Clara Hinton
Grief Speaker, Author, and Workshop Leader

Grief is a Common Reaction to Being Diagnosed With Diabetes

2/28/2013 (Grief Relief)

Grief is a reaction to any major loss. People with a chronic disease such as diabetes experience a loss or potential loss of quality of life. The grieving process is natural and one that many people are now openly discussing. Everyone experiences grief in their own way. There can be as many as ten primary stages of grief, but they don't necessarily occur in any specific order. Not everyone experiences all of them and every person experiences grief in a very personal way.  No two people will grieve the same loss in the same way, and that is quite normal. 

  • Denial
  • Questioning “why” me?
  • Guilt
  • Withdrawal from others
  • Anger
  • Bargaining
  • Depression
  • Sadness
  • Feelings that life will never be the same
  • Acceptance

When someone is newly diagnosed with a chronic disease such as diabetes, it's necessary to deal with grief. Any loss isn't easy and there will be periods of denial, sadness and anger. You may ask the question most often asked by anyone experiencing a lost, “Why me?” Anger can be directed towards your healthcare provider, family and friends. You may have feelings of guilt and ask yourself questions like, "Is it my fault? What did I do to deserve this? Could I have done something different?" Fear of complications from diabetes can begin to overtake our minds, also. These concerns are all a part of the grieving process, which can come and go. Grief is often described as being like a roller coaster ride.  The emotions are up, down, and all around, and this is all a very real and very common part of the grief journey. 


Over time, most will be able to accept the fact that your life has been changed and you will find ways to adapt healthy coping skills. Accepting your diabetes has nothing to do with giving in to it. Accepting is when you stop trying to change the reality to make it fit your expectations.  It’s accepting the change and then beginning to take care of it.


There is so much help available for diabetes today, and that’s such a good thing!  Right now diabetes is on the forefront of new treatments and much more education is being made available to us. 


As humans, we're social creatures and need each other. Having another person for support, a support group, friends, and supportive family members can help get you through the change and sorrow associated with grief.If you're feeling alone in your grief or your diabetes in general, ask your healthcare team for information on diabetes support groups in your area.  Most hospitals can guide you to a support group.


Lastly, never hesitate to call on someone for help when your emotions are feeling out of control.  Use your support system.  Take a walk in nature.  Read some positive sayings.  Be sure to get the proper amount of rest, as well as exercise. Educate yourself about your particular form and level of diabetes. Education is powerful and can be the greatest deterrent of fear overtaking you. Above all else, remember that diabetes is only one part of you.  It is a part that you must take care of so that the rest of you will remain strong, and positive, and healthy!

If you are interested in a workshop or Clara coming to speak to your group, please email Clara at: Every attempt will be made to get back to you within two business days.

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