Your Sup­port Net­work

Diabetic Living (USA) - - Contents - WRIT­ING CHRIS­TINE YU

How to con­nect with those who will help you the most

Man­ag­ing di­a­betes is a full-time job, but you don’t have to do it alone. Here’s how to build a reli­able sup­port net­work.

FIND YOUR TRIBE

“A com­mu­nity of peo­ple who have sim­i­lar ex­pe­ri­ences and

‘get you’ can go a long way,” says Mark Hey­man, Ph.D., CDE, di­rec­tor of the Cen­ter for Di­a­betes and Men­tal Health. Try at­tend­ing a lo­cal meet-up through groups like JDRF, Di­a­betesSis­ters, or the Col­lege Di­a­betes Net­work. For kids, Be­yond Type 1’s Snail Mail Club is a pen-pal pro­gram that con­nects kids with type 1 from around the world.

CON­NECT ON­LINE

It can be eas­ier to bond with oth­ers when you take away the pres­sure of speak­ing face-to-face. Dig­i­tal di­a­betes com­mu­ni­ties—like Be­yond Type 1, Type2Di­a­betes.com, TuDi­a­betes.org, and Di­a­betes Daily—are a click away. Even if you don’t post (lurk­ing is to­tally OK!), find­ing an on­line com­mu­nity can help you dis­cover new in­sights and see that oth­ers have sim­i­lar con­cerns and are sup­ported. An­other op­tion? Twit­ter. Fol­low hash­tags like #di­a­betes, #T1D, #type­1­di­a­betes, #T2D, #type2di­a­betes, #dsma, and #wearenot­wait­ing.

TALK IT OUT

Man­ag­ing di­a­betes can be ex­haust­ing—emo­tion­ally and phys­i­cally. If you feel over­whelmed, de­pressed, or anx­ious, Hey­man sug­gests work­ing with a di­a­betes ther­a­pist to help iden­tify cop­ing strate­gies. Check the Amer­i­can Di­a­betes As­so­ci­a­tion’s Men­tal Health Provider Di­rec­tory for providers, and con­firm that your in­surance cov­ers men­tal health ben­e­fits. (They’re cov­ered by Medi­care Part B.)

GET COACHED

A di­a­betes coach can pro­vide the ex­tra sup­port and ac­tion­able tools you need to reach your goals. Ask your doc­tor or on­line com­mu­nity for rec­om­men­da­tions. Or see if you have ac­cess to a health coach through your in­surance ben­e­fits. When you find one, check their back­ground and nu­tri­tion or fit­ness cre­den­tials and ask for ref­er­ences be­fore sign­ing on. Steer clear of coaches who of­fer quick fixes or dis­pense med­i­cal ad­vice. On­line pro­grams we like in­clude Di­a­betes Strong, Livongo, and mySugr.

Join­ing (or start­ing!) a di­a­betes walk­ing group is a great way to con­nect with a new com­mu­nity. Your fam­ily and friends have the best in­ten­tions, but they don’t al­ways know how to sup­port your di­a­betes man­age­ment. Try these four ways to grow your di­a­betes sup­port team.the prob­lemthe re­make

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