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Whether you have symptoms or not, learning you have Diabetes can arouse quite a lot of emotional stress. People’s emotional reactions vary in this regard; some people deny their illness or feel outrage, get depressed, feel tremendous guilt and shame, or even start fearing for the future. You might even be able to remember exact details about your surroundings when you were first told about your diabetes diagnosis, psychologists call it a ‘flashbulb’ memory. It is said that a diabetic diagnosis can bring with it normal grief reactions where you feel some sort of loss and come to the realisation that it “can” happen to you.


  1. Denial
  2. Anger
  3. Bargaining
  4. Depression
  5. Acceptance

People differ in how they experience certain situations and it often depends on other factors that they have experienced in their lives. Many people fluctuate between these stages for years, getting stuck at denial, or between anger, bargaining and depression. It may take a year or more for you to fully come to terms with your diabetes. If you are experiencing any of these emotions try not letting them interfere with taking care of yourself. Whatever your immediate reaction is, know that you have just taken the first step to towards improved health and wellbeing.In this article we are going to look at ways that will help you deal with your diabetes diagnosis. Remember that you are not alone; currently there are around 57 million South Africans, about 6 % of our population are living with diabetes and another 5 million with pre –diabetes (insulin resistance). The steps include:

1.Educate yourself

According to Herbert Spencer “The great aim of education is not knowledge, but action”. Making an effort to educate yourself on diabetes, how it’s caused, and consequences of mismanagement, lifestyle changes and treatment options is one of the first steps to helping yourself. There is a wealth of information out there on diabetes and its management. The more you know about diabetes and get a better understanding of its effects in your body, the easier it will be to manage.

2. Healthcare professional

This point comes hand in hand with the first step ‘Educate yourself’. Find a team of health care providers, such as a doctor, dietician, diabetic nurse and even a psychologist if necessary, that you feel comfortable with. These health professionals play an integral role in helping to manage your diabetes. You can also visit your local CDE centre (Centre for Diabetes and Endocrinology) where all these health professionals are under one roof. For more information visit on your closest CDE centre and health care professionals, visit

3. Tell your family and friends about your diabetes

They are such a big part of your life, therefore they should also understand diabetes and how to manage it. Take them to one of your diabetic education sessions or support groups. I can guarantee that they will also learn something they never knew. You will realise that the lifestyle modification that occurs during diabetes, such as a healthy balanced diet and including exercise, all form part of a normal healthy way of life that should be followed by everyone with diabetes or not.

4. Be positive

Instead of focusing on the negatives and complications that come along with diabetes, focus on the positives. This could be some small changes you have made e.g. swopping sugar in your tea for sweetener or including healthy meals where your previously ate a pie, all of which lead to loss of weight or change in waist circumference measure, not to mention feeling better.

5. Set realistic goals

Remember “Rome wasn’t built in a day”. If you set goals that are extremely difficult to achieve, you will just get frustrated and give up.  Set SMART goals, these goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results-focused, and Time- bound. Making the change towards a healthy lifestyle takes time and if you do not achieve 100 % every time, its ok, just do the best you can and keep going.

6. Join a support group or take part in diabetes events.

These gatherings are very therapeutic, being surrounded by people who are going through the same things you are, allows you to share your thoughts and feelings in a comfortable space. You will be surprised what great tips you can learn from someone else. These events also encourage positive thinking, instead of fostering a “poor me” mentality. Visit the Diabetes Association of South Africa (DSA) website, for more information on support groups in your area.


So there you have it, some steps to help you with dealing with your diagnosis. Remember you are not alone and you can live a long, happy and normal life. For more information on diabetes and its management you can also visit the following websites

  • International Diabetes federation (IDF) –
  • Diabetic Association of South Africa (DSA) –
  • Centre for Diabetes and Endocrinology (CDE) –



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Try these products mixed with milk, plain unsweetened yoghurt and a fat source e.g. 1 Tbsp. of peanut butter or seeds to lower the GI of the whole meal

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