Living in Denial

Type 2 Diabetes Blog

Living in Denial


I recently watched a documentary film on the PBS series “Independent Lens” called Little White Lie.   The film  tells Lacey Schwartz's story of growing up in a typical upper-middle-class Jewish household in Woodstock, NY, with loving parents and a strong sense of her Jewish identity — despite the open questions from those around her about how a white girl could have such dark skin. She believes her family's explanation that her looks were inherited from her dark-skinned Sicilian grandfather.   At the age of 18 she learns that her she was conceived as a result of an affair and her biological father is an African-American man.  The remainder of the film documents her struggle to reconcile the hidden pieces of her life and heal her relationship with the only father she ever knew.

It is an amazing story, but more poignant because of the incredible level of denial--from her family, and herself.  She absolutely refused to believe what she saw in the mirror.  That things were not as she wanted to believe they were.  But she desperately clung to the idea that she was white, despite all the evidence to the contrary.

I see you now.  You are shaking your head in disbelief.  “How can someone not realize what is as plain as the nose on their face?”

It happens every day.  We all hear the statistics--especially as it pertains to disease.  Thousands of people with undiagnosed Diabetes.  Tough love alert: just because a doctor has not diagnosed an ailment, doesn’t mean that you don’t know there is something wrong with your health.  We just ignore the symptoms.  Recite after me: blurry vision, weight loss, frequent urination, fatigue…  Its no secret.  Some are honestly so out of touch with their bodies that they don’t notice that they are feeling bad.  The rest of us choose to live in Denial.

Some of us have received the diagnosis, but choose to just keep living the way we have been living.  No exercise for me, no sir.  And yes, I will have another plate of pasta, don’t hold the cheese.  Because to change my lifestyle would be admitting that I have a condition that needs to be managed.  I’d rather move to Denial.

And some of us try to make it work.  We try to eat right.  We try to exercise.  We take our medication.  But its not enough.  We have to try something different.  Its fatiguing, expensive and sometimes overwhelming.  We continue to engage in the insanity of doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome.  Our address is Denial Lane.

News Flash: Denial is not a tropical island.  Its not a mansion in an upper crust neighborhood.  Its not even a river in Egypt.  Its a place, where, if you choose to live there, will eventually cause you much more pain and sorrow than the other place you can live, which is called Reality.

Living with a chronic condition is not fun, not easy and a daily challenge.  But ignoring the condition doesn’t make it go away.  Groups like Diabetes Sisters offer the kind of support that can help you stay out of Denial and learn coping strategies for a healthier life.  Family, friends and colleagues can offer that kind of support as well.

Everyone in Lacey Schwartz universe: family, friends, teachers etc. shared the secret that kept her from discovering who she really was for many years.  She now surrounds herself with supportive people who give her strength to embrace her true identity, and honor her upbringing.  With the right kind of support, we can all do the same with our diabetes challenges.  The first step is acknowledging that the challenges exist, and working toward finding the medicine, exercise and diet that will help us be the best we can be.



WOW . . . That's all I can say as a sat here and read your post. As everyone here I endure my personal struggles everyday and feel, for the most part, that I can do better. I have chosen DENIAL for a long time. It's hard to process the truth most of the time and I find myself doing just that at this moment. Reading this post is a reminder to myself that I need to get off Denial island and come back to reality. I am fairly new to the blog seen, being the only reason why I joined this blog was because my English professor assigned it. I am glad because I am searching and longing for someone else out there to understand what I've been going through for over a decade. Michele Tuck-Ponder am so glad that you shined light on the fact that many of us to live in denial and I guess that is a norm for me. I grew up that way always blaming others for my faults and failures with out understanding that I had to take responsibility for myself. For a long time I victimized myself . . . I suppose I still do. Thank you for your post it was extremely eye opening for me to have read this from someone I don't know. Hope to read more of your insights in the near future.
gaby86's picture
Submitted by gaby86 on Wed, 04/01/2015 - 8:35pm

Denial comes in so many different forms. For me, too busy to do what I needed to do. Didn't think this was going to be as hard as it has been. Now after having my medication changed twice, I can finally get that second dose taken on a consistent basis and its made a big difference in my numbers. What was I waiting for?
Grace48452's picture
Submitted by Grace48452 on Thu, 04/02/2015 - 9:54pm

FANTASTIC article Michele on living with diabetes… you write so eloquently of a very non-eloquent disease!!! I face choices with every bite of food I take… sometimes I am feeling focused and centered and at one with the knowing that I want to limit my carbs, eat whole nutrient rich foods that feed the cells of my body and will keep my blood sugars in range… HOWEVER… at other times when perhaps I am tired, in a rush, dealing with a low blood sugar, under stress of any kind or in a situation where there are foods I really do not want to eat but am pulled towards due to their sweetness and carbiness (think craving) that are all around me… I make an automatic poor choice. It is in these times when I move to my Island called Denial. I get this crazy thinking that.. well just this time… or its only this ONE time… let me treat myself… I deserve it… everyone else is eating this, so so can I. I convince myself to disregard my diabetes, my health and blood sugar goals, my weight goals… and dive into foods that are pleasing in the moment… but so not good for me in the long run… and diabetes is a LONG RUN disease. So thanks for reminding me that we all struggle with this. The more I can remind myself that I am in denial.. the more I can be aware of the stories I tell myself and CHOOSE to make a better choice... this one time.
KarenRoseTank's picture
Submitted by KarenRoseTank on Fri, 04/03/2015 - 4:34pm

I just recently came upon your site..I need this so much. I am type 2 and hate this disease.i dont do as I should. I get so angry having to always have to watch what I eat or it ill raise my sugars. I am sick of this. I have been diabetic since 1995.sugars are out of control..need to lose 75 pounds and I love carbs. Thank you for this site it does help.but I am losing this battle.
queenie053's picture
Submitted by queenie053 on Sat, 05/23/2015 - 9:21pm

Joybells53, You are NOT losing this battle. The fact that you are online, looking for answers proves you are willing to make changes. We are here. Tell us how to help you.
annatnorton's picture
Submitted by annatnorton on Sun, 05/24/2015 - 7:28pm