Jeanette Terry addresses the day-to-day struggles of living with diabetes to help improve overall adherence and management.

In the age of electronics, we spend more and more time staring at screens instead of each other. It can be easy to lose face-to-face communication with people and groups that in the past would have provided good emotional outlets and a strong support system. That loss can take a toll on your diabetes management and mental well-being.

It’s not like we’re isolated. There are still lots of diabetes support groups where you can bond and get support from peers. But most of these groups are now online or use technology as a means of communication instead of meeting face to face. That can be an important and convenient tool to help with daily diabetes control, but it’s no substitute for in-person human contact—especially when it comes to contact with the family members and friends who are closest to you. If you aren’t able to regularly communicate face to face with them about your challenges, struggles, and feelings, you will be in a world of trouble.

These days, it seems there is much less time to sit down and just talk with friends and family about issues in our lives. We follow events in the lives of others on social media and via text, but when there is something bothering you, that kind of communication just doesn’t cut it. If you are struggling with diabetes control, you need to have face time with the people who care about you most, so they can help. Don’t just vent your frustration on some social media platform and expect to feel better. I am not saying that advice from an online support group or social media can’t be helpful, but it only goes so far. When you need to crack down and actually apply the advice, it helps to have someone who will look you in the eye and hold you accountable.

Even if we have online support, many people with diabetes say that the disease leaves us feeling alone. More contact and communication with our loved ones can help with that. Everyone needs to feel connected to others and understood. Maybe our family and friends who don’t have diabetes can’t completely understand what it’s like, but we can still count on them to share our emotional burden.

Life is busy. But if your family is too busy to sit and listen and give you their time and attention, it’s time to tell them what you need and make a change. You shouldn’t have to go through this alone.
Chances are you will also find that you can have better diabetes control if you educate those around you about diabetes. Teach them what they can do to help you in your daily care and what to do if you aren’t able to help yourself. Don’t assume that they know such things. Also tell them that some days are just going to be hard—both physically and emotionally. Explain that on those days you may need a little bit of slack.

Helping your loved ones to understand your situation and needs will enable them to help you through difficult times. Don’t make your diabetes care a one-person show. Diabetes is much better played as a team sport.

Have you told your friends and loved ones something that helped them to better understand diabetes and support you? Share your experience by commenting below.