Diabetes Support - Diabetes Denial

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06-09-2010, 11:27 AM
There is a psychological phenomena I've read about called diabetes denial.

Folks who don't accept and deal with the diagnosis appropriately.
They keep eating sugar and other junk and tell themselves nothing bad will happen.
Ten years later, when they start having problems, they are totally shocked.

I know because I am one of these deniers. Anyone else have this problem?

06-09-2010, 11:35 AM
Well, I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes and pcos via the route of insulin resistance. My grandpa died of diabetes and I have a sugar addiction. I would easily give up all real foods forever if I could eat chocolate forever. But do I have diabetes now after birth? I am very wishy washy. I kinda have diabetes? I'm overweight subjecting me to it but... I really have no idea what to say. I am trying to eat better but I know one day I'm gonna eat sugar again. Or is the natural kind I AM eating too much? I tihnk I am sticking my head in the sand a little bit. That and I get hypoglycemic and despise that 3 hour test!

06-09-2010, 12:25 PM
I've been in denial about insulin resistance for the past 30 years... through PCOS and trying to get pregnant... gestational diabetes, etc.

But when it came down to an actual diagnosis of pre-Diabetes... that scared me a LOT! Fear can be an amazing motivator!

I think that I would still be in denial if I were diagnosed 15 years ago. But with all the information and the support forums you can find online, I had almost all my questions answered before I even went to the Diabetes class my insurance provided. I had my own meter before I got one through my insurance, and I already had started testing and getting a feel for how my numbers changed due to what I ate.

Just seeing that... having those tangible numbers to show how my BG changed when I ate this or that or after I exercised... made a huge impact on me. Instead of a vague "bad things might happen eventually" idea, I can SEE the direct impact of my behavior on my BG.

So right now, I am no longer in denial. My meter is like bio-feedback -- I can see in front of me what happens inside me. It's not a mystery.

But I was definitely in denial for years about IR and PCOS.

06-09-2010, 03:48 PM
Not in denial about being IR (prediabetic)... but there are times in my life where it gets put on the back burner rather than always being on front.

Slowly signs pop up and it spurs me to action. AN on my elbows getting darker or popping up on my ankle for instance.


06-09-2010, 04:25 PM
people can be in denial about all kinds of things. What we do with any diagnosis is up to us. We can learn about it or we can work with it.
I was in denial about my creeping weight. That turned into pre-diabetes. SO I decided to really do something about the blood sugar issue, and the weight is part of it.
There are very real consequences to our denial, but we can MAKE other people change their behaviours very easily. But I look at my friend BOB, (he of my rant) and think, "if you had only taken more care of your blood sugars years ago, you would not be in this position, you wouldn't be facing amputations and foot ulcers that don't heal, and putting your family through this ****..."
I don't want the people I love thinking that about me. I want to be a healthy partner to my husband, a happy mum for my whole life, and eventually an active and involved grandma, so the carrot for me is bigger and more powerful than any stick.

06-09-2010, 05:23 PM
I tried to ignore it until 6 weeks ago when I realized I was getting higher and higher blood sugars. I had stopped taking Metformin because I ran out and I didn't want to go to the Dr. for another prescription. My bs numbers were over 200 every morning and I finally got scared.

This morning my bs was 109!!! Yeah!

My mother is still a denier and it is hard for me to not get mad at her. She doesn't take care of herself at all and it is like she doesn't care. The food is more important than being around for me, my brother and my kids. The things she is doing that I can't stand are the same or similar to how I used to be and it makes me crazy. I don't want to live like that anymore and that is why I have changed my ways.

06-10-2010, 06:18 PM
i had gestational diabetes an was told more than likely i was diabetic but didnt know it... I had baby 4mths ago and it was confirmed i am diabetic! I didnt take any meds or stop eating sugar until a week ago... Already i have numbness in my right heel an blurry vision when looking at things close up, very scarey :( im hoping that now im doing something about it things will change? ...

