Diabetes Type 2

Adjustment to diabetes and changes in self-image

The long-term effects of diabetes on the people we met, and how much diabetes had changed their view of themselves differed from person to person. Some found that nothing much had changed in their lives despite having diabetes, and they saw themselves and their lives as they always had done before; others said that they went through ups and downs about having diabetes. 

Some people said that having diabetes had had a positive effect on them because it had motivated them to adopt a healthier lifestyle and to take up new activities and challenges. 

Coming to terms with diabetes could also motivate people to make positive changes in their lives and to tackle new challenges. Taking on sports or physical challenges was a way some people used to regain a sense of their physical ability and well-being. 

However others found that physical symptoms such as fatigue, painful feet or loss of vision limited their ability to do things they wanted to do; for others their diabetes as well as other illness made them feel more physically tired. 

Negative self-image
A few people disliked the fact that having diabetes made them feel they were labelled 'permanently ill'; several people said that they had gone through periods when they felt like a 'victim' or had tried to avoid the whole issue of diabetes and their health. Diabetes made some people feel resentful because it had stopped them leading a full life and meant they were no longer carefree. 

Others who felt they were not in control of their weight and/or their blood glucose levels said that diabetes had taken over their lives. Several people said they felt cross with themselves and had occasionally suffered from depression because of diabetes (see 'Depression, feeling down and mood swings'). 

Though some people had come to terms with their illness and the lifestyle and behavioural changes it required, others experienced conflicting emotions as they struggled to comply with medical advice and accept their diabetes.

Last reviewed March 2016.

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