5 Ways to Deal With the Anxiety of Type 1 Diabetes


by Courtney Ann Naicker

Pricking, correcting, testing, carb counting, changing needles, changing sites – these are a few thoughts that race within the mind of a diabetic. When you constantly have to accelerate your thinking regarding the well-being of your future self, it is easy to feel a little overwhelmed and experience a great deal of anxiety.

If this is you, I want to encourage you. This is normal behaviour and you are not alone. It is dreadfully common for anxiety to accompany a newly diagnosed disease. If you are like me and are 13 years in, anxiety doesn’t entirely fade away.

What makes matters worse, is that anxiety affects the diabetics’ glucose levels. When anxiety is high, you can be sure that your blood glucose is going to follow suit. Some diabetics see their glucose levels rapidly decline. Acknowledging anxiety is the first step you have to take to overcome and conquer it. The good news is that how we cope with anxiety after we recognise it, depends entirely on us. There are numerous ways you could deal with anxiety, here are 5 of them.

1. Stay Positive

“What is the difference between an obstacle and an opportunity? Our attitude toward it. Every opportunity has a difficulty, and every difficulty has an opportunity.” – J. Sidlow Baxter

This quote best describes the difference between an obstacle and an opportunity. A negative attitude gets you nowhere and would leave you miserable with low levels of energy. Staying positive is vital to live a fulfilling life. You cannot expect to live a positive life if you continue having a negative attitude.

woman relaxing

2. Find time to rest

In this fast paced life that we lead, it is important not to neglect time for relaxing.

We often get carried away, and commonly have the misconception that relaxation is a luxury. In fact, it is the opposite, it is a necessity. Leaving little to no time to unwind and rest will leave you burnt out and it generously contributes to anxiety. When you make time to switch off from this world, it has the same effects as charging your dead phone. Think about it, as soon as we see the red battery icon on our smartphones, we are sprinting to the wall plugs. In the same way, when our body tells us it is time to slow down, we best be taking action to recharge. This will not only help with renewed energy levels, but it is also a coping mechanism for anxiety and a fantastic way to increase motivation.

3. Exercise

Research shows that exercise releases feel-good endorphins, this helps ease away anxiety and depression. It not only improves your mood, it assists in regulating blood sugar levels and has plenty of overall health benefits. All these advantages can be yours with something as simple as a casual stroll.

4. Find a support group

Sometimes the pride within our human tendencies convinces us that we can do it on our own. The truth is we fumble and struggle along when we can have people who are available and willing to help hold us up when life gets overwhelming.

Finding a support group may help you realise that you are not in this alone. There are a great deal of people going through the same thing as you. When we come together and talk about it can elevate our spirits. Listening to people that came out on the other side stronger, can give your confidence a boost and resuscitate your hope and will to keep going.

5. Accept that you can’t control everything

This one might appear easy, but unless we cover and conquer the first point, we cannot really deal with this one. When you accept the fact that there are things that are in your control and there are things that are not, life will get much less stressful.

There are days when life tends to knock you around, it does not imply that you are losing your dominance or control. Sometimes it just requires you to stop and realise that you cannot control everything. As long as we take steps to manage what we can, we can rest in the thought that we did all we could. This creates a sense of peace and will help us decrease stress levels.

“You can’t control everything. Sometimes you just need to relax and have faith that things will work out. Let go a little and just let life happen.” ― Kody Keplinger