I’m Dr. Jen Nash, I’m a Clinical Psychologist and was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at 6 years of age. I thought I’d drop you a note to say hi and tell you a bit about me. I bet you’re thinking, ‘Oh she’s a psychologist, she must have it all figured out” – right?! I wish!! I’m just like you.
Over the years I have experienced a whole range of emotional experiences associated with living with a chronic health problem – frustration, depression, denial, worry about long term complications, fear of hypoglycaemia, shame and fear about being different, denial, embarrassment and on and on.
Each of these, in their own way, negatively impacted on my ability to care for my diabetes to the best of my ability. None of these were things that I felt able to discuss with my health care team, as committed and dedicated as I know they were. I felt incredibly alone, and simply buried my head in the sand and thought “I’m fine now…I’ll think about this on another day”. But of course, like most things that we put off until tomorrow, that day was a long time coming.
But thankfully that day did come, soon after I qualified as a Clinical Psychologist. I realised that there are actually some very simple, practical, pragmatic tools that could have helped my psychological wellbeing if I’d have known about them. These weren’t particularly new or groundbreaking ideas, but the potential impact they could have on my life and my health, both physical and psychological – would be.
So I started putting them to use in my own way. Some of them worked brilliantly, others not so well, some took time to learn and implement, others I could make use of and see the result straight away. I was excited about this. I wanted to share these ideas with others. But I didn’t know one other person with diabetes! Incredible, isn’t it?! I’d shut myself away for so long, trying to do it all by myself and pretending it wasn’t really such a big deal anyway, that I was completely isolated with it all. I decided this information was too good to keep to myself. I realised that although there were a tiny handful of Clinical Psychologists and Nurses out there helping those with diabetes with more extreme distress, there was no one out there addressing the psychological needs of those everyday people with diabetes in a systematic way. So I decided to do something about this.
I set up Positive Diabetes with the aim to: “Provide those living with diabetes with the knowledge and information they need to bring about positive improvements in their psychological life’.
I’m so pleased that you’ve found my blog and will have the opportunity to learn more about the psychological impact of diabetes and how to overcome it – whether you have type 1 or type 2. I will be sharing some proven and well-researched strategies that you can put to use straight away, and start feeling more in control of your diabetes and your life.
‘See’ you soon!