When you are faced with a disabling illness, it can take you by surprise as it’s not something most of us anticipate and may affect you in various ways.
Coupled with being diagnosed with diabetes, this can hugely affect your day-to-day living and even cause you to feel defeated. For some, accepting and making adjustments to this new reality may be difficult, however, it is possible. The moment you can accept these changes, the easier it will be to cope and adapt and avoid being too overwhelmed.
It’s important that you take care of yourself daily when you’re living with both a disability and diabetes. It may be overwhelming, especially when you have made the decision to change your lifestyle as this may require making certain adjustments to your daily routine – you may even have to change your living arrangements. Speak to your doctor about getting in touch with an occupational therapist. If you cannot cope in the beginning or can’t afford an occupational therapist, seek assistance from the community of other disabled people, particularly if they have the same conditions as you do. To prevent long-term complications, make sure you keep your blood glucose level near your target range. It may also help you feel good as you’ll feel more energetic and awake, making it possible to do daily chores. A healthy diet, an active lifestyle and taking prescribed medication daily can help you achieve this.
Knowledge is key
Almost all aspects of diabetes management and care and living with a disability involve a certain level of knowledge. Being active requires knowledge about what’s safe for you to do and how to do it, so that you prevent physical over-exertion; monitoring your blood glucose level requires you to know and understand how to use your meter device and how to determine your readings; medical treatment requires you to know what dosage to take daily and how often; diet planning requires knowledge of nutrition. Getting the necessary knowledge will not only help you cope better but will make your daily living a little easier as this will assist you in getting into a routine, as you won’t have to stop and think about every step in your daily life.
Set realistic goals
Approaching life while living with both diabetes and disability may be challenging at times but never see it as making an effort otherwise you may not achieve your goals – whether it’s doing certain things on your own or making sure that you take your medication. Having diabetes requires a lot of attention and time, especially if you want to remain healthy. Understand that taking care of yourself may feel challenging at times, but if you learn certain techniques as tools to better cope with your disability in order to do your daily tasks or learning how to find better ways to manage diabetes, reaching your goals may be more attainable than you think. Accept that you may have bad days, where you feel down, learn how to approach those emotions if and when they do arise. For example, have a close friend on speed dial should you feel as if you aren’t coping.
Give yourself a break
Understandably, being disabled was not a choice. However, learning how to cope and live with a disability is. Beating yourself about living with both a disability and diabetes will not help improve your lifestyle, so don’t compare yourself to others and don’t be hard on yourself. You are doing your best, and that’s all that matters. Progress is gradual, so be patient and build on that.