Sometimes denial serves a purpose. It is a way of coping with bad news. It can keep you from getting overwhelmed and depressed. It lets you accept news little by little, when you are ready.
But denial can return later on because it seems easier. Denying that your diabetes is serious lets you avoid self-care. It shields you from the fact that diabetes is a lifelong, chronic illness, which, if left untreated, can result in complications. Denial also lets your family and friends pretend that “nothing is wrong.”
Doctors who do not specialize in diabetes care may fuel your denial. They may talk about a “mild” case of diabetes or say there is “just a touch of sugar” in your blood. Though well-meaning, these terms send the wrong message. What you hear is “Don’t worry. Your diabetes is not serious enough to hurt you.”
Denial has a few catch phrases. If you hear yourself thinking or saying them, you are avoiding some part of your diabetes care.
- One bite won’t hurt.
- This sore will heal by itself.
- I’ll go to the doctor later.
- I don’t have time to do it.
- My diabetes isn’t serious.
- I only have to take a pill, not shots.
Because denial can creep into any aspect of diabetes self-care, it can be dangerous. Any denial sabotages your health care.
It can be a bother to check your blood glucose regularly. You may decide you “know” what your blood glucose is by how you feel. But a meter is a much better measure of blood glucose than feelings are.