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Coping With a New Diabetes Diagnosis

Content by: Sarah Bigbee, RD

A new diagnosis can be a challenge! Use this handout as a guide through all of the emotions that come along with a life changing event.

Coping With a New Diabetes Diagnosis

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Life changes can be a challenge! A new medical diagnosis of diabetes has a significant impact on life choices. It can bring up a lot of feelings such as denial, anger, guilt, sadness, and so many more. It is completely normal to feel overwhelmed and to have negative feelings. The goal of education and coaching is to help you through your feelings associated with life changes and enter a place of acceptance. Coaching can assist in support, encouragement, and helping you make a plan for a healthier future.

😟 Everyone experiences denial.
The shock of a new diagnosis may cause you to question the accuracy of it. Consider next steps, if you find yourself denying your diabetes diagnosis.

Here are a few steps to take:
1. Get a second opinion.
2. Understand the A1c blood test, and what it measures for a health professional making the diagnosis.
3. Talk to other people who have gone through the same experience.
4. Consider entering a local diabetes support group can be a good way to hear about others' experiences in a safe space.


😠 Anger is common!
It is okay to be angry, at least for a period of time. Anger is a signal that you are viscerally comprehending the life changes that will be necessary.

Here are a few steps to take in this phase:
1. Talking through your anger is an excellent way to move past it and get yourself into a more positive mindset.
2. Try reaching out to a loved one or friend who will let you freely express your anger.
3. If you are not comfortable with reaching out to someone close to you, a support group is another excellent place to allow you to communicate your feelings.


😔 Guilt and bargaining.
You may find yourself thinking that you should have made different choices to prevent diabetes. There are many factors that are in play when it comes to a person’s health, so there is no value in assigning blame. Now that you know you have diabetes, you can start making healthier choices to help control your blood sugar.


😔 Depression.
If you are feeling depressed or sad about your new diagnosis, you are not alone. These feelings of sadness are common, especially because it feels like the life you know and many of the ways you seek comfort and enjoyment is completely changing. While it is true that your life is changing, many of the changes are positive. With the proper perspective, you can participate in life with friends, family and colleagues in a way that does not inhibit enjoyment.

However, it’s important to deal with Depression, if you are finding the diagnosis overwhelming.
1. Reach out to your medical team for support if you are feeling hopeless.
2. Begin reading to understand steps for entering a new stage of vibrant, healthy lifestyle.
3. Consider entering a local diabetes support group can be a good way to hear about others' experiences in a safe space.


😄 Acceptance is a time for celebration.
Even in the most difficult times of our lives, the feeling of taking control and addressing challenges makes us feel vibrant. It’s no different for Diabetes. Be confident! You will find that moment that you begin to awaken to the requirements of Diabetes and adopt the steps necessary for change in your life.


Your coach and medical team is here to help you as you move through these different feelings! Reaching out and being honest about your feelings is the best way to become an active member in your recovery and management of diabetes. Through diet and lifestyle changes you can take charge of your blood sugar and live a happier healthier life.

Quick Tips!

1️⃣ There are excellent sources for learning about diabetes.

2️⃣ Look for a support group and find role models.

3️⃣ Read and learn as much as you can about the diagnosis.

Next Steps:

⬇️ Learn how to plan your meals and make choices throughout the day.

⏭️ Find tools to help you, such as a food diary, a meal planner and recipes (there are many great Apps).

🔢 Learn to track your numbers.

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