Thursday, July 05, 2007

Diabetes Denial

Thinking outloud again, but feel free to chime in if you have thoughts on this one. Just for fun, I looked up the word "denial" in wikipedia. Here's what it says:

Denial is a defense mechanism in which a person is faced with a fact that is too painful to accept and rejects it instead, insisting that it is not true despite what may be overwhelming evidence. The subject may deny the reality of the unpleasant fact altogether (simple denial), admit the fact but deny its seriousness (minimisation) or admit both the fact and seriousness but deny responsibility (transference).

Types of Denial include denial of fact: of responsibility: of impact: of awareness: of cycle: and denial of denial.

It also classified denial as a mechanism of the immature mind, because it conflicts with the ability to learn from and cope with reality.


My husband was in his early 20s when he was first diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. I think he denied it then and got stuck in denial.

Today, I don't think he denies the "fact" that he has diabetes. That would be rather difficult with all the ongoing problems that he has. Yet he freely lies to me about what the doctors tell him. Hmmmm...interesting.

He definitely has "denial of responsiblity". But I do believe this is brought on by his doctors. He is with an HMO and I know that they are instructed to keep their patients as positive as possible. The doctors in this HMO are not allowed to give a negative forecast as the "current thought" is that it will bring on a depression and make the patient worse. Thus they keep telling him that he is doing just fine....while prescribing more and more drugs to relive his current symptom/problem.

He has "denial of impact"....but then I'm not sure he can even remember some of his behavior when it occurred during a low.

I believe he has had denial of cycle for 30 years now.

And obviously, denial of denial is definitely an issure here.

Reasons why I think he's stuck in denial:

He won't test his blood sugars. He says he knows what they are based on how he feels.
He won't stick to any kind of a meal plan. He did quite well with a low purine diet until his levels started to go he's back to eating anything he wants.
He doesn't take care of his feet, doesn't wear socks, ignores them until he gets an open wound.

I think I have learned that I cannot help him get past this stage of his mental issue with diabetes. But it is certainly sad to see it. I often wonder how different he might be had he accepted this disease in his early 20s and made life changes back then. I often wonder if he is too old now to make the changes. And if being in denial so many years has increased his propensity for depression. It's sort of like, what came first, the chicken or the egg? I will never know!

I found a website I like for caregivers:

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