The Emotional Roller Coaster of being a Parent of a Child with Type 1 Diabetes

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The range of emotions and feelings a parent of a child with Type 1 Diabetes can range from mild to downright off the wall and the reality is there is nothing abnormal about it. Any parent will know the fears, worries and concerns they have for their child’s future, without a diagnosis of Type 1 Diabetes, but add that extra layer of Type 1 Diabetes on top and you have a complex marry of an emotional roller coaster, that realistically is life long.

How Do You Stay Rational, Motivated & Positive?

So how do you stay rational, motivated and positive for your child guiding them not only through the challenges that everyday as a child/teen in the 21st century brings, but dealing with Type 1 Diabetes as well? At Diabetes Insight we can help in a number of ways.

There is an overwhelming feeling of imminent loss on diagnosis and on various stages throughout the lifetime of living with Type 1 Diabetes that in reality will never go away.  Parents experienced fear, anguish and denial. A blame game can ensue, with parents wondering have they caused Type 1 Diabetes in their child, despite doctors’ suggestions that diabetes is known to have an organic cause. This type of thinking can cause profound feelings of guilt and helplessness.

Rather than reach a point of acceptance about a diagnosis of Type 1 Diabetes, there initially has to be an acknowledgement of its presence first, the reality of the situation, support and resources. This is where Diabetes Insight can help through our integrated specialist diabetes/psychology service.

Feeling Overwhelmed & Burnt Out

Diabetes is a chronic disease and one of the biggest challenges in the child/teens adherence to treatment, is social support. The emotional support of family and friends is critical to adherence to treatment. Family dynamics, cultural values and socioeconomic conditions all have an influence on how a persons diabetes is managed effectively. Parents cannot ignore the changes in lifestyle caused by the diagnosis, because the injections of insulin, glucose monitoring, the pre-set time to eat, increased vigilance is essential to the welfare of the child. This reality can be overwhelming for many and lead to burnout over a period of time, not only in the child, but in the parents and family members also.

After diagnosis, the adjustments that the child has to make under the supervision of the parents cause intense emotions . Soon after diagnosis, parents take on the needs of specific treatment, assuming responsibility for their child and trying to recover the initial loss of control felt upon diagnosis.

At Diabetes Insight we help parents to  deal with the effects and consequences of the Type 1 Diabetes accordingly, so as to allay many of the fears they may have about the future.

Exposing Vulnerability & Fear of Making Mistakes

Because a diagnosis of Type 1 Diabetes comes out of nowhere, it exposes the vulnerability of the child involved and their parents who feel responsible for them. Therefore many parents experience anxiety, fear of making mistakes and an excessive need for control to reduce the sense of loss and vulnerability.

Interestingly studies have shown that many parents appear to remain at the stage of initial diagnosis and news of their child’s predicament no matter what stage their child’s diabetes is at. Therefore it is just as important for the parents to receive professional psychological support as it is for their child.

Psychological Support at Diabetes Insight

At Diabetes Insight not only do we provide parents, children and families with the knowledge, support and resources, but we also put a plan in place to deal with the emotional and psychological aspect of living with Type 1 Diabetes, not only as an individual, but as a family. Our service is integrated with a psychology service, which offers a very holistic support. Pre-assessment and ongoing support is provided by Helena Farrell RGN, MSc to distinguish the most immediate issues concerning diabetes management. By using validated tools and resources Helena determines whether an individual/family need to be referred for ongoing psychological support to Marie McGowan, Reg Counselling/Psychology who specializes in self-care and chronic illness, and who has a background in healthcare.

Contact Us

From April 1st an initial pre-assessment with Helena costs 80 euros. This includes Hba1c testing also, equipment upgrades etc, meal planning etc. From the pre-assessment an action plan will be outlined, with referral to psychology service if determined that is what is required.

Call 021 4358960, Mob: 0861739287 or email: diabetesinsightireland@gmail.com for further details. Alternatively please fill out the form below to request a call back

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