Being diagnosed with diabetes can feel overwhelming. Your response may be disbelief, doubt, disappointment, or anger. Take time to acknowledge and understand your response – this will help you process and cope with your diagnosis.

Learning more about diabetes can help, too. When I’m working with patients who are newly diagnosed, we talk at length about what diabetes is – and also what it isn’t.

Developing diabetes isn’t simple. It takes time. When blood sugars go up there are compensations that the body makes. In Type 2 diabetes, these go awry. So if you feel like you’ve failed remember that there are a number of risks factors that got you here. These aren’t all irreversible. Modify those you can to help you take control.

Having diabetes isn’t your fault or a personal failure. It also isn’t just the result of your diet. Many people eat and drink carbs and don’t get diabetes. So it’s useful to think about ‘how did I get here?’ Consider using a thought out and logical approach to improving your diabetes. Learning new skills, such as healthy cooking, weight management, and stress reduction will help you successfully manage or even reverse this condition.

Diabetes isn’t just about high blood sugars. It’s also about having premature heart disease and other preventable medical conditions. If you’re recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes this isn’t the time to tune out. Take counseling from your healthcare team seriously. It’s during this early stage that you can have the biggest impact on your health and possibly reverse your diabetes.

Diabetes isn’t going to take over your life. There are many ways to treat it. Challenging yourself to work with your diagnosis is a key to successfully managing it. Ask yourself, “how can I take this new information and apply it to what I know about my life in order to live the way I want?”

Diabetes isn’t easy. You’ll be faced with challenges – or, depending on how you see things – opportunities: Opportunities to be committed to your health, to develop self-awareness, and to learn how to make lifelong lifestyle changes.