And We’re Back to the Heavy

When I saw this tweet, I knew exactly what I wanted to write about today.

Posted with permission from @lolmyheadhurt

Diabetes is emotional. It’s not the needles, counting carbs, and eating apples all day. It’s fighting your insurance company to cover the treatment that works right for you. Diabetes is sitting in the pharmacy crying because someone messed up your insulin prescription but you need it TODAY. It’s convincing new doctors that you know what you’re doing, even with their ego in the way.

It’s no wonder people with diabetes are 20% more likely to receive a diagnosis of anxiety1. So, for the next few weeks, I plan on addressing a common source of anxiety for people with diabetes. This week, I’ll start with the one I hate talking about.

One of my very specific anxiety struggles is with doctors. I don’t like most of the doctors I have met in a clinical setting, but I’m not sure it’s entirely their fault. Most of this dislike stems from the insurance and corporate healthcare requirements for quick patient turnover. I am the patient who wants to know that you hear me and my concerns, and I want direct answers to my specific questions.

When a doctor is given a 15-20 minute window to see a patient, they typically come in later than anticipated and leave earlier than anticipated because this short timeframe is supposed to include time for clinical notes. As a result, instead of getting direct answers to my question, I would get, “What is your chief complaint. We only have time for one thing.” It wasn’t often worded that way, but the message was clear: I don’t have time for you to make more than one inquiry.

People with diabetes will always have more than one inquiry. It’s just a consequence of chronic illness. Another consequence of chronic illness is a lack of available time and money to get appointments, screenings, and (sometimes) the patience to deal with it.

As a reader, I want you to keep in mind that these things may not be an issue for you. If that is the case, great! I’m jealous, to be honest. But that tweet at the top of the page is real for so many of us.

Like the majority of hyperactive people, I tend to psych myself out (in a bad way) prior to going to the doctor. One of the things I have worked on in therapy is distracting myself from the things that are out of my control. One practice that works for me is to keep my favorite color at the front of my mind.

If I see anything that is yellow while I’m obsessing about something, I take a deep breath, shut my eyes, and imagine something I love. This typically ends up being dogs, or something else cute and sweet. But my body still shows a response to this stress in my blood sugar.

Do you have any coping skills to get you through appointments? Get over stress? Redirect your mind? Is this a non-issue for you? Let me know in the comments, on Twitter, or at sonjac@nevada.unr.edu.

Hope you had a great holiday, and that everyone you know still has the same number of fingers as they did yesterday 🙂

  1. https://www.psychiatrictimes.com/view/treating-patients-comorbid-anxiety-and-diabetes-mellitus

Published by

Sonja Cunningham

20 years survived with T1D, 2021 Executive MBA candidate at the University of Nevada, Reno

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