Diabetic guilt - how do you cope with it?

By cynicl12000 Latest Reply 2017-07-27 17:13:19 -0500
Started 2017-07-11 23:24:59 -0500

When my C-peptide and auto-antibody tests results came in, my endo said that despite his initial thoughts, I was not LADA, but type 2. He said this was good news, because the condition might be able to be put into remission.

It didn't really come as a relief to me, though. The way I looked at it, if it was LADA, it meant it wasn't my fault. I feel a lot of guilt and responsibility for the fact that I have type 2, and keep thinking "Maybe if I'd just done X differently…"

I feel terrible every time I go grocery shopping, or go to a family member's house for a meal. Birthdays, Christmas, Thanksgiving all have a very different meaning to me this last year.

I have been very good at sticking to my diet and exercise regimen, but I feel terrible at how it's affected my girlfriend's day to day life, and how it makes her feel if she eats something that's off the menu for me.

I'm sure that I am not alone in these feelings, what strategies do you use when you feel this way?

10 replies

MrsCDogg 2017-07-27 17:13:19 -0500 Report

How do I cope with the guilt? I have no guilt. It was not my fault that I was born to a mother who along with 3 of her 7 siblings were all diabetic. I and 3 of my cousins are all diabetic. It was inevitable that I would be diagnosed. I'm glad it came at a time in history when there are lots of ways to help people like me. I also have CHF and stage 4 kidney disease and will soon have to go on dialysis.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2017-07-24 19:45:34 -0500 Report

Hey cynic,

Nice to see you again. Congratulations on taking good care of yourself. That's really excellent. And I am sure the people who care about you also appreciate that you are taking good care of yourself.

It may take some time for your loved ones to adjust to your new diet, just as it has taken time for you to adjust. Over time, everybody comes to a new normal. What's important is for you to stay on the path. It can help to let other people know that it's okay for the to eat what they want. But consider this: If people are eating a little healthier because of you, that's not such a bad thing.

Here's a link to an article I wrote on guilt awhile back:


And here's one on educating your loved ones:


Keep us posted on how you're dong!


Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2017-07-20 22:09:51 -0500 Report

Feeling guilty is a choice you made. If your girlfriend is affected by eating something that you can't have, could be your fault. How do you react when she eats something that you feel you can't have?

You have turned food into the enemy. It isn't the food in and of itself. It is how much control and discipline you have when you eat something. I have never felt guilty for the simple reason that I can't go back and change the past. You can't live with "what if" it will destroy you.

I really don't care what people around me are eating nor do I care if it is healthy. I have absolutely no control over that. I have no problems going to dinner with the family or anyone else. I know what I can eat. If i want what I know I should not have, I eat a forkfull and move on.

You cannot live the rest of your life feeling guilty about being diabetic. You have to accept the fact that you have to make a lifestyle change and move forward. I had my gall bladder removed last December. I had to change my meal plan. No Dairy or high fat foods. Low fat no sugar added is nasty but I deal with it. No cheese on my burger. I can't have one piece of fried chicken which was my once a month treat. I am dying from the lack of Bacon or sausage with my eggs. I hate Turkey Bacon and Turkey Sausage is good with added sage.

It is all about making changes that you need to make to live as healthy as possible as a diabetic. Dr Gary wrote an article that is posted on this site. Read it and the responses.

suecsdy 2017-07-15 13:02:04 -0500 Report

It's still not your fault. Yes you probably made some poor lifestyle choices, but so did we all. And so do many non-diabetics. so why did it happen to us? Who knows/ And if we did know would it make a difference? No, you'd still have diabetes. and that's the important part. So treat the diabetes. Take control. I've never really been a what if person, because that's pointless. I'm a what now? person. The food issue is a big one though. My guilt comes for eating. I'm overweight, so I shouldn't eat, right? And then if I actually enjoy it, Double Whammy with the guilt. I know it's not rational, but guilt often isn't. earlier this year, I was angry and chaffing at my diabetic restrictions, obsessing about non-existing weight loss and a few other life events. Now I'm on an antidepressant and my attitude is much more mellow. I. Just. Don't. Care. LOL

Katzgar 2017-07-13 06:24:47 -0500 Report

its not a black or white event. much depends on your level of control. The better your control the less rigorous your discipline need be. your testing being the final arbiter. guilt over reality is pointless.

cynicl12000 2017-07-16 00:51:42 -0500 Report

Thanks for your response, katzgar, and while I can agree with some of what you've said, I'm afraid I'll have to respectfully disagree with the part of your comment where you state, "The better your control, the less rigorous your discipline has to be."

My 1st A1C (10/2016) was 13.4, my 2nd (1/2017) was 5.5, and my 3rd (4/2017) was 5.1. My postprandial glucose these days is usually <140. All of this "control" is, quite simply, BECAUSE of rigorous discipline.

haoleboy 2017-07-12 14:24:54 -0500 Report

I work really hard to eliminate guilt from my life.
one of the greatest gifts is forgiveness … for others as well as ourselves

☮ Steve

Nick1962 2017-07-12 09:32:08 -0500 Report

We can play the “what if” game with every aspect of our lives. The problem is, even if we could go back and undo those things that negatively impact us today, there is no guarantee we wouldn’t be causing yet another future negative aspect in the process. Life is perfectly imperfect and we will all suffer from something at some point. It took a while, but after I was diagnosed, and took a good look at myself and those around me, I feel lucky all I ended up with to this point is a little diabetes.

As for that guilt at the grocery store, that’s a good thing, but it’s not really guilt, it’s discipline.

There are many foods some of us don’t like or simply can’t have. I’m terribly allergic to strawberries. Some more sensitive people feel guilty I can’t eat things they make. They feel like they’ve slighted me somehow. I work in an office where each one of my 12 coworkers has some allergy or preference. Bottom line is we all eat differently for a variety of reasons. Reasons we’re not expected to apologize or make excuses for (or feel guilty about). That’s just us being human. I mean, would you feel guilty about your hair color?

Type1Lou 2017-07-12 08:37:53 -0500 Report

Stop fretting about "What might have been"…and start dealing about "What is". There's no benefit to looking back about what you might or might not have done. It only increases your stress and anxiety about your condition. The most important thing is to now learn about what you can do to change some lifestyle habits that will give you a better diabetes outcome and determine to make those changes…as a Type 2, that may mean remission/or not. As a Type 1, I have had to change some lifestyle habits to better manage my blood sugars. I'm determined to do the best I can…that's all I can do!

Luis65 2017-07-12 05:43:52 -0500 Report

Welcome to DC. I hope to encourage you to turn the energy of beating yourself up in guilt and shame into action. The root causes of T2D are not well understood. It has long been understood that there is a genetic predisposition to developing diabetes as well as a gender link. The 4 Fs, family, fat, forty and female were markers for being at risk.

Family and gender are both evidence of the role of genetics. This also plays a role in the high number of T2D in African American, Hispanics and Native Americans.

Being obese in my opinion is not a root cause of T2D but is a symptom. It does play a role in insulin resistance where the insulin produced becomes less effective. This is a vicious cycle since the excess insulin they causes more fuel to be stored as fat.

By following a diet that restricts carbohydrates which we do not process correctly, and exercise we can become more insulin sensitive. This can lead to remission, but the underlying root causes are still present.

There is nothing we can do about our genetics but we can as Steve always reminds us to "eat as thought our lives depend on it."

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