For an Ask Me Anything episode of the Reclaim Your Rise podcast, a listener submitted this question:
“I'm currently struggling with diabetes and my support system. I struggled to communicate my needs in ways that others understand. I feel misunderstood by people that do not have diabetes. Can they ever understand our experience fully?”
Living with diabetes can be a lonely experience, especially when it feels like those around you don't fully understand what you're going through. Here are 3 tips for anyone struggling with this.
1) Think about what you are expecting from your support system.
While it's essential to have a support system, it's important to recognize that those without diabetes may never fully understand what it’s like. I have to say, I personally don't believe that people who do not have diabetes can ever fully understand our experience. And, if we expect our partners, our families, and our friends to really understand how we're feeling, it can leads us to retreat and retreating leads us to feel disconnected from the people around us and make us feel like we can't be our true selves.
On the outside, maybe you present as being “fine,” but inside diabetes is this weight that you're carrying. Maybe you even resent your support squad because you feel like you have to do this alone. But it’s not really their job to fill the void that you’re experiencing…
2) Seek out T1D community.
This is where making connections within the diabetic community can be life-changing. Connecting with others who are going through a similar experience can provide the relatability and empathy that may be lacking elsewhere. It can fill the void that individuals with diabetes are seeking, providing a deeper sense of connection and understanding.
3) Learn to communicate your needs explicitly
Get clear on what you need from the people in your life, how you like to be supported around your diabetes, and work on communicating that. When you're venting about a high blood sugar, do you want solutions? Do you want someone to just listen? Do you want a hug and acknowledgment that this is hard? Being clear about what you need can help those around you understand how to best support you.
There is a powerful and supportive community of T1Ds who understand what you're going through.
The Decide and Conquer Bootcamp is our most impactful program for women with type one diabetes. And so many people leave the program saying the community was a huge piece of their transformation because it allowed them to be vulnerable, to be seen, to be heard. As humans, we need that. We need that deeper connection on struggles that we're going through so that we know we're not in it alone.