Trying to See the Positive Side of Diabetes

Posted by beverly on Tue, 11/25/2014 - 09:23 in

- Beverly S. Adler, PhD, CDE
Clinical Psychologist and Certified Diabetes Educator

In 2000, Betty Rollin published a book entitled "First You Cry" after she received her diagnosis of breast cancer. I would say that's not unusual for any devastating diagnosis - including a diagnosis of diabetes. Nobody would be happy to receive a diagnosis of a chronic illness. I know it sounds odd, but it didn't take me long to be happy with my diagnosis of "Juvenile Diabetes" (better known as type 1 diabetes now) in 1975. Please don't misunderstand, I was not happy about living with this disease 24/7/365, but I was happy that I wasn't diagnosed with a terminal illness.

Shortly after my diagnosis, I was able to accept the idea of diabetes as an illness that I can live with! Despite the fact that diabetes management was more difficult back then, without all the technologies we have available today, I always tried to do my best.

Nobody knows the future, but I could never have guessed, at that time when I was diagnosed, that diabetes would be a major influence in my career. In college, I was torn between becoming a teacher or a psychologist. Ultimately, I pursued my doctoral degree (PhD) in clinical psychology. Today, I have a busy private practice in which I specialize treating the emotional issues of patients with diabetes. I also became a Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE). You could say that I also became a "teacher" of diabetes care.

Beyond the office sessions, I also wrote/edited two books filled with the personal stories of successful women and men living with diabetes (“MY SWEET LIFE: Successful Women with Diabetes” and “MY SWEET LIFE: Successful Men with Diabetes”). The contributing authors share the perspective that "diabetes is a blessing in disguise." The stories highlight lessons learned, that led the authors to feel empowered with their diabetes.

While the first reaction to receiving a diagnosis of diabetes might be to cry, it's best to accept the cards you've been dealt in life. The faster you accept your diagnosis, the faster you can learn to live a happy and empowered life!