We are worth loving ourselves

We can live full, robust, amazing lives with diabetes

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If you read my last post you know my book “The ABC’s Of Loving Yourself With Diabetes,” is a hit with the younger set. I imagine it’s the illustrations and her mother’s bedtime voice. But as any good detective, I went back in and re-read my own book. Well, it doesn’t take very long, it’s about 64 mighty, yet short, pages.

I’d like to share the ‘Foreword’ that was written by Susan Guzman, Ph.D. and psychologist at the Behavioral Diabetes Institute. While Susan doesn’t have diabetes, she does live with a chronic illness. She is also one of the nicest, most genuine persons I’ve met. Both she and Bill Polonsky, the Institute’s founder, have been an influence on my work. 

What Dr. Guzman says in the book:

“The emotional side of diabetes is often ignored or neglected and yet is such a critical part of living with the disease day in and day out.  It is easy to get overwhelmed, tired, defeated, frustrated and down about diabetes.

In my work as a clinical psychologist at the Behavioral Diabetes Institute we address the emotional and behavioral side of living with diabetes. Through workshops, classes, and discussion groups we offer people a forum within which to share their personal struggles and victories, and discuss and work though difficult emotional issues. Connecting with others who truly understand what it is like to have these thoughts and feelings can cause remarkable transformations. Just knowing that you are not alone with what you are going through, and believing that there is hope in what you are struggling with, can create new ideas, possibilities and motivation.

Sometimes healing needs a change in the way you look at things. It may be looking at your next high blood sugar number and just seeing it as information to inform your next decision, rather than as a judgment of yourself. Or, reminding yourself that it’s impossible to “do diabetes” perfectly, and so aim to do your best. 

At the BDI we have learned that for many people changing their thoughts and behavior regarding diabetes is a long journey, but as Riva says you can appreciate the steps you take. In the end, living with diabetes means taking responsibility and taking charge. I’ve seen when people do that, particularly with the emotional issues of living with diabetes, their management improves, which means their day improves and their life improves.

Riva inspires others to not just live with diabetes, but to thrive with diabetes. With gentleness and wit she challenges her readers to acknowledge and address difficult emotions in an effort to see that we are worth the hard work of loving ourselves.”

Like Susan, I know the emotional side of living with diabetes is just as important as the medical side. If you are having trouble, seek help. And remember, you are worth the work of living well with diabetes. Happy weekend.

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