Quick Poll: Has your diabetes turned you into a control freak?

Dr Gary
By Dr GaryCA Latest Reply 2017-08-09 22:17:39 -0500
Started 2017-07-11 22:22:52 -0500

My clients often talk to me about how staying in control of the day-to-day details in their lives.

Some have told me that living with a chronic condition, and doing everything they need to do to take care of themselves has caused them to pretty much take control of everything. They talk about how it has become so second nature to manage every last detail that they don’t know how to turn it off. Sometimes to the annoyance of the people around them.

Others tell me they have made a concentrated effort to give their need to control a rest, even to be a little more laid back in areas of life outside of their healthcare.

But often, even clients who have let go of the need to sweat the small stuff have talked about how, when they were initially diagnosed, they went through a period of time where the anxiety about being in control landed all over the place. And how it took some time to get their balance back.

How about you? Where are you on the control continuum? Sweating the small stuff? More on the laid back side? Still figuring out the balance thing? Or does it just depend on the day?

Here’s a link to an article I wrote on this topic recently:


Looking forward to hearing from you on this!

28 replies

Stuart1966 2017-08-09 22:17:39 -0500 Report

Control is a tragicly misguided mistake… ime. A hideously baaad idea we should avoid like plague.

Too many of our peers believe their excessive hyper vigilance is necessary or worse guarantees a specific outcome, a false cause and effect.

It is a severe mistake to try and choke, pretend diabetes can be controlled. Try and catch it, is the wrong idea… IME, IMHO

Pegsy 2017-07-21 20:28:10 -0500 Report

When I was first diagnosed, 6 years ago I immediately went into control freak mode. It was difficult, at first, to figure out what was and wasn't going to work for me. I couldn't allow tempting foods in my home because I feared I wouldn't have the self control to resist. This didn't set well with my husband. I still control myself very tightly but I can resist the treats that he enjoys now. It has taken years to figure out what works for me, get things under control and just work the plan. I'm doing very well and my family can enjoy their treats without me jumping all over them. I appreciate their patience with me as I worked to gain control over myself.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2017-07-22 22:18:45 -0500 Report

Hey Pegsy, always nice to see you. I think many newly diagnosed diabetics head into control freak territory as they figure out the ins and outs of managing their diabetes. What I think is better this than going into denial, or assuming you can eat whatever you want as long as you take the medication. Sounds like you have found a way to manage your diabetes that works with your lifestyle, rather than trying to force yourself into a box. That's great. And I am sure you and your family members can appreciate each all that much more. Glad to hear you have a good support team. Thanks for sharing this, my friend.

akasha 2017-07-19 21:50:00 -0500 Report

well i'm bummed, lost a big toe due to Neuropathy and need an Insole to walk in shoes, do you know where I can get one, live in San Diego, Clairemont, any help will be awsum, I need to get back to work and i'm a, yep, a Cashier at a Grocery Store LOL well not funny but I really love to work, to I need a Insole with a raised part where my toe was, ok thx Doc, take care

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2017-07-19 22:18:44 -0500 Report

Hey akasha, it's great to meet you. Glad you checked in. Really sorry to hear about this! I am wondering if you have checked into local podiatrists. I have insoles and that's where I go for mine. Can your doctor give you a referral to someone who can help you? You might also look on the website of your healthcare provider for a list of in-network providers. I hope you are able to get this squared away soon. Please keep us posted on how you're doing.

suecsdy 2017-07-16 15:24:29 -0500 Report

Mostly, I just worry about myself. There are times though when I want to say "Do you know how many carbs that is?" Mostly to my family; My younger grandsons are already at risk for diabetes, having it now on both sides of the family tree. But I know I wouldn't appreciate the sugar police in my face, so I just keep my mouth shut.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2017-07-18 22:21:25 -0500 Report

Hey suecsdy, nice to see you. Watching over your own carb intake seems to be to be a good reason to turn on the inner control freak. But I know what you mean, when it comes to other people, we have to be a little more careful about how often we make "suggestions." The reverse result can occur, and our attempt to help can be taken as an attempt to control. I suspect your grandsons are especially sensitive to being told what to do. But wow, it must be hard to watch kids not eating well and knowing where this can lead.