06-10-2010, 11:52 PM
*raises hand* I've denied my health problems including diabetes for a long time now. I am getting better but still have trouble with it.

Me Too
06-12-2010, 03:31 PM
I'm in denial about being pre-diabetic for sure. Mostly its the*I'll start tomorrow* syndrome. I eat junk today figuring I'll start tomorrow, then tomorrow comes and I eat junk again.
In the mean time my FBS goes up and up daily. I keep putting on weight and wondering why.

06-13-2010, 04:09 AM
Hello all,

I am for sure guilty! Interesting because I just posted in the PCOS forum about how I was basically in denial... i knew i had it but figured if i didn't think about it, I woulnd't have to deal with it.

I was diagnosed with diabetes (regulated by nutrition so I dont need insulin THANK GOD!) around December of last year. I honestly didn't think anything about it, but I went through a period where I was extremely sick and I started noticing the difference after I would eat certain things and I could tell that my bs would just take a big drop during certain times of the day.

I realized at that point that it is real, and I'm finally ready to do something about it.

I'm hoping that eating better and losing weight will solve these medical 'diagnosis' that I can't seem to shake.

Me Too
06-16-2010, 09:48 AM
What can we do together to confront our denial and move past it, to start taking care of ourselves?
I'm tired of failing before I even star.
I want to move past the denial stage.

06-16-2010, 03:35 PM
I may be the one here in the most denial. Diabetes runs rampant in my family (grandmother, mother, father, 3 brothers, cousin). My oldest brother, an alcoholic, is type 1 and lost his sight because his liquor was more important to him than taking his insulin. The two of us have had it the longest. One brother, not sure of his type, has been on insulin for about 4 years I guess but he doesn't have health insurance and doesn't take it like he is supposed to. The other brother was diagnosed type 2 about 1.5 years ago and has it under control with pills and diet/exercise.

I was diagnosed type 2 almost 20 years ago and put on pills; was under control until the last 3 years or so. Wasn't taking my meds or checking my BS like I should. Not eating right or exercising, except for a brief spell in 2004/2005. On 6-11-10 my FBS was 278 :yikes: and so I've been put on long acting insulin once a day.

Now lets talk about denial. What did I do this weekend - bought a package of oreo cookies and have been eating some every night. Today my FBS was 308 :yikes::yikes:. NOW THAT'S DENIAL.

Food wise, I am doing better today, so far. Don't know what I'm having for lunch yet.

I have to start cooking again. Right now, I eat out for every meal practically every day. I met with the cert. diabetes educator and discussed strategies and am working on a plan to follow the insulin resistance diet. But eating every two hours - oh man.

Not helping the situation is my problem with depression. Also based on stress test results, I'm only supposed to exercise for 5 minutes at a time (but the CDE did say I could do that more than once a day).

But I will prevail over this monster. ONE. DAY/HOUR/CHOICE. AT. A. TIME.


06-16-2010, 09:53 PM
denial is hardly unique to diabetes. If we (as the human race, or even medical professionals) could figure out why people are in denial and how to get them out of denial treatment of and prevention of disease would be SOOO much easier. it stinks but its up to us. My denial was about my weight and my likelihood of becoming diabetic if I didn't get my weight under control. I was able to leave that state when I became "officially" prediabetic. Well actually I started working on the weight earlier, but had setbacks.
Although I am doing reasonably well, I do go off the rails from time to time. But not on a regular basis like I used to do.
I don't know what the key will be for you. Maybe recognizing you don't have to be perfect at diet and exercise and medication control. You just have to do better. Better than bad. Not so very hard if you look at it that way?
in any case, its your choice

06-23-2010, 10:26 AM
GREAT replys, everybody :carrot::carrot::carrot:

As if on cue, there is an article on my CVS/Caremark drug program online.
They put up articles that correlate with the meds each patient is taking.

