Fear of Insulin.

Fear of Insulin

I have some fear of insulin. It is an irrational fear. There is no basis for it. I have had no previous experience with it nor has anyone in my family. I have no friends who have had bad experiences either. So many times, I have asked myself why I have this fear. I still cannot answer my own question. I do know, there are some things that have contributed to my fear though.

Fear of being slotted into a protocol without thought

My experience with some of the certified diabetic educators (CDE) I have been exposed to is I am not an individual. Oh, the ‘diabetes speak’ is that care is ‘individualized’ but that has not been my experience. My experience has been ‘here’s the protocol you must fit into’ or “here’s what we are going to do” (Seriously? We?). The last time I met with a CDE, she made all the decisions about my care without me ever seeing a doctor. AND, I felt like the ‘plan’ was being done to me, not with me. I was informed that it was time for insulin when it was not. I still harbor a tiny bit of resentment about my interaction with that CDE. I dealt with it by ending care with that care provider. When I finally got to see an endocrinologist, he told me it wasn’t time.

Fear of daily or several needles per day

I am not afraid of needles. I don’t particularly like them but I’m not afraid of them. I currently give myself one injection a week of a non-insulin drug. I have tiny to medium sized bruises after and find myself fussing over what I may have done wrong. So I ask myself what will I do if I have to give myself several injections a day? Will I remember where I gave it last? I also don’t have a great memory, unrelated to diabetes. Just too busy! Will I drive myself bonkers? The answer is yes, at least to start with. After a while I’ll adapt but I will spin for the first little while I’m sure.

Fear of messing up the dose

I am very skilled at figuring out carbs. I have found that very easy to calculate. Heck, I can read most of it off the nutrition label. There is nothing at stake for me at the moment if I miscalculate the amount of carbs I ate. When it comes to using insulin though, I worry that any miscalculation could mean an error in how much insulin I give myself. What if I give too much or too little? I have read about the repercussions of both. Scary stuff!

Fear of weight gain

One of the potential side effects of insulin is weight gain. I have struggled my whole life with my weight. Since I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes back in 2005, I have lost about 66 pounds. Most of it was in the first year. My weight did do some yoyo-ing over the last few years but I finally conquered that beast. I have fear that the insulin will fix one problem while creating another. That would really bum me out.

Fear of the effect on my license/job

I am aware that there are driving guidelines that must be adhered to when on some meds like insulin. Most of the time, I like driving. I commute to another city for work. I am at the age that I could retire. I continue to drive to and for work, not because I have to but because I like to. I really enjoy my job. Will going on insulin negatively affect my license? If my license is affected, my job will be. I worry about that.

Fear of the unknown

My logical brain says there’s nothing to worry about. My non-logical brain hijacks my logical brain and comes up with a long list of what ifs. I really don’t know WHY I fear insulin, I just do.

Here’s my plan for dealing with this fear of insulin in future if I need to:

  • What do I know about myself? I adapt. I chase my tail until I do, but I do adapt. That gives me great comfort. Maybe I’ll need to take up cognitive behavioral therapy to help.
  • I didn’t allow myself to be slotted into a protocol in the past, I doubt I’d let it happen in the future. I’m empowered.
  • If I need to give several needles a day, then I will deal with the little things like bruising, rotating sites and a crappy memory. Maybe I’ll need to write things down.
  • I’m sure I won’t be the first person to mess up an insulin dose. Mistakes can happen and I will learn from them.
  • I will hope that the insulin will not put weight on me. If it does, I will hope the dosage can be regulated and that the other good lifestyle things I do will mitigate the weight gain.
  • I will follow the driving guidelines and hope for the best. I want to retire when I want to but some things in life may be out of my control.
  • As for my fear of the unknown, well I guess that’s just a part of life. As I stated earlier, I will adapt.

I have spent a lot of time talking about my fear of needing insulin, in the spirit of being open, not negative. I welcome your suggestions of how you coped with your fear of insulin if you had some. I fully expect to need insulin someday because diabetes is progressive. Let me know your thoughts. All tips are welcome and appreciated!

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Comments

View Comments (4)
  • Shelley, TheLongPointGirl moderator author
    1 year ago

    Thank you Meryl! It’s taken me a bit of time to get to where I am now. I find your thoughts very helpful especially around to avoid the weight gain. I know insulin shouldn’t be scary…but…I’ll just have to see when I get there!

  • Meryl Krochmal, RD, CSP, CDE, CNSC moderator
    1 year ago

    You’re welcome! I’m sure it took a lot of courage to share your fears. I was so inspired by your article that I am working on a response article that will hopefully be helpful to you and other community members 🙂

  • Meryl Krochmal, RD, CSP, CDE, CNSC moderator
    1 year ago

    Hi TheLongPointGirl, Thank you for sharing your story! This is such a great article. I’m sure it took a lot of courage to write and share how you are truly feeling. Many people feel that needing insulin is a sign of failure on their part. But, this is far from the truth, type 2 diabetes is a progressive disease that often requires insulin therapy at some point in time to optimize blood sugar control. Pen needles attached to insulin pens can be used as an alternative to insulin syringes and vials. Pen needles are usually shorter and thinner, causing less discomfort, in comparison to syringes. Weight gain can be prevented/reduced by taking a good look at how you are eating now. Prior to taking insulin, people often are eating more calories each day than their body truly needs, however their body is not absorbing all of these calories as much is being wasted in the urine thus weight gain does not occur. Once insulin is started these excess calories started to be absorbed thus resulting in unwanted weight gain. If portion sizes are in check before insulin therapy starts weight gain can be prevented/reduced. I hope that helps a little!! Take care, Meryl Krochmal, RD CDE Community Moderator.

  • Shelley, TheLongPointGirl moderator author
    1 year ago

    I look forward to your article Meryl!

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