels in check and ensure a peaceful life for both yourself and others.
I was diagnosed with Type I Diabetes back in 1977. I was six years old at the time. I remember and know from my practice that when things get out of control for a child with diabetes, mothers are the ones who have to pick up the pieces. They have to drop everything, put their fear into the background and take care of their child every time there’s a low blood sugar reaction. Each time the blood glucose meter or pump doesn’t work, Mom goes into action.