Learning to Say ‘No’

Learning to say ‘no’ around others is one of the most difficult challenges that I face in my day to day life with diabetes. Almost every day I come face to face with temptation from others. Whether it’s the offer of a mid morning coffee at work, the sweets that person brought in from home to try, or the array of dolce at our family get togethers. Temptation lies behind every corner I turn, and at any given time of the day. Its not something that I can easily escape.

I could accept that piece of mid morning cake. I could take the easy option out. I would be able to indulge in that chocolate fix that I know I really want. No questions will be asked. There’ll be no mention of the d word. Just sweet, simple pleasure.

But I know I’ll be spoiling my after breakfast blood sugar levels, which are usually good most days. I know I’ll have to try and make a subtle dash to the bathroom 10 minutes later and quickly jab in a shot of insulin. I know it’ll be a guesstimate. It might be too little. Or I might end up hypo later on. But, I won’t have to bring up that d word, again. I won’t have to answer questions, again.

Or I could take the harder option of trying to politely refuse that piece of mid morning cake. More than likely, I’ll have to refuse that offer again a second time. More insistently. I’ll be innocently asked “why not?” “What’s wrong?” “You don’t feel well?” And I’ll have to remind them that I have diabetes. Yet again. And I’ll have to explain what that means. Yet again. I’ll have to answer those “so, you can’t eat sugar” questions. Yet again. Yeah, my blood sugars will be great. Yeah, I won’t have to make that mad dash to the bathroom. And yeah, I guarantee myself stability for the rest of the morning.

But I’ll be reminded of just how much of an uphill battle I face by simply leaving the house every day. Of the hurdles I have to overcome just to keep my blood sugar levels steady day in, day out. Of what I’m missing out on because I have diabetes. Of the confidence I lack in talking about my diabetes more often and more enthusiastically to others. And of just how much diabetes unawareness there actually is out there.

I know the people around me mean well. I know they are not doing it to me on purpose. And I certainly don’t think my life with diabetes is terrible. But when I see those looks of sadness, looks of concern and looks of pity from others, it’s enough to bring me down. And it’s enough to ruin my attitude towards diabetes management for another day.

4 thoughts on “Learning to Say ‘No’

  1. It’s understandable what you’re going through. A word about the “concerned looks of sadness.” I would just tell them to take it easy and follow with a statement that I can handle it. You have to however sound confident and assertive. Don’t let them know they got under your skin.

    This is just me. My 2 cents.

  2. I feel like everyone has “food pushers” in their lives. Diabetes or not, when an offer of food is turned down the first time, there’s no need to insist. Then there’s the whole different issue of people who never offer you food because you have diabetes (I was once, very publicly, denied cake at a baby shower).

    1. Yes, and food pushers are particularly bad in Italian/European cultures. And yes, I’m always told what I can and can’t eat at family gatherings (again, an Italian thing!). Thanks for sharing, Rachel 🙂

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