What should I tell them?

This week I have the opportunity to talk to a college level Health Psychology course about diabetes.

They gave me a few topics to consider:

  • explaining the two different types (should I tell them there are more?!)
  • how it affects the daily life of someone living with diabetes
  • current global issues related to diabetes
  • my own advocacy efforts
  • and why some people are not as compliant with medical recommendation as others

Considering the suggested topics and the fact that I only have an hour – what do you think is the most important information I can present to a group of potential future mental health professionals?


  • 1. I’d just stick with the two main forms of diabetes.
    2. #2 and #5 are great tie-ins for each other. Then I would get into the global issues.
    3. Advocacy is SO important. Empowerment and community flow with advocacy so well!

    You’ll be fantastic! I wish I could be there!

  • Since it’s mental health professionals, I would say, “How it affects your daily life” it plays such a mental game with you. How, when you do everything you are supposed to do, it doesn’t.

    • I agree. Diabetes isn’t just medical. It isn’t just “oh your bs is high, correct it and it is over” Emotion and diabetes are closely knit. Learning and diabetes and closely knit. Feelings of belonging and acceptance and diabetes are closely knit. Feelings of fear and control and diabetes are closely knit. I have a 12 year old daughter who has had type 1 since 2nd grade. It is waaaay more than a finger prick.

  • Thanks for doing this, Sara.

    Being a group of future mental health professionals, I’d probably go after the mental and psychological aspects of how diabetes affects us and really how support is so important. Two perfect areas: How does this condition affect us as people, and why do some of us NOT do what they’re “supposed” to do?

    I think that emphasizing the importance of support in one’s ability to cope and simply manage the day to day, no matter when diagnosis was. For me, the first years and having a T1 mom got me through to my teen years mostly unscathed but then that sense of trying to be “normal” got the best of me. That caused rebellion, and combined with the medical profession’s fear factor of horror stories and High A1C risks being thrown at me, there was a sense of hopeless that seemed to encase my D-Life and I took on a “why bother” attitude. They didn’t understand the need for support, to just be like everyone else, and if I wasn’t striving for textbook management then something was wrong. That push for “perfection” in essence created the opposite behavioral responses that were actually needed, and I stopped caring.

    To me, that’s huge – to be able to address the mental aspect that begs for support to create overall health betterment.

  • I think touching on “how it affects the daily life of someone living with diabetes” is a good one for speaking to a group of future mental health professionals since I think that is the biggest aspect of dealing with the mental side of diabetes. Of course just my suggestion 🙂 You will do great either way!

  • Don’t eat Yellow Snow. Always a good ice breaker or well snow breaker….

    I would really focus on two courses of action. One the obvious of the differences between a type 1 and 2. While I realize there are more, it could just confuse people more.

    (New Paragraph) I would also focus on the “daily affects” or tolls it can take on the person mentally. From the high frustration to the low and the I want to eat that, just I can’t yet…. You know what I mean.

  • i would definately go with the “affects on daily life”. these are our future Mental Health Professionals, and they need to understand the things that affect us, both the physical and the mental, and how best to deal with these things, when one is so much a part of the other.

  • Given we are talking psychology / mental health:

    The only reasons for mentioning the different types of diabetes are (1) if you ASSume a Type 1 (or type Other) is Type 2, you’ve gotten on the wrong side of the person at the get-go; (2) the extreme high-low swings with Type 1 (and the fears of DKA and DIB) produce distinct psychological stressors that are absent with Type 2.

    Affecting one’s daily life has tons of psychological effects. There are the financial stressors, the “am I high or low” stressors, the “finding something appropriate to eat” stressors, the hiding-or-not-hiding-it stressors, the “can’t take a break at work (or in family) to test because of…” stressors… These are all reasons behind lack of compliance or reduced compliance.

    I’d probably not worry about the global and advocacy issues except maybe in passing (or if you’re dealing with potential missionaries to emerging nations).

  • I think you need to start by briefly describing the differences between Type 1 and Type 2. Since this is a health psychology class, I think you should focus emotional/psychological effects of dealing with of chronic, invisible illness.

  • yeah, nthing the importance of exploring the diabetes/depression connection and/or burnout. explaining how it’s a chronic illness mostly in the hands of the patients that takes its toll over time. thanks for doing this, let us know how it goes!

  • I feel like it’s important to mention that supportive medical professionals are a key player in being a diabetes “success” story.

    Remind them that they’re not there to show us what to do to be perfect but just push us to do/be better and live the healthiest lives we can.

  • I’d definitely find a way to combine #2 and #5.

    Since they’re mental health professionals, you can also boil it down to this: “Diabetes makes PWDs crazy. Let me count the ways…”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: