How to Mourn the Life You Had Before Diabetes
Last updated: March 2022
Remember the good old days, back when you were a kid, or even a couple of years ago, when you did what you wanted, when you wanted, without worry? That was nice. But since you were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, life feels harder. There’s more to think about, more to juggle, and of course real fears about the future.
The difficult emotions you may experience
You may experience anger, frustration, sadness, or terror because of your diagnosis. All of these feelings are normal, all of them are okay, but getting stuck in those feelings is not great for your mental or emotional health. Feeling these emotions may even get in the way of taking the best possible care of yourself, especially if you feel resentful or overburdened.
How to get through it? Mourn your old life
So, what are you supposed to do to cope with difficult emotions? Well, you should let yourself mourn your old life, grieve, and give yourself permission to move on. Thankfully, there are multiple methods available to you that may help.
Write down what you miss about life before your diagnosis
When you write down all of the things you miss about your life prior to your diagnosis, it helps to make sense of your emotions. Did you miss eating whatever you wanted? Perhaps you miss the sense of feeling carefree? Just let it flow out of you, expressing whatever wants to be expressed. When you are feeling grief, mourning is a healthy process that can help you cope with your diagnosis.
Brainstorm new ideas to be able to feel good
Perhaps you can’t eat whatever you want anytime you want, but maybe you can come up with a way to ensure you still get to eat a few of your favorite foods sometimes. A great resource to help would be to consult your doctor or a registered dietician.
Maybe you can pick up a new hobby that makes you feel alive and carefree like you did before your diagnosis. You can even start new traditions in order to create new memories and a new way of life. Pick one or two things and start doing them now!
Allow yourself to feel your feelings
It’s easy to get a life-changing diagnosis like type 2 diabetes and avoid dealing with the emotions that come with it. You may avoid feeling fear or anger by picking up extra hours at work. Those feelings aren’t just going to go away if ignored, so letting yourself actually experience your sadness, fear, or regret will help you tremendously. It's important to give yourself permission to sit with your emotions and let yourself experience them. Some tools at your disposal to help include:
- Talking to a trusted friend or family member about what you're going through
- Joining a support group
- Keeping a journal
- Consulting with a professional counselor
But don't get stuck overthinking
Something that pretty much all humans tend to do is get bogged down with a mindset that makes matters worse. So let's say you’ve done a good job of letting yourself mourn your old life. But now, instead of moving on, you find yourself overthinking that things will never be the same, that you’ve ruined your life, and that there’s no way you’ll ever be happy again. This way of thinking is not going to make you feel better.
If you catch yourself ruminating, try pausing, taking one deep breath, and telling yourself that at this moment, you’re okay. You may have to do this over and over, but it’s a lot more calming and satisfying than feeling bad all the time.
An optimistic view of your new life
It's possible that with your new life, you can create a future that you come to appreciate and enjoy. Can you create a new, solid way of being and living? Of course, you can! There are many aspects of your life that will be different after a type 2 diabetes diagnosis, but that doesn’t mean your life can’t be deeply satisfying.
Focus on gratitude
In fact, now that you’re older and wiser, you have the power to shape your future. You can add meaning, hobbies, gratitude, and depth to your life. In fact, one way to create this new life around you is to focus on things you’re thankful for. Maybe it’s your healthcare team, the support of your family or community, or a new way of moving your body that feels good.
Yes, life is different now with your type 2 diabetes diagnosis, but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. By giving yourself full permission to mourn your old life, you'll be better equipped to embrace your new life!
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