Grief, A Necessary Part of Accepting Diabetes

By GabbyPA Latest Reply 2013-04-25 03:28:46 -0500
Started 2013-01-24 14:30:52 -0600

By: A Sweet Life

This article is very long, but I really encourage you all to read it. It is so to the point of how we have to go through the process emotionally of grieving the diagnosis of our diabetes. To be honest, even after 5 years, I feel like I am still in the Bargaining part of it all. The author shares her personal story in hopes that you can find your way through the grieving process.


Michelle Sorensen | December 18, 2012

I don’t remember the first time I had to inject myself with a needle. I don’t remember being taught how to test my blood sugar. But I have many memories of being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. In retrospect, the day of my diagnosis was the beginning of a long process of grieving my diabetes. At the time, however, I had no idea that being diagnosed with a chronic illness would involve a grieving process.

Elisabeth Kübler-Ross famously outlined the stages of grief in her 1969 book called On Death and Dying. She described five stages (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance) that describe a process by which people deal with grief and tragedy. Many people think of the stages of grief as just relating to loss of a loved one. These stages, however, apply to many types of loss, including divorce, job loss, dealing with terminal illness, or the diagnosis of a life-changing and life-threatening disease like diabetes. The stages are not in a consistent order and people may go back and forth between different stages. Also, not everyone experiences all the stages. The way each person experiences grief is unique.

On the day I was diagnosed in 1999, I took the subway to the Toronto General Emergency Department, no longer capable of denying or dismissing the classic symptoms of diabetes that I was experiencing. I had a sense of impending doom, but at the same time I was unable to believe I could actually have that word that had been popping into my head for months: Diabetes. When the triage nurse tried to test my blood sugar, the glucose meter just read HI. The staff sent my blood off to be tested but went ahead and hooked me up to an IV and insulin drip. I finally asked someone, “Does this mean I have diabetes?” The answer was an awkward, hesitant “yes.” I remember wondering why I had to ask. Many years later, I know it is not okay that no one understood the importance of taking a few minutes to talk to a young woman about why she was being given insulin. The whole 24 hours I spent in the emergency department waiting to be admitted, no one explained a thing.

Please read it all, it's worth it:

8 replies

snuggles11 2013-01-29 16:57:07 -0600 Report

Hi Gabby
Talking about us not being easy to get along
With ? Referring to high and low sugar ?
I'm not sure what your talking about ?
I've only been a type 2 for one week today !
Last Tuesday I was told take this drug !
Read this info !
Know nothing else about it !
Learning from y'all !

GabbyPA 2013-01-30 13:25:34 -0600 Report

No, this is a story by a lady who shares the steps she (and the rest of us) go through when we are diagnosed with any chronic condition. You are so new to it and I am sure you feel overwhelmed. If you don't I want to learn your secret. LOL =0)

The article is just to help us see the different phases we go though and to help us see where we are at in the acceptance of our diabetes. If you actually go to the link and read the whole story you will also see a graphic that shows the steps of grieving that we go through. I hope it will help you out.

jayabee52 2013-01-29 17:39:22 -0600 Report

Well Tammy I believe that this is one of the best places to learn about the practical aspects of living with Diabetes, from us who are doing it!

jayabee52 2013-01-24 15:14:13 -0600 Report

Thanks for sharing that Gabby! It was a good read about the emotional side of Diabetes!

GabbyPA 2013-01-25 09:50:39 -0600 Report

I think that sometimes we hear that we have to suck it up and just deal with it, when what we do need to do is look at our emotions. Not only ours, but those around us who are affected by our disease as well. They also suffer the same symptoms in many ways, but since they are not the ones with diabetes, they are often over looked.

jayabee52 2013-01-25 09:58:28 -0600 Report

In the support group here in LV that I attend from time to time, the leader of the group calls those who come in to support the PWD "type 3" diabetics. Because they have to put up with us when we have our physical and emotional difficulties.

GabbyPA 2013-01-25 10:05:58 -0600 Report

That is cute. It's good to recognize the struggles they deal with too. We are not the easiest of folks to contend with when our sugars are high or low.

Next Discussion: So upset »