When you’ve worked hard to manage your diabetes, it can come as a shock when your doctor recommends starting insulin. How could this happen? You’ve done your checks. You’ve eaten healthy, balanced meals. You’ve stayed active. It can be hard not to feel like you’ve failed and you’re being “punished” with your new insulin prescription.
Or maybe it’s that you’re just plain scared when you think of giving yourself an insulin injection or as you imagine how much your life will have to change to accommodate the new regimen.
You could also be scared that an insulin prescription means that your doctor has no other options for you and you’ll be on it forever.
You’re not alone. Feeling ashamed or blaming yourself for needing insulin is a common response. But it’s one that can keep you from taking good care of yourself: Studies show that around one-third of people who get a new insulin prescription never get it filled, or get it filled once but never again.
But here’s the truth: Insulin isn’t a punishment for doing something wrong, and it’s not a treatment of last resort. It’s just another step in your diabetes management plan.
Like any condition, diabetes evolves over time, and the needs of your body change over time, too. Diabetes is also a progressive disease, which means the insulin produced by your pancreas can decrease over time, which sparks the need for insulin by injection. So even those who follow their recommended diabetes management program faithfully may end up going on insulin to improve their health. In fact, a large percentage of people with type 2 diabetes will need insulin at some point in their lives. And it’s been shown that starting insulin sooner may even help you avoid complications in the long run.
Thanks to medical advances, taking insulin has gotten easier. Many people with type 2 diabetes need just one or two daily doses of insulin, and the injection is almost painless.
So it’s time for a mindset shift. Don’t think of insulin as failing at your diabetes plan. Think of it as just one more tool to use along with the other things you’re doing to manage your condition.
With a positive mindset, you’ll feel more confident that you’re doing all you can to maintain your health. And these good feelings will compound, giving you a big boost to your well-being that can help you take better care of yourself over the long term.
If you’d like to discuss your feelings about insulin with a Livongo expert coach, schedule a session or message a coach on the Livongo app.