"Accepting" diabetes: I don't buy it

I recently read an amazing statement by @SLEE:

Acceptance, I never really accepted the disease, I don’t accept diabetes as my identity, what I do accept are the things I must do, what I must do to live a happy existence. Like someone else said having D is just part of life.

What I have accepted is Life despite diabetes, I don’t have a life with diabetes, I have a life in spite of diabetes.

Gary put together words that I was struggling to find, to try and explain what I felt about this disease. I have never been able to accept the concept of acceptance. What exactly I am supposed to accept? That my son has a disease I cannot cure? That this disease puts limitations on my son’s life and goals?

I have no intention to ever accept this disease. Nor its limitations. I deny both.

This disease needs daily battle – it takes a fighting spirit, full of spunk and gusto, and even a touch of hatred to keep at it. When my son feels tired at 4:00am and badly wanting to sleep in the middle of a low, I hope that he will find the strength to stay up in his entire resolve to deny the enemy :slight_smile:

Acceptance sounds to my ears like quisling, like collabo – a crippling compromise that can only weaken my will. Untarnished conviction is what I want, because I reject every bit of this disease.

So I don’t look for acceptance. Over my spirit it has no hold!

What is acceptance to you?

[EDIT] here is the original post on tuD: TuDiabetes Forum


Why does a locked thread end with “What does acceptance mean to you”.
Since I couldn’t hit “reply”, here’s my short answer:

I’d say it’s the opposite of denial, and I’ll tell you from personal experience, dealing with other diabetics, that many of them are (or, WERE) in denial. That resulted in them dying as a direct result of the disease. A preventable death, to be sure, in the case of my next door neighbor. He used to boast about how he didn’t feel “bad” when his bg was in the 400’s. He would drink regular Coke…

Acceptance doesn’t mean acquiescence. It means dealing with reality.


Acceptance is not being locked in the past with “why me”.


I think acceptance means devoting time and mental energy to the frequent and repetitive “what does my body need right now, 30 minutes from now, 2 hours from now” questions. Life can get pretty hectic and prioritization has to become part of a diabetic’s mental tool kit. If a person can summon up the mental energy to give their BG control the high priority it demands they’ve chosen to either accept or fight diabetes, does not matter which term is used.


I agree with the previous posts. Perhaps your definitions of and ideas about acceptance are different, but this is what it means to me:
Not being in denial is an important aspect of acceptance. I think @dave gave a good example. Some diabetics deny reality and then die at 38 or whatever young age because they refuse to even make an attempt to manage good BG levels. That’s not a particularly appealing prospect to me.

A second aspect is that I refuse to indulge in self-pity. The world is full of suffering, why would I be exempt? Self-pity wouldn’t help me at all, but make me a resentful and bitter person. Now that would make my life miserable.


I’m with @SLEE.

I “accept” diabetes like I accept the fact that I have to brush my teeth every day. It is just a part of the life with which I was bestowed.


I liked this. :arrow_up:


As an acceptance-based therapist, I can say this is a common issue with the word acceptance—it can provoke a lot of reactivity due to its common parlance use that implies acquiescence. Acceptance as referred to in therapy and medical care does NOT mean approval of or submission to. It means not being stuck fighting the reality of the situation (such as, “If only I didn’t have this…” “this is so unfair” “if only there were a cure, my life would be better” “maybe I could have prevented this somehow”), but rather an “it is what it is” approach to where we are right now that frees a person to move forward and grapple with the challenges they face and to live the life they have. For many people, this is an ongoing active process for many things, since it can be very easy to get stuck in willful (non-accepting) thinking, which can prevent a person from taking care of themselves/issues and can keep them feeling awful. I highly recommend Tara Brach’s book Radical Acceptance for anyone curious about the concept more broadly—it applies to everything really, not just diabetes.


As with most of life’s problems, this concept has been eloquently stated as such:

Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Reinhold Niebuhr --American Theologian

5 short words that sums “acceptance” up pretty darn well.


I definitely agree with this. My attitude towards T1D is more like persistent, guerilla warfare combined with some strategic moments of retreat – but I never feel like I’m going to just say “yep, my son has this for life.” Somehow I feel like as a parent, doing so would be abdicating my duty. Maybe that’s wrong, but it’s how I feel.

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It took me 25 years to feel as if I accepted diabetes, but I’ve gotten to a point where I feel like I’m there. I’ve reached a level of control that I’m happy with and that’s sustainable, and I’m willing to do what it takes (most days) to maintain that control. I do have a slacking-off week every once in a while where I get burned-out and let control worsen for a while, but I quickly get tired of the rollercoaster and get back on track. I don’t like the war analogies with diabetes (partly because that makes me think of winning or losing), and also don’t like the idea of my body as a battleground, so I avoid that language. My mind and body and spirit need peace, not violence, unless I’m doing some creative writing where I might invoke such images. I don’t ever expect a cure in my lifetime, and that’s okay. I don’t get sad or mad or frustrated about diabetes much anymore, but those used to be regular emotions for me for many