How much do you think mindset contributes towards diabetes management?

I was just curious what others insight on this is.

I think that this is a topic often times overlooked. I personally think that mindset is EVERYTHING when it comes to diabetes management. I think a positive mindset is key to successfully managing diabetes.

3 Likes

I totally think your mindset contributes to how your diabetes management works out. Diabetes has so much data that every testing point can be...significant, either a victory or a defeat but, if you conceptualize things productively, you can turn most of them, if not all of them, into victories!

4 Likes

Mindset, or attitude, as I would call it, makes a huge difference. A good attitude determines whether you will try again when diabetes defeats you. It's intertwined with motivation and it makes a huge difference.

Blood glucose control competes with doing activities that give your life meaning. I believe that you don't need to do one or the other, you can do both. You just have to have a system that makes you win a lot more often than you lose. Diabetes is a complicated dynamic system. Attempts to rein it in and bring some kind of effective yet safe structure is tough. And when you solve the puzzle, a new one is set.

It took me 28 years and the luxury of time due to retirement that afforded me the chance to at last give it the resources it deserves. My mindset was one of dogged determination that diabetes was not going to turn the final years of my life into a miserable series of life draining complications.

One commenter recently criticized the mindset of turning diabetes into a mortal enemy. Diabetes is a tough and worthy opponent and it will kill you, given the chance. Defeating it, even dominating it for brief periods, stokes my energy furnace to keep on keeping on. I am energized when I see three-hour flatlines on my CGM. It makes me feel like I am kicking the ■■■ of a dastardly and nefarious opponent. Kind of reminds me of comic book material, even though I was never a fan of the genre.

Perhaps this is just the classic myth of the hero playing out with a diabetes backdrop. I didn't pick this opponent in life but I'll damn well embrace this struggle and fight well.

Maybe this is a male construct, but it works for me. I know that in the end we all lose our health. Until all is lost we are vulnerable. I will not give up easily and when that time comes I will take comfort in the knowledge that I gave it my best and I had one helluva campaign.

2 Likes

I agree that one's mindset plays an incredibly huge role in managing this disease. I know for me, when I am feeling positive and on top of things, I kick butt managing my sugars. I take all my medications as I should, and if I see a number out of range, it's not a big deal, just correct it and move on. Other times, if I am less positive, I tend to put off taking medication, do my Lantus shots later than I should and wind up running high, and feel very defeated when I see a high sugar, and I might not deal with correcting it. I also agree with what Terry said about the energy that a few hours of flat sugars can provide, and what that can do for pushing forward. My last 24 hours have been fairly flat, with a few minor bounces, and I feel like I could conquer the world when I see this on my graphs. So yes, the attitude and mindset, in my opinion, is everything.

Ryan

2 Likes

Ditto what has been said so far - huge, significant, extremely important. Intellectually I don't know if it's EVERYTHING, though.

2 Likes

I agree, Mike. A good attitude without enough knowledge or follow-through will be a happy dance without good cause for celebration. Combining a good attitude with knowledge and tenacity allows one to succeed at many projects. Oh yeah, and it helps to be lucky!

1 Like

I agree its important, but it does not guarantee success.

Many have very challenging circumstances, not lacking the willpower or mindset, and yet still struggle to meet or maintain their diabetes management goals.

Many lack access to medical tools, doctors, treatment, etc., and do the best they can, yet may not be successful 'by the numbers'.

In my case, for years I had a positive mindset, but lacked education and tools.

And as Terry says, sometimes just plain lucky.
3 Likes

Teach me that one PLEASE… would ya?

Seriously, how the @#(@#_@&# do you achieve that??? I understand the words, but cannot find the proverbial channel required.

There is a psychologist by the name of Jen Nash in England who appears to believe this fundamentally. She is a T1 with several decades of experience. Written a couple books and has a website too.

http://www.positivediabetes.com/

Haven’t had the time necessary to examine what shes done carefully, BUT… perhaps it she will have insight?

1 Like
  1. small, normal BG targets. Maybe not quite normal but I guess my target, as input into my pump, is 85-90 so if my BG is higher and I bolus, it will correct it, maybe not a ton, if it’s 105, it might be like .225U but every little bit counts 2) I am pretty much a creature of habit. I have no problem eating something similar every day, for breakfast and lunch. I’m super busy at work and eat at my desk so I don’t ever have a bacon cheeseburger or Chipotle or whatever other restaurant garbage might be more challenging. I think that eating the same food helps and also helps me get better feedback (foodback?) on how accurately triangulated my pump settings are. If something “wobbles” out of line, I figure it’s either the food is off or the insulin is off and kind of evaluate each one. Then I try it again and if it works better the second time, I can pat myself on the head and chalk another one up to experience.

I don’t dwell on the tedious grind of eternity as there’s nothing to be gained from that. I’m either checking back, to see how my BG has been doing, or I’m planning what I’m going to do int he future and how to manage my BG to achieve my goals for it. I think the wiider goals and higher targets recommended by medical associations might cause as many problems as they solve.

