Two of my daughters, Jackie and Nalani, are really into gymnastics. They practice it, teach it, and they love to watch it. When Simone Biles, the premier generational talent in US gymnastics, decided to pull out of this year’s Olympic competition due to the toll it was taking on her emotional health, it took us all by surprise. But at the same time, it made us prouder than if she had competed and scored a perfect 10.
Too often, we let our busy lives (or pride) get in the way of taking care of our emotional health – something my friend and colleague Diane Herbert calls the E1c (e for emotion). Nearly half of all people with diabetes experience “diabetes distress” – emotional burdens that can lead to depression, anxiety, burnout, eating disorders and other self-destructive behaviors. Stacy Ogbeide, a licensed psychologist who is part of the ADA’s Mental Health Provider network, had this to say in an article in the July/August 2019 issue of Diabetes Forecast:
“Life is difficult and having diabetes is difficult. If your feelings or thoughts about diabetes are getting in the way of your work and relationships, reach out. You don’t have to be in crisis to benefit from therapy.”
Truer words were never spoken. Un-treated emotional challenges have far-reaching effects, ranging from an inability to manage glucose levels to a state of chronic unhappiness. And the problems have never been greater than during this relentless pandemic.
If you or someone you know is struggling, please seek out help. We are very fortunate to have one of the best in the business, Kristi Paguio, available to offer emotional counseling on a virtual basis starting at the end of September. Kristi is a licensed clinical social worker, diabetes care and education specialist, and certified specialist in obesity and weight management. Kristi was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2000 and has specialized in the mental and emotional aspects of diabetes since that time. She is also English/Spanish Fluent. Please contact our office for information about Kristi’s counseling services.
Perhaps Simone Biles’ decision to put her career on hold in order to take care of her emotional well-being will serve as inspiration for others. I definitely give her a 10.0 for effort.
As always, if there is anything we can do to make life with diabetes a little bit better, please let us know.