Vhm 2017-07-13 19:30:15 -0500 Report

I do not preach to others. If people ask questions, I answer, honestly. Otherwise I control myself. I realize there are a few days per week that I will over eat or eat things I don not eat the other five days. That's fine. But I can usually, most days, control a lot of things about me. Even as a T1.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2017-07-15 22:23:28 -0500 Report

Hey Vhm, thanks for checking in. Sounds like you have a realistic attitude about your self-care, and that you are doing a pretty good job of staying on top. That's great!

cmr55 2017-07-12 20:34:08 -0500 Report

Hi Dr. Gary Things are a lot more relaxed from when first diagnosed and on insulin. I had anxiety at almost every meal testing and taking shots, over exercising. Some people think I am a diabetic control freak. But hey the first month being a diabetic I could only see shadows. I never want to experience that again. So much effects diabetes. Right now I have been experiencing lows. I think its a medication I have only been on for two weeks. It is not diabetes meds so have to check with doctor to see if low BS is a side effect. LCHF diet that seems to work for me been off insulin now for 42 months. I know what my portions should be even eating out in a restaurant I ask for a to go box before eating my meal and put what I am going to bring home. This way I do not over eat. This is what works or me. I control what I put in my mouth. But some times no matter how well you eat etc., numbers can be high or low. Diabetes can drive you crazy. I do have a supportive husband and he does at times cook healthy meals for me. It is great to have a partner on board with what is going on with my health.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2017-07-13 17:41:06 -0500 Report

Hi cmr55! Thanks for checking in. Wow, you have really been through it. I didn't realize your vision had been initially affected to that extent. All the more incentive to take good care of yourself, as you said so well. I think that "control freak" can be in the eye of the beholder. If you know exactly what you need to do to manage your diabetes, and follow that plan to the letter, then that's not being a control freak. It is being wisely adherent. That restaurant routine sounds like a good one. I do something similar to keep from overeating when the portions look big. But I also know what you mean, I hear a lot of stories here and from my clients about doing everything right and still getting some disappointing numbers at times. Glad to hear you have such a supportive husband, that's a blessing for sure.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2017-07-12 19:57:28 -0500 Report

Dr. Gary, the only thing I control is myself. I watch what I eat. I don't care what anyone else eats. I do not talk about being diabetic as many diabetics do. I have no anxiety because I am limited with what I can or cannot eat.

I think the world would be a better place if people stopped trying to control what others around them are doing. I don't think people realize that when they become diabetic, and stop buying snacks other family members enjoy that they will go out and buy them and eat them before returning home. You cannot shame or force people to exercise, eat healthy or watch everything they do because that is what you choose to do.

Control yourself and leave everyone else alone. Stop stressing out over things you cannot control.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2017-07-13 17:36:42 -0500 Report

Hi Joyce, I thought I might hear from you on this one. I totally agree, we can only control our own actions, and that means taking responsibility. And we sure can't control others. Watching other people not take care of themselves is one of the hardest things to deal with, especially our own friends and family members. You're right, we can't force them, even if we are concerned about where their health behaviors might lead them. And yes, if we stopped trying to control others, as well as having expectations for how other people should behave, we would all have a lot less stress.

Type1Lou 2017-07-12 18:04:19 -0500 Report

I am serious about controlling my diabetes but don't believe I'm a "control freak". Others may challenge that opinion, but that is their problem. I follow a low-carb diet but do not expect others around me to restrict their diets because of me. I test my BG's 8 times a day because that is what I need to do to maintain good control and keep my A1c in the 6's. Some might find that excessive but it works for me. I make no apologies for what I eat or what I don't eat and if a host is offended because I won't try a particular dish, let them be offended; it is not their health that is at risk. Diabetes is mine and my responsibility to control but with the knowledge and technology available to us today, it need not control us. By making the right decisions and using the right tools and with proper medical support, we can live well with our condition. Life is good!

