What is diabetes distress?

Have you ever had that feeling of “failing” at managing your diabetes? Felt your heart sink when your monitor or HbA1c results don’t line up with what your diabetes team want you to get? Do you feel anxious when you think about seeing your healthcare team? Are you frustrated with the endless finger sticks, injections, tablets, counting carbs, visits to the doctor, blood tests…?

Living with diabetes isn’t easy and these can be the symptoms of diabetes distress or diabetes burnout. Diabetes distress becomes a serious problem when these feelings or emotions start to impact on your daily life, relationships, work and your diabetes management.

It’s important to recognise the signs of diabetes distress and to ask for help. If you are experiencing diabetes distress, here are a few things you can do:

  • Talk to your GP or Diabetes Educator about your experiences and what you can do to manage them
  • Speak with someone who will listen and offer support, whether that be your family, friends or other people living with diabetes
  • Find out if there is a technology you can access that will make managing your diabetes a bit easier
  • Speak to a psychologist (you can access a local professional through your GP)
  • Reassess your goals – make sure they’re realistic and you’re not setting yourself up to fail
  • While you can’t stop self-care altogether, have a chat with your healthcare team and work out how you can spend a bit less time on your diabetes, even if it’s only for a couple of weeks
  • Remember that all the tests are not for you to pass or fail; it’s information to help you manage your diabetes

Diabetes can be tricky and there will always be times that are challenging. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, your healthcare team are here to support you.

For more information click here for the NDSS diabetes distress factsheet or call the NDSS Helpline on 1300 136 588 and speak to our team of health care professionals.

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