Although there are A LOT of recipes out there to help people with diabetes make it through the holidays, there isn’t a lot of recognition given to the emotional struggles of the holidays for people with diabetes.
Below are some of the emotional struggles you may have experienced this year:
CHAOS of the HOLIDAYS. For example, there’s not much thought or recognition given to the fact that, as people with diabetes, we still have to carefully schedule and plan meals, insulin administration, blood sugar checks, exercise, in addition to all of the chaos of holiday shopping, celebrating, and cooking. This chaos is hard enough for a person who doesn’t have diabetes! So, we can be left feeling overwhelmed and worn out before the holidays even arrive!
BEING DIFFERENT. Then there’s the whole idea that while our “nondiabetic” friends can eat, drink, and be merry during the holidays, we (people with diabetes) have to be strategic about what we eat and drink and consider the consequences to our blood sugar. Everyone else is raising their glass for yet another toast and you are wondering why you can't just enjoy the overindulgence like everyone else! This can generate feelings of anger, sadness, or frustration.
DEALING WITH THE DIABETES POLICE. Being around relatives means lots more questions and intrusiveness. As the person with diabetes, we’re often asked random questions by well-meaning relatives who haven’t seen us in a year such as, “How’s your diabetes? Or Do you have your diabetes under control? Or “Should you be eating that?” These interactions can leave us feeling like a failure in our diabetes management or feeling alone because no one in our family understands what life is really like for us.
FEELING DEPRIVED. Seeing all of your friends partake in all of the tasty desserts and high-carb foods without even a second thought can wear you down, especially when I feels like you have to think about every morsel of food that goes in your mouth and can only partake in small portion of the foods. When the holidays are over, you may feel like hiding the closet with a bowl of cake batter, a whole pecan pie, or a huge bowl of mashed potatoes and gravy. That’s completely normal! Feelings of deprivation often lead to a desire to overcompensate.
Any/all of these feelings are completely normal. It is really important to recognize your feelings as valid and important. You should also know that YOU ARE NOT ALONE. It is often best to discuss these feelings with someone who can empathize with you – like a DiabetesSister! So, feel free to login to the Women’s Forum or the SisterMatch program to share some of your holiday frustrations with people who will understand and validate them. Many people also find it therapeutic to blog or journal about their feelings/experiences. If you are interested in blogging on the DS website, we'd love to have you! Please email Markee (Blog Manager) at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Happy New Year!