Lemme know what you think of this -

"After you're first diagnosed with diabetes, it's normal at first to minimize the seriousness of the disease. But if the denial goes on too long and interferes with your self-care, the consequences can be dangerous.

By the time my friend -- we'll call her Tina -- was diagnosed with diabetes at age 52, she should have been well-prepared to deal with her illness. She had been looking after her diabetic mother for more than 20 years, managing her diet, medications, and daily blood tests. She also knew all too well what the disease could do. She had watched as diabetes destroyed her mother's eyesight and caused severe circulatory problems. With all that expertise, you'd think that Tina would have been a model patient.

Instead, Tina kept saying she'd deal with her diabetes when she was ready. The problem was that that day never seemed to arrive. Her only concession to her diabetes was to cut back from drinking two 2-liter bottles of regular Coca-Cola each day to drinking only one. A hundred pounds overweight, Tina made no effort to go on a diet. She tested her blood only once every week or two, and didn't keep her doctor's appointments. Only two years after she was diagnosed with diabetes, she had circulatory problems of her own, including leg swelling so severe that walking was sometimes difficult. Still, she has not made any effort to deal with her illness.

Tina is suffering from denial, a common problem among diabetics and other people with chronic illnesses. "This can't be happening to me," is often someone's first reaction after learning he or she has a serious medical problem. It's not unexpected that a person with a life-altering disease might first rush to minimize its importance. In fact, it's a normal reaction and way of coping when diagnosed with a grave or chronic ailment. But if denial goes on too long and interferes with getting the care you need, it's not just counterproductive: It's dangerous. Diabetics who refuse to acknowledge their illness are likely to develop serious diabetic complications, including circulatory and eye disorders, kidney disease, and heart disease. These problems, in turn, can potentially lead to blindness, amputation, and even death.

For Tina, denial is not just a stage in learning to accept her illness, but an ongoing problem that threatens her very life." Everyone who is diagnosed with diabetes has to go through stages to accept their diagnosis," says Laura Riggi, a certified diabetes educator in New York City. "Fear, anger, and denial are normal reactions to being told that you have diabetes, but you need to work through it in order to take the steps you need to deal with your diabetes." Long-term denial may seem easier than learning to cope with the illness, because with denial you're convinced there isn't anything to cope with -- no need to change your habits and routine."

06-29-2010, 05:27 AM
I'm in denial too... I've been a type 1 diabetic for 7 years and for the last 3, my control has been awful. I truly just feel like I can't be bothered with it and I know that's a terrible attitude to have. I'm lucky in that I have had no complications yet, but I know that if I keep going the way I have been then things will start to turn bad.

Help - what can we do?!

06-29-2010, 08:33 AM
About a year ago I had one FBS of 103 (you need two to be diagnosed with pre-diabetes). That was my wake-up-call. I just decided I would NOT become diabetic, that it was not an option for me. I found that going cold-turkey primal (http://www.marksdailyapple.com/how-to-succeed-with-the-primal-blueprint/) and just limiting myself to proteins and veggies (and whatever natural fats came along with them plus butter, olive and coconut oil) would be the answer. Immediately, my FBS plummeted and now usually comes in around 78 or 79. My a1c is 4.9. I find that I no longer crave the bad stuff (although I certainly could eat it but it is no longer a *siren call* to me. I believe that by cutting out the bad stuff I have cut off the addiction pathways that cause a physical craving in my body. I know I can't go back without re-igniting that addiction. I do not want to fight with my body, I want to care for it.

I know that all sounds goofy, but it's all true. I have taken a hard-line stance with myself and it is *really* not that hard once you get past the craving stage of it all. I like that I can eat as much as I want of the *good* stuff and not feel deprived. I wish I had discovered this way-of-eating years ago. I always wondered how I could lose weight and now I know.

