Diabetes and Self-Pity

If you have diabetes and never feel sorry for yourself, you are amazing. The rest of us battle self-pity now and then during our journey. We need ways to cope during those down times.

Some days having diabetes is not hard. Your blood sugar is doing well. Nothing aches. Walking through stores and doing housework take little effort. The weather is nice. You feel good because you have done some exercise and eaten healthy.


Those are the good days. But there are other times when blood sugars are going crazy. Maybe you ate too many carbs the day before, or you are dealing with stresses at home or work.

Maybe you woke up from a sound sleep with pain in your leg from focal neuropathy. This is the lightning pain that strikes a single nerve, often in your leg or foot, or perhaps on one side of your chest, back, or face. This kind of pain hits suddenly and goes away very slowly. It may take days or weeks to disappear.

Aging with diabetes can also surprise you with other diabetes complications, such as gastroparesis, delayed stomach emptying that can cause symptoms such as pain in the abdomen, nausea, and bloating.

When these or other health issues arise, it is hard not to feel self-pity. At times the battle with diabetes complications does not go well, making it easy to get tunnel vision. It is hard to see past your own pain and fear.

At other times the daily grind of diabetes chores wears you down. We all get tired of doctor visits, blood tests, blood sugar monitoring, and remembering to take medications. We rebel against the rules we live under.

Whenever this happens to you, stop and take a step back. Self-pity is shrinking your world down to yourself. The quickest way out is to widen your vision.

My medication for self-pity is to remind myself of what others are going through. My nephew lives with blinding migraines most days, and since doctors don’t yet know what causes migraines, he is on experimental drugs.

A great-niece has severe seizures for which there is no cure. The strong medications that keep her alive have dangerous side effects. We do not know how long she will live.

One sister lost some fingers from the complications of severe diabetic neuropathy. Another sister has battled cancer. Two nieces lost babies.

If you look, you will find stories that put your own problems in perspective. I have never found anyone whose life is free from pain. The idea that others are not suffering is always mistaken.

Once you have opened your eyes to the burdens of others, it becomes easier to see why you are here. Your issues increase your compassion and empathy. Your experiences show you how to help meet the challenges of someone else’s journey.

As you are encouraged, you know how to encourage. This is a valuable gift. Never doubt it. And you know what? While you are focused on helping someone else, you may find that your self-pity is gone.

New screening recommendations for Type 2 diabetes are causing controversy. Bookmark DiabetesSelfManagement.com and tune in tomorrow to learn more from nurse David Spero.