In 1969, Dr. Elisabeth Kubler Ross, a well-known psychiatrist wrote a book called "On Death And Dying". It outlined the five major stages of grief that people go through when experiencing a loss. According to Ross, people move through the stages of denial, anger, bargaining, and depression, in an emotional journey towards the final stage - acceptance.
In the years since her book was published, it has become an accepted belief that the five stages of grief apply not only to people who have experienced a death, but also any devastating loss of something that was important to their lives.
A diagnosis of a chronic illness can certainly be felt as a loss. Having to come to terms with a chronic disease can mean that life as we know it has changed. Disease brings limitations and loss of the self we thought we knew. There can also be loss of independence, and ultimately, loss of control.
A diagnosis of diabetes can change a person's life and cause them to grieve the loss of their health, and their previous way of life. Impending complications, permanent changes in lifestyle, loss of identity as a once healthy person can all feel like everything is out of control.
The five stages are almost protective in nature, allowing a person to deal with small chunks of grief at a time, until the whole is resolved.
Support groups can be very beneficial for people who are newly diagnosed with diabetes. The atmosphere of friendship, knowledge and camaraderie can be very welcoming for someone who is trying to adjust to the challenges that dealing with a disease presents. And it's a good place to meet people who have already accepted the fact that they have diabetes, and to hear their stories. Find a support group in your area.
Photo courtesy of Bob Knight, stock.xchng vi