Letting go of friendships after diabetes diagnosis. Q&A with Psychological Associate Michelle Sorensen

Q&A Michelle Sorensen

How do I mentally let go of some of the friendships that did not survive my diagnoses?  Still mourning, nothing left to say or do….

First of all, when someone is grieving they always have the right to distance themselves from those who cannot support them in the way they need to be supported. 

Sometimes it is not MORE support that is needed, but a DIFFERENT kind of support.  You can be surrounded by people but feel totally unsupported.

If being around someone who cannot support you in the way you need to be supported (with empathy and compassion) is upsetting, create distance when it is possible.  If you feel a little guilty doing so, don’t worry.  It is far better for you and for others if you choose a little guilt over a pile of resentment.

When angry, we do not want to turn against others (aggression) or turn inwards (bottling it all up). Asserting yourself may mean disclosing that you are hurt, disappointed or confused about their reaction. However, do not create expectations that this will change their behaviour. If you assert yourself, do it for you.  Even if the friend cannot respond with anything positive, feel proud of yourself that you were brave enough to be vulnerable and open up.  And then move forward and focus on building other relationships.

Doucette014

As someone who is a long ways out of young adulthood and firmly entering middle age (!) I would advise to be careful about writing anyone important off completely.  The twenties and even thirties are full of major life changes and growth.  People are not the same (hopefully) at 40 as they are at 20.  I have friends who were amazing when I was diagnosed.  I still remember my friend Deb coming to get me from the hospital and to pick up my mom from the airport.  I remember my friends Diana and Jenn telling me that when they heard I was admitted to hospital and diagnosed, they cried on the phone together. 

I still tear up when I remember the relief of knowing some of my friends understood the severity of my situation.  However, I had friends caught up in their own lives who made insensitive comments, minimized diabetes, or hurt me in some way.  Some of them have had tough life experiences of their own since then or simply matured and now are so supportive.  I am really glad I kept them in my life, but just adjusted expectations or took breaks as needed.

I also know looking back, that being in my twenties made it hard to incorporate chronic disease into my identity because I was still figuring myself out!  When my husband came into my life, he challenged me to be less of a people pleaser and to look out for myself more.  His support and insight really helped me to realize that my expectations of others were largely a reflection of how much I expected out of myself.  Now that I am more compassionate towards myself, the behaviour of others impacts me less.  I always encourage my type 1 patients to “create more space in their lives for diabetes”…. being less stressed and less rushed, juggling fewer balls…  this all helps us to have more patience for diabetes and for other people.  It may be extra important for people with diabetes, but it is actually true for everyone.

Diabetes has given me so many life lessons.  I sometimes joke that I would be quite happy if I was cured now and could hang on to the life lessons and give the diabetes back!  As much as trying to manage the diabetes drives me crazy at times, I seriously doubt I would be a happier person if I had never been diagnosed.  Having a perfect HgA1C does not make people happy if they never worried about it in the first place!  So I will take my imperfect pancreas and make the best of it.

Thank You Michelle Sorensen

This is the third and final installment of my Q&A series with Michelle. Thank you for all of your time Michelle. You have taught me so much and hopefully others reading.

If you missed the first two, here they are!

Mentally overcoming the diabetes stigma. Q&A with Psychological associate Michelle Sorensen

What are the challenges specific to adults diagnoses? Psychological associate Michelle Sorensen answers.

XO,

J

Advertisements

My DSMA Blue Fridays photoshoot-the big bad 80’s blazer

The weekend is here!

In honour of Blue Fridays, where we dress in blue to support those affected by diabetes, I introduce to you the big bad blue blazer. I’m thinking this is an 80’s number. Found at the thrift store of course.
photo 1-1

photo 2-2

photo 3-2

photo 5-1

What blue are you wearing this Friday?

J

My DSMA Blue Fridays photoshoot- the opera gown

We’re getting fancy today for Blue Friday!

This opera gown is very comfy and classic. Comfort for me is very important when watching any kind of show. I don’t want to be shifting around or bound up tight.

Every Friday we wear blue to support those affected by diabetes. If you’re catching any kind of theatre, consider wearing a traditional dark navy for the occasion.
photo 4

photo 2-1

photo 3-1

photo 1-1

What blue are you wearing this Friday?

J

My DSMA photoshoot- the short party dress

Dancing the night away or heading to a lounge?

I personally haven’t done both in years but IF I did, I think I’d wear something like this. If you have been following me for a while, you’ll know that I typically live in gym gear or am sporting around casual clothing.

Every Friday we wear blue to support those affected by diabetes, appropriately called Blue Fridays.

Although typically on Fridays I am sporting blue in a different way, I found trying this dress on fun. It’s nice to pretend right?
photo 1-1

photo 3-1

photo 2-1

What blue are you wearing this Friday?

J

My DSMA Blue Fridays photoshoot- gala ball hopping

Out of all the thrift dresses I tried on, this one is by far my favourite.

I always kick off the weekend by sharing a different fashion of blue.

This one is such a beautiful shade of it too for Blue Fridays (where we wear blue to support those affected by diabetes).

Remember to use the hash tag #bluefridays when you participate. Go ahead and tag me as well. I’d love to see what you’re sporting.

Don’t mind the tag at the front of the dress. I tried to neatly tuck it in. Would you wear this?

photo 2-2

photo 1-1

photo 4

photo 3-1

Are you getting fancy today? Or wearing a casual accent of blue for Blue Fridays?

I’m excited to be doing some swim training with another t1d athlete tomorrow. I think I’ll pack my blue bathing suit 🙂

J

My DSMA Blue Fridays Photoshoot-After 8 sequence dress

A multi-blue, after 8 sequence dress. Big shoulder pads and even bigger sparkle.

Every Friday we wear blue to support those affected by diabetes. It’s called Blue Fridays and it’s all the rage! Enjoy the blinding photos.
photo 2-4

photo 1-2

photo 2-3

photo 3-5

photo 1-3

Have a look at the other thrift store dresses I tried on:

80’s secretary dress with pleated skirt

Rose Spanish style dress

Modern silk evening dress

I’ll have some new Friday fashions next week.

What blue are you wearing this Friday? As sparkly as this?

J

My DSMA Blue Fridays Photoshoot- Modern Evening Dress

It’s blue, silk, flows well and is perfect for an evening dinner. Paired with simple pumps, an up ‘do, and a sleek clutch and you’re ready for the night.

We wear blue each Friday to support those affected with diabetes.

This outfit is dedicated to your weekend out.

It’s the third thrift dress I found in my favourite Friday colour.
photo 4-2

photo 2-2

photo 3-3

photo 1-1

Take a look back at my other blue thrift store finds:

80’s secretary dress with pleated skirt

Rose Spanish dance dress

What blue are you wearing this Friday?

J