07-01-2010, 06:57 PM
I'm almost crying reading of your stories because about all of them could have been written by me!! Personally, I found serious shame in a diagnosis of T2. It's not like I didn't have plenty of warning that I was going to get it; my diabetic father ate and drank himself to death by age 64, I had gestational diabetes and plenty of time as a "pre-diabetic." So when the time came to go on Metformin about five years ago, I just poo-poo'd all offers of counseling and classes from the health plan and set out to eat myself to death. Just horrible food choices, no testing and of course, no exercise. There's only one person to whom I've ever said the words "I have" and "diabetes" to (my husband), but you'd never know from my previous lifestyle that it was even on my radar. I've had to double my meds to keep my A1C in a somewhat acceptable range. A couple of times, I'd get back on the healthy wagon, only to fall off within a few weeks and redouble my efforts to forget I had a problem.

I have no idea what is motivating me now, but for three months, I've really made an effort to mend my evil ways and one of the great rewards has been morning readings below 120! I almost can't wait for my next annual doctor's visit, can't wait to get on the scale (when has that ever been a pleasure?!) I think that the lack of symptoms is one reason why it's so easy to deny diabetes, the lack of outward signs. I just hated that I was beholden to someone, something for my eating. Damn it, I will not let anything dictate to me what I can or can't eat! It's crazy what things a person needs to hold on to, but that was me.

I don't want to die as young as my dad (jeez, that would be about 10 years from now), or go blind, or be confined to a wheelchair. Although I don't use my condition as much as a motivator as I should, I don't think I'm denying it as much either. That's pretty OK!

Good luck to you all. Your truth telling helps.

07-18-2010, 07:48 PM
I am exactly there right now. I just started really researching and planning a diet and exercise plan. Boy, do I need help. This is going to be rough!

I tried to ignore it until 6 weeks ago when I realized I was getting higher and higher blood sugars. I had stopped taking Metformin because I ran out and I didn't want to go to the Dr. for another prescription. My bs numbers were over 200 every morning and I finally got scared.

This morning my bs was 109!!! Yeah!

My mother is still a denier and it is hard for me to not get mad at her. She doesn't take care of herself at all and it is like she doesn't care. The food is more important than being around for me, my brother and my kids. The things she is doing that I can't stand are the same or similar to how I used to be and it makes me crazy. I don't want to live like that anymore and that is why I have changed my ways.

07-18-2010, 10:15 PM
I was diagnosed a pre diabetic 3 years ago. I was told to loose weight, exercise and watch my diet. I lost the weight and watched my diet and then was still diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I do really well for a while and then kind of fall off of the wagon. Not completely mind you as I do take my medicine (metformin) every day or at least almost daily unless I happen to forget to take my meds. My last hgbA1c was 6.9 and this was the first time my dr asked if I was checking my blood sugars and I told her no. I used the excuse that it was expensive. Up until then she had let me come in every 6 months but this time I was told to come back in 3 and that If my A1c was higher she would need to change my meds. That was almost 3 months ago as my appt is Tuesday. On June the 28th I made another promise to excercise, watch my diet and eat better and check my sugars. I have kept that promise since then. It has not been easy and is a daily struggle for me. I may not have started soon enough but I figure now is better that later. I will accept it if she needs to change my meds but I am sticking with the other things I have changed. This site has been a god send for me especially with my exercise. I feel that when I log in each day that I am accountable to more that just myself. Sorry about the babbling. But maybe this will help someone.......

07-18-2010, 11:21 PM
for some of us, even if we do everything right, we will still get diabetes. Its not necessarily anyone's fault. And once its here, self blame and denial are not helpful. The best we can do is do our best.
I am better at exercise than I used to be, but am not "perfect". I do work hard at the diet, but in the beginning, I had to experiment ALOT to see what spiked my blood sugars and what didn't.
You will find your way, just don't give up and go back into denial.

07-22-2010, 03:47 AM
Hello, everyone!
I suppose you could say I'm a denier, too. I had gestational diabetes with my second child (he is 6 now). I took a FBS reading 2 years ago and it was 99, so I thought it was okay. I was worried about getting type 2, but I think I was so worried about actually having a problem, I just ran away from it and haven't tested again until now.