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2017-07-13 17:31:30 -0500 Report

Hey Lou! There's a line between staying in charge and being a total control freak, I agree. Very well said! Control begins and ends with ourselves, we all would have a lot less stress in our lives if we recognized that. And I agree, there are a lot of tools out there to support you in your efforts to take charge where you can. I think we start to cross over into control freak when we obsess about controlling aspects of life that are outside of our control, or try to control others.

haoleboy 2017-07-12 14:26:25 -0500 Report

the only thing I can control is myself.
everyone else is on their own

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2017-07-13 17:26:36 -0500 Report

Good point, Steve! Control begins and ends with what we can control in our own lives. Think of how much less stress most people would feel if they gave up on trying to control others.

haoleboy 2017-07-13 17:33:51 -0500 Report

back in my working life, I was a bit of a control freak … having a stroke sorta changed my outlook

msann 2017-07-12 11:27:40 -0500 Report

no i am not control freak but i am responsible for what i put in my mouth i am accountable to me i dont go on to thers a lot about diabetes because sometimes that make bad problems with others just take care of youyrself

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2017-07-13 17:25:42 -0500 Report

Hi msann, responsibility is a good word here. As you said so well, it's up to you to manage your diabetes. Sounds like you at taking good care of yourself.

Nani914 2017-07-12 09:57:54 -0500 Report

Recently diagnosed April 2017, it has gotten better for me and my family. In the present time, I've taken better control of my condition. These pas few months have been my trial period. I take it day by day but I'm ready for the challenges ahead. It's going to be a learning process! :)

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2017-07-13 17:24:32 -0500 Report

Hi Nani! Glad to hear things are getting better for you and your family. Sounds like you have figured out a way to manage your diabetes better. A learning curve for everybody when they are first diagnosed, a road taken one step at a time.

BB42 2017-07-12 07:25:41 -0500 Report

Interesting topic and very interesting article. Diabetes is always on my mind, especially when we go out to eat with friends. I've gotten a lot better about worrying about my Type 2 but I still don't feel that I am in control. There are days when my numbers go up for no apparent reason. I have stopped asking myself "why?" but I rarely feel as if I am in total control

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2017-07-13 17:21:04 -0500 Report

Hey BB42, thanks, glad you liked the article. I can understand why your diabetes would be top of mind when you go out, as well as pretty any time when food is involved. It kind of becomes second nature to do that. I can understand your frustration when you do everything you need to do and your numbers still aren't what you predicted.

Luis65 2017-07-12 05:53:04 -0500 Report

Being T2D is alway in my mind. Mostly it is in the background, like Musak, but at meal times and med times it is right out there. My family, thankfully has come to accept that I don't eat "real food," and is actually very supportive. Others, especially at church events, think I am overboard because I won't eat even one donut after services. They too have come to accept "I yam who I yam!" The ones who are the worst are other diabetics who wish to be "normal" and just take their meds and eat whatever they want.

So it depends on point of view. Some would say I am a tight ar*ed control freak others admire me for taking it seriously.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2017-07-12 16:36:33 -0500 Report

Hey Luis, nice to see you. I like that comparison to Muzak, just kind of hovering in the background, in your sphere of awareness. Glad to hear you have a supportive family, that helps a lot, especially in relation to food. Good for you for staying on the path and avoiding those donuts. I am also concerned about diabetics who rely on the medication and think they can eat what they want, I have had a few of them in my family and among friends. I would definitely place you in the taking it seriously camp. :))

cynicl12000 2017-07-11 22:43:55 -0500 Report

For me, and as someone relatively new to diabetes (dxd October 2016), I think it varies slightly from day to day, and even from reading to reading. My control focus tends to be more specific to my disease than to that which occurs around me.

Family outings and social plans take a back seat to exercise, and I won't go out with people to a bar or certain restaurants (sushi, spaghetti factory, and the like), but I don't find myself trying to control much aside from activity, diet, and meds beyond what I did prior to diagnosis.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2017-07-12 16:33:41 -0500 Report

Hey cynic! It's great to meet you. I am glad you checked in. You make an interesting point about varying from reading to reading. I can understand how an out of range reading might, in turn, push your control button. And it sounds like you some boundaries in place to help yourself eat a diabetic-healthy diet. Sounds like you are staying focused on taking good care of yourself. Thanks for checking in!