Friends and family

vivian_terri-1.JPGIt’s not just us…our family has feelings too

Our parents and other family members can also get emotional about our diabetes, just like us. Seeing our parents get upset can be hard. Diabetes is not our parents’ fault but just as we feel upset from time to time, it’s only natural for our parents to feel that way too.

When parents or other family members are worried, it may appear in strange ways. For example, a parent may get angry at a doctor. Or our mum or dad may constantly ask how we feel, or whether we’re eating right, or whether we’ve taken our medication. It is extremely important, at this time, that we understand that they are doing this because they love us a lot and are only trying to help us in whichever way they can.

If their concern bothers us, it is a good idea to sit down calmly and explain to them openly on how you feel and find a good solution to deal with everybody’s feelings. Actually everyone in our family also wants know make sure we are feeling okay —all this attention can be annoying sometimes, especially when we want to be treated as a normal people at this time. If we’re close to the person, we may be able to talk to him or her about how we feel. If not, we may just have to let it go and realise that our relative is just trying to show concern; even if it’s done clumsily, it is still an expression of caring.

We may also envy a brother or sister who doesn’t have diabetes, but instead, our sibling may feel envious of us because of the extra attention we’re getting. Again, it is much better to talk about this openly — and to recognise that our sibling’s feelings may show in strange ways, such as anger at us.

Sometimes family counselling or joining a family support group helps families work through the emotional ups and downs of dealing with diabetes.

What about our friends? Friends are for sharing and caring!

It is up to us whether we tell our friends or classmates about our diabetes. For some of us, sharing with our friends can help us feel less embarrassed. For example we don’t have to worry when we have to check blood sugar levels or wear an insulin pump.

If we do decide to tell our friends, we must also be prepared for them to ask questions about what having diabetes means and how it makes us feel. Some of their questions may seem silly or funny to us. But ultimately, friends who know about our health problem can be a source of support to us, while we deal with our feelings about diabetes. Having friends who are willing to listen when we’re depressed, angry, and frustrated — even if they don’t have diabetes themselves — can definitely help us feel better.

It is definitely wise to be aware of how friends and family feel, but our first priority is dealing with our own emotions.

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