Last week I had a strange allergic reaction to something. I still haven't figured it out. They put me on Prednisone and told me it could raise my BS. I've been checking it every day, and I don't like what I am seeing. I'm not sure if it is the med, or if I really have a problem. My first FBS was 101, and after supper the first day, it was 194! Wow! Anyway, I adjusted my diet and was able to bring it down, and my FBS today was 95, and that is the lowest it has been (101 being the highest). I will continue checking to see if it gets better now that the meds are done, but the first FBS reading was taken before I started the predisone. Anyway, here I am. I don't want to have diabetes. I saw what it did to my grandfather, and I need to be around for my children.

07-22-2010, 06:33 AM
I'm in denial too. I have been for half of my life now. I am a type 2 diabetic, but my family would never know it. I dont take care of myself. I'm addicted to diet coke and sugar. I dont exercise and have no libido much to my dh's horror. I pretty much hate myself these days. Its in the family too, an aunt and 2 great uncles have/had it. The uncles died from it. I look horrible, I'm now short sighted. No one understands, except for perhaps you girls. I dont want to be like this anymore.

07-22-2010, 07:12 AM
I think about this every time someone posts another "cheat" thread. I'm a nurse and see this all the time.
JL just thought his doc was full of s$!& until we had to remove both his legs.
BS thought ginger ale and just a bit of chocolate wouldn't hurt until we had to remove her toes.
KG let his wife administer his insulin right before he walked to the donut shop. Well, he walked to the donut shop before we cut off his toes.

I often wondered if folks just didn't read. There's certainly enough info out there about diabetes and it's effects. But I guess that in order to read it, you'd have to think it applied to you.

BTW ... I don't see this happening with folks who are type 1. Interesting ...

07-22-2010, 12:19 PM
It took me a while to smarten up. Don't wait as long as I did.

07-22-2010, 12:25 PM
I guess I was in denial for the past 3 years. Up until then I had lost about 70 + lbs and the diabetes was gone. I just lost it the past 3 yrs and gained a lot of the weight back and back came the diabetes with it. I am back on track now. I've decided that nothing I might want to eat is as important as my being healthy. Like someone else said here, once the cravings are gone it is much easier. It just takes a while to get my numbers back down. I know from previous experience that exercise would help that a whole lot.

07-22-2010, 03:23 PM
Susan B, you are right. I know the risk is there for me, and I'm finally ready to accept it. I just hope I haven't done too much damage in the process of my denial. You are right about the type 1 people, too. I have a friend who has it, and he does fine. His dad had it, and it was always just a part of life for him. I feel like my freedom is being taken away. He never had that freedom to begin with.
So far, though, I don't really feel deprived. I'm not starving or anything. I just don't want my parents to find out. Yes, I am an adult, but my dad would go nuts if he found out. I would never hear the end of it. It was his mom and dad who had type 2. His mom died young of a stroke, in her late 50's, and his dad's death was long and painful. I don't want to go that way.

07-22-2010, 07:13 PM
I know the effects too. I think that often it seems like my freedom is being taken away too. For me its finding an eating plan that I can stick to and an exercise plan.

I remember going through a terrible time when I was first diagnosed, telling my mother I'd rather have Chronic Fatigue Syndrom that diabetes, she was shocked, but I still feel that way.

07-22-2010, 10:58 PM
Kathy, I am sorry you are having such a hard time. I am thinking you should see your doc and discuss the problems you are having, and try to get on track. I am sure the doc will want you to see diabetic educators, maybe want you on meds, and maybe include something to help your sadness. It sounds overwhelming for you. I am sure there is a lot of help for you available. It is time.
We are here for you.

07-23-2010, 09:22 AM
It can definitely be a life-changing disease, and it is progressive. Even very tight monitoring and maintenance of blood sugars can sometimes only push back the progression.

