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Let’s talk about diabetes support

How and where do you get your diabetes support? Do you feel supported? Let’s talk about it…

let's talk about diabetes support

What does diabetes support mean to you?

We are all so different (there’s an understatement!) and we all want different kinds of diabetes support. What does diabetes support mean to you?

When we’ve asked about diabetes support from friends and family on South Africans with Diabetes before, the responses have been so varied. Some people have family members reminding them to take medication, checking that they don’t eat the wrong kind of food, and getting very involved in their day-to-day diabetes management. Others have friends and family who are there when needed, but don’t get very involved. And still others are managing diabetes pretty much solo.

What kind of diabetes support do you have? What kind do you want?

(We’ve started a conversation about this on South Africans with Diabetes – feel free to join in!)

Family and friends support

Those closest to us will probably have the best picture of what diabetes means to us, and how it affects our lives. Personally, I don’t want too much involvement from my family and friends… I want them to know what to do in an emergency, of course, but aside from that I’m happy to be left to my own devices.

That said, it really means a lot to me when they take food considerations into account – offering a lower carb option for dinner, being flexible about food timing if it will make my life easier, that kind of thing.

And I will never forget one New Year’s Eve when I snuck off to take my long-acting insulin injection in the kitchen late at night, and my dad walked in and saw me. He looked at me with such love and said, “You never get a break, do you?”

It still makes me tear up to think of it…

how much diabetes support do you have?

Work support

Of course, friends and family are only one segment of life. For many of us, work colleagues are just as significant a relationship – particularly when it comes to our diabetes. How much you tell your colleagues is up to you (and your workplace environment) but it’s obviously important for them to know what to do in an emergency. And it can be really helpful for them to understand just a little of what living with diabetes feels like, so that you can be given some allowances if you’re having a hard blood sugar day.

Online support

And then we come to my particular favourite – online diabetes support! When I was first diagnosed with diabetes, I was so lonely largely because I didn’t know anyone else with diabetes. I had no idea that I wasn’t the only one in this big confusing mess…

But look at us now! South Africans with Diabetes has over 36,000 people sharing their experiences every day… I wish it was more, only because I can see what a difference it makes in my life when I take the time to connect.

Every time I spend time on our Facebook page, I feel less alone in this wild ride of living with diabetes. I feel connected, part of something bigger. And I think that’s what diabetes support means to me.

What does it mean to you? I’d love to hear.

What to read next?

10 ways to offer diabetes support: Being a supportive partner can be both a gratifying and a challenging role – especially when living with a person with diabetes. Diabetes affects the whole family, not just the one taking medicine.

How to help during diabetes burnout: Diabetes burnout is unavoidable, when you’re living with diabetes. But how can you help during diabetes burnout? What can you offer someone you love who is struggling?

How to support a friend with diabetes: Some ideas for what to do when your friend has diabetes and you want to help.

What to read next
Join South Africans with Diabetes on Facebook

Join our diabetes community

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Sweet Life is a registered NPO/PBO (220-984) with a single goal: to improve diabetes in South Africa. We are funded by sponsorships and donations from aligned companies and organisations who believe in our work. We only share information that we believe benefits our community. While some of this information is linked to specific brands, it is not an official endorsement of that brand. We believe in empowering people with diabetes to make the best decisions they can, to live a healthy, happy life with diabetes.