Talking With Your Doctor About Your Coronavirus Fears
We’re living in interesting times. The novel coronavirus pandemic has affected us all. Whether we’re living under a stay-at-home order or not, our daily routine and communities have been disrupted. And unlike a lot of other emergency situations, we have no idea when it might end.
Dealing with type 2 diabetes during the coronavirus
This uncertainty makes the stress of this situation different from what we’ve been through before. And while there’s lots of advice available about how to cope from the likes of NAMI, the CDC, and even Type2Diabetes.com, for some of us these ideas and strategies aren’t enough.
What do we do when this is our situation? Talk with your doctor or some other medical professional that helps you manage your type 2 diabetes.
Talking with your doctor about coronavirus
You might not be used to talking with your doctor about your fears, feelings, or emotions. So much of the time diabetes care is focused on blood glucose readings, lab results, and physical symptoms that we don’t always get to the psychological side of things.
But stress and emotions, when left unaddressed, can undermine our ability to maintain the routines that keep our diabetes well-managed. Feeling overwhelmed can get in the way of taking medication regularly. Anxiousness can make it hard to keep up our daily activities. Worry can disrupt sleep, zapping us of the energy and mental focus we need to get through the day.
Whether your doctor has talked with you about it or not, your mental state has a direct impact on your daily diabetes care. And when feeling fearful or anxious gets in the way of being able to effectively manage your life and health, it’s time to speak with your doctor about it.
Be truthful, even if it’s uncomfortable
If your doctor doesn’t bring up the subject of how you’re feeling emotionally you’ll need to find a way to broach the subject.
You want to be as clear and straightforward as possible. Say something like, “I’m feeling anxious and it’s keeping me from managing my diabetes,” or “I’m having trouble getting a good night’s sleep and it’s getting in the way of daily routine.” These kinds of statements make it clear that what you're feeling is having an effect on your overall life and health. Your doctor will probably ask you some questions to draw out more information about what’s going on. Answer as truthfully as you can.
These questions can be about uncomfortable topics, like how much alcohol you’re drinking, if you find yourself binge eating, or if you’re harming yourself in other ways. You can only get the help you need if you’re honest with yourself about what you’re experiencing and truthful with your doctor about what’s going on.
How your doctor can help you
Your doctor can give you access to treatments that you can’t necessarily get on your own. Most commonly this means medication and/or mental health services. Since your doctor knows your care routine for type 2 diabetes they are in a good position to identify a medication that works well with what you’re already doing, if one is needed.
Not every healthcare system or insurance requires a referral to receive mental health services. You might be able to find a mental health professional on your own. But finding a mental health professional through a referral from your regular doctor can be especially helpful if they then coordinate your care. This can help you avoid getting conflicting directions from the different medical professionals that you see.
We can get through this
The stress and strain of living through a worldwide pandemic is taking a toll on all of us — physically and psychologically. We need to remember that we don’t need to work through it all on our own. We can turn to those who provide our medical care for the extra care and support we need to get through this.
Note: This article was written on March 30, 2020. Further developments in what we know about the Coronavirus are continuously emerging. Learn more in Self-Care in Uncertain Times.
Do you live with any sleep disorders (eg. insomnia, sleep apnea, RLS) in addition to your diabetes?