Emotional wellbeing

If you’ve recently been diagnosed with diabetes, this may be an overwhelming time for you. You’ll have many questions about your condition and what effect this will have on your life.

Dealing with your diagnosis, managing it and making changes to your lifestyle can be a challenge. But over time, you’ll find yourself adjusting to this new way of life, and you’ll notice just how much more confident you’ve become in your ability to cope with the demands that diabetes can throw at you.

Dealing with your diagnosis

One of the most difficult things to come to terms with is the fact that diabetes is a life-long condition. It’s completely natural to feel low after your diagnosis and just as normal to feel this way when you’ve lived with diabetes for a while. In fact, the link between diabetes and depression is widely recognised.

Everyone is different, and so how you and your family cope with your diagnosis will vary. There’s no right or wrong way to react – you could find that coping with diabetes has very little impact on your routine; or it might feel like your whole life has been turned upside down.

Controlling and managing diabetes can be a challenge for anybody living with the condition – but remember, you’re never alone.

Help from your healthcare team

We’re often told about the physical impact of diabetes, but the effect it can have on you emotionally is not always talked about. The devastation of your diagnosis, the fear of developing complications, the uncertainty when you start treatment – all of this can be completely overwhelming.

Taking the following steps with your healthcare team will help you regain control:

  • Open up: be honest about your health and how you are really feeling.
  • Get to grips: access the information you need and managing your diabetes will automatically become easier.
  • Recognise your role: understand your new responsibilities and the part you play in managing your diabetes.
  • Set goals: put your agreed care plan into practice.
  • Keep check: attend all essential diabetes check-ups and make sure your examine your feet regularly between reviews.

Your healthcare team is on hand to guide you through. They will give you the emotional support you need, reassure you on how best to manage your condition, and will help build your confidence in coping with diabetes.

Seeking further support

People respond in different ways to being diagnosed with diabetes – some to the extent that they feel like hiding it from everyone.

During difficult times, it’s really easy to cut yourself off from other people. Diabetes can make you feel isolated and alone, but having loved ones around you will help. You may feel embarrassed and unsure about how they will react, but letting people know how you’re feeling can help you to get more support and understanding.

  • Asking someone to go with you to your healthcare team appointment can really put your mind at rest.
  • If you live alone, telling your neighbours about your diabetes may make you feel safer, especially if you are older or at risk of having hypos. A simple explanation to your housemate may help their understanding, too.
  • You can also get a lot of support and encouragement from other people with diabetes – Diabetes UK's Local Groups and Type 1 Events give you the chance to hear how others cope in similar situations.
  • Diabetes UK’s confidential Helpline is staffed by trained counsellors who have extensive knowledge of diabetes. They can provide information about the condition, take time to talk things through and explore emotional, social, psychological or practical difficulties.

Alternatively, you may want to take professional support further, and choose to speak to a counsellor face-to-face. Your GP may be able to help as many general practices have counselling services attached to them, or they may be able to refer you elsewhere.

You can also look for a counsellor privately; Counselling Directory is particularly useful for voluntary sector organisations offering free or low-cost counselling, and private group practices.