The concept of resilience has several meanings. The most simple is the ability to face adversity. Perhaps, with diabetes, we should look at resilience more in the context of it being a process and less as an innate capacity.
In doing so, we can define diabetes resilience as a dynamic process that results in continuous positive adaptations in the context of great adversity due to the daily difficulties caused by diabetes.
Vicky, a person with type 1 diabetes for 17 years, confirms, “One of the hardest things is to adapt to the changes and new requirements. I live with my diabetes very differently from when it first came on until now, not only because my treatment has changed, but also because now I know more things, and my life, my work, and my family have also changed. ”
Resiliency resources that benefit patients’ glycemic control
The variables of optimism, self-esteem, self-efficacy and self-control are used to measure the resiliency factor in the study “A Person-focused Analysis of Resilience Resources and Coping in Diabetes Patients” published in the magazine Stress & Health in 2010.
“When I have good control of my diabetes I feel happier and confident; I find myself more capable of controlling my diabetes, and I feel that I’m on top of it,” comments Vicky. "Optimism comes and goes -it's true- sometimes you think about the complications, that I'm going to end up blind or things like that, but when I see that everyday I have good control of my glucose, I’m more positive and my feeling of control increases," she adds.
In recent years, the role of technology in diabetes has been transcendental in the management of diabetes resilience. “I’ve been using an insulin pump and a continuous glucose monitor for 6 years, and I feel that with these tools I have effective instruments. They make it so I can instantly manage my diabetes, and I notice that it makes me feel better, stronger. ”
Daily support of one another, making decisions based on experience, allowing yourself to be helped from family and friends, and being conscious of your diabetes are some things you can do to improve your reslience.
In regards to this question, Vicky states, “Receiving diabetes education and learning to handle many situations has given me quite a bit of peace. Also, my partner, he didn't know anything about diabetes, and together we were able to learn everything necessary to use an insulin pump. The support of my partner and my family greatly influences my tranquility. That they are able to help me and understand me makes me feel fortunate, but also gives me the feeling that I can control anything my diabetes may bring. ”
Resilience is also often connected with coping strategies: proactivity, acceptance, emotional support, instrumental support, positive rethinking, planning, self-distraction, denial, dissociation of behavior, and self-guilt.
Lastly, Vicky points out, “When you’ve been dealing with diabetes for a while in your life, you realize that you have to take the initiative, to make decisions to best handle your diabetes despite the difficulties, mistakes and barriers we have. You have to look for what you need to have a good quality of life.
Source1: A Person-Focused Analysis of Resilience Resources and Coping in Diabetes Patients. Joyce P. Yi-Frazier, Ronald E. Smith, Peter P. Vitaliano, Jean C. Yi, Scarlett Mai, Matthew Hillman, Katie Weinger
Stress Health. 2010 Jan 1; 26(1): 51–60. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2880488/