Here is a sample script that Levister often encourages people with diabetes to use when introducing their diagnosis. While this is a good starting point, feel free to modify this template to suit your unique background, as well as who you’re talking to:
« I’m telling you about my diagnosis because I care about you and our relationship. I wish I could tell you about it, so I want to share what I’ve learned since discussing nutrition with my dietitian/doctor. They explained that type 2 diabetes does not mean that I will never be able to eat sweets or carbohydrates again. Instead, they insisted that I should be mindful of what I eat, including my portion sizes. They also said that many of the nutritional changes recommended for people with diabetes are things that are recommended for most people in general, including eating more fruits and vegetables, more fiber and more lean protein. I want to be clear that I don’t need comments or feedback on what I’m supposed to eat or how I’m supposed to move. I work with my dietician/doctor to take care of myself. At this time, I would appreciate your support, understanding and encouragement. If you have any questions about my diagnosis, I’d be happy to answer them.
Ideally, your loved one will be receptive from the start. If not, Dr. Ward recommends using the « assertive formula” to help you communicate your needs directly. Here’s what it might look like in action:
« It makes me feel [ashamed, hurt, angry, anxious, etc.] when you comment on ABC [I ate a specific type of food, I walked for 20 minutes instead of 30, etc.]. In the future I would prefer XYZ [you keep judgmental comments to yourself, you trust me to manage my condition, etc.].”
If your friend or family member still isn’t giving you the answer you’re looking for, but you still want them involved in your care plan, Dr. Ward says you can consider talking to a family therapist. . This person may help bridge communication gaps when it comes to your diagnosis.
Be clear about how your community can support you.
Despite their best intentions, family and friends may not know how to be helpful right away. « Sometimes you have to say [loved ones] what you need from them,” says Levister. That may mean watching out for potentially dangerous situations: « If you’re on medication that could cause low blood sugar, it’s good for people around you to know about it, » he says, adding that you can tell them what the symptoms of hypoglycemia look like. like—and when they should step in to help.
You may also want their company at doctor’s appointments or help with meal preparation. (A cooking class might be fun to try!) Or maybe you need someone to validate your emotions when things seem difficult or exhausting. The key to this part: Frustration that builds up over time can cause problems later, like burnout that leads to skipping medication. « Some keep [their diabetes] to themselves and do not necessarily share or have expectations of those close to them. It can be a lonely experience,” says Dr. Ward. “Chronic illness is not just your problem. It is the condition of the family.
If you’ve chosen to tell someone about your type 2 diabetes, it’s probably because you know how much they care about you and how much they want you to thrive. Talk about your diagnosis when you’re ready, but don’t be afraid to ask for help whenever you need it.