That being said, there's a lot you CAN do to control/maintain your disease. And it is YOUR disease, not your doctor's or your father's. Only you can make the decisions and take the actions necessary to lessen the possible side effects.

I learned a great deal from the Blood Sugar 101 site about monitoring and keeping my BG within acceptable limits. I read on two or three diabetes-specific boards to get ideas for food and exercise, and like here, to get support when I'm discouraged, frustrated, or about to give up again.

I think the support aspect of the disease is integral to feeling confident to face and manage it. We're so lucky to have this disease in the era of the Internet. Sure, there's a lot of bad info out there, too! But it is outweighed by the loads of good info, and the thoughtful, supportive people out there who are going or have gone through the same struggles you are, and can help you get through them, too.

07-24-2010, 05:38 PM
Synger! this blood sugar 101 page is wonderful!
Thanks for the tip!

07-24-2010, 07:35 PM
Synger! this blood sugar 101 page is wonderful!
Thanks for the tip!

You're VERY welcome! I hear about it so often on the Diabetes boards that I figured everyone here already knew about it. It's because of that page, and the information on it, that I feel much more in control of my disease. It's not quite so mystifying, and I feel like I can face the changes that will come in time.

07-25-2010, 05:05 AM
I'm going to go see a doctor soon. I need to see him about other stuff anyway, and I know this bloke wont yell at me like other doctors do. This one is more compassionate. I'm hoping that if my bsl are under control, I wont be in so much muscle pain all the time. I have been to diabetes educators previously, and have found in general that some can be compassionate, but on the most part I have found them to be rude and obnoxious, especially their dieticians.

07-25-2010, 09:14 AM
Synger ;) I posted it on facebook ;)

I wish I could print it out and give it to my pateints.

07-25-2010, 11:34 AM
Kathy: are you on metformin? I get terrible leg cramps with it, and thanks to Butterbutt I realized that lower folate levels could be part of the problem, I started taking a B supplement and no more problems! If I forget them for a few days, the cramps come right back, so I am convinced it makes a very big difference. Even my digestive discomfort is better with the b's. Don't hesitate to check in with your doc about it.

07-26-2010, 05:52 AM
No, I've been on metformin several times, and each time I get so much gastric distress I cant function. Another doctor tried me on Avandia (I think) and I got heart palpatations.

I actually have pain in all my muscles, different to cramps, I know about those too, when I try to get off diet coke, I can barely walk from the cramps in my legs. This is muscle pain, in all my large muscles, in my back, neck, arms, hands, legs and feet, all over really.

I've just gotten to thinking lately (I think because we have just started getting the Dr Oz show here) that I'm not the person who in the end will suffer if I dont do something now. Its my darling husband and my darling daughter.

Of course, I think the doctor will try getting me on it again. My bsl's are out of control.

07-29-2010, 09:27 AM
i read everyones replies and was thinking if i were only pre-diabetic again. but i've been a diabetic probably 15 years now. i didn't believe my doctor when he first told me i had diabetes. but at that time i went on a diet and started walking and lost about 45 lbs. i gained it all back and continued to deny diabetes. i have gone through spurts of taking care of myself, but have always gone back to my horrible habits.
the worse thing about my denial is that i'm a nurse. i work peds right now, but i worked rehab for awhile and most of our patients were diabetics. some had amputations and some had strokes. what i saw should have made me a compliant patient. but it didn't.
i got sick 2 weeks ago and was unable to eat much. i got my blood sugar under control and started taking my medicine again. i went to the doctor last week and he put me on novalog, a short acting insulin. i love it. i'm on levimir and have cut my levimir dose in half. and my blood sugars are reallyt good. i told the doctor it was probably a good thing i got sick. it got me back on track.
to those who are prediabetics, you might end up having type 2 in the long run, or you may be lucky. if you do become diabetic, good control can help prevent you from every having the complications of diabetes.
thanks everyone, this is a great thread.