2 Likes

Jen Nash teaches some basic cognitive therapy skills in an approachable manner without a lot of specialist language. One thing people often do is “over-generalize”–in terms of diabetes, get one bad number, high or low, and then think good control will NEVER be possible. (Yep, done that a lot over the past year.) Edited to add: Nash helps the reader become more aware of these kinds of thought patterns and find alternatives that support physical and mental health.

It’s been hard for me to learn to take a step back, make a correction, and then say to myself: what can I learn from this? This week, with unseasonably hot temperatures, has been a challenge for me and I am making lots of extra notes on my activity level, boluses, and snacks. This way I hope to be able to make some plans to do activities I enjoy during the rest of the summer.

Never is a very long time! I dislike the idea of saying good control is never possible (one example is here: 11 Things I’ll Tell You That Your Health Care Provider Won’t by Riva Greenberg, I like the article and approach of the things but I strongly disagree with the notion of getting rid of the term control because “you cannot control it”. I control it, sometimes better than others and sometimes it can be eek, but there’s usually a discoverable reason that hindsight can illuminate.

My thoughts on this were definitely influnced by my Tae Kwon Do studies, (2004 or 5-9) as, when I started, I have an absolutely specific memory of watching some more advanced students doing what I’d later learn were tornado kicks and thinking “there’s no way in hell I’m ever going to do that!” But, when I passed my purple belt test and received a brown belt, received instruction and bam, started doing them.

1 Like

I totally agree…this from a female construct :wink:
Mindset is paramount…specifically when one has other conditions on the table to deal with, other than/along with diabetes. Mindset/attitude and careful planning go a long way in maintaining control and directly affecting your quality of life. I am the captain of my ship!

3 Likes

Love the “foodback”, AR.

Likewise, I just view every BG reading as an opportunity to mostly “fine-tune” and sometimes make a more serious adjustment, but rarely as “good” or “bad”.

Sure, I could wail over the fact that I can’t eat and forget like all the sugar-normals that surround me, but what would that gain, beyond finding myself alone, because who wants to hang around with someone who is wailing all the time?

T1D is MY normal.

1 Like

Mindset, for me, is one wedge of the pie–an important wedge–but not the sum total of living successfully with T1, in my opinion.

As far as mindset goes, the one that works best for me is: T1 is my friend–helping me to make choices more conscious and intentional. T1 made me wake up from habitual patterns that didn’t serve my health and wellbeing. T1 gives me a constant and consistent feedback loop. As a result of 32 years living with T1, my math skills are better. My organizational skills are more refined, and I am more intuitively in touch with what’s happening in my body. That’s my “mindset.”

But there is also what goes on in my emotional body. Feeling bad when I can’t get my bs in a healthy range. Feeling sad or isolated because the world I live in is so different than what I see around me. Feeling powerless and out of control of what’s happening in my body. All those feelings and more converge into feelings of shame or self judgment or loneliness that mindset has to accommodate. For me, the answer when I get into one of these emotional spins is to find a way to let myself off the hook, if you will, and look to reassure and love the aspects of myself that are struggling emotionally. I keep a list handy of healthy actions I can take to give myself pause and respite until I can fully engage mindset again.

And the final component, for me, that balances the mind and emotions is to feel like there is value in my process. That, somehow–by giving myself wholeheartedly to the diligence and perseverance it takes to continually listen and refine the systems I use to take care of myself–I am of service to someone…maybe only someone I meet in passing and share a tidbit with…maybe by researching and educating my doctors I will benefit the patients they see after me. I can’t say I know what that service is exactly. But I do know it is this intention that fuels both mindset and emotional self worth.

4 Likes

I agree with your (and other posters) points about having a positive mindset. However I find the idea of regarding Diabetes as an “enemy” to be strange. That suggests it is is caused by an outside agent such as bacteria or viruses. Those of us with T1, have it as a result of the failure of one of our body’s organs. It is therefore part of us, and I don’t see it makes much sense to treat it as an enemy.

For me it is more a matter of dealing with the consequences - my body’s inability to metabolize carbohydrates in a normal manner. I therefore DO try to Think Like a Pancreas and use the tools I have (insulin pump, CGM, information on diet, activity etc.) to try to maintain “good enough”** glucose control.

Joel

**Good enough does not mean perfect. One of the lessons of using CGM is actually how far BG levels vary from those of someone with functional beta cells.

2 Likes

i have had t1 since 1936
i was not yet 3
me & my parents survived in france during ww2
i always felt different but was a HAPPY GO LUCKY CHILD
came to america in 1952
have minimed pump & love it
have 3 kids & 5 gr- kids
lost my husband in 1972
just keep on smiling
life is beautiful !

4 Likes

Very well put!

i like your answer
t1 is just part of me
i just need to learn how to deal with it from day to day
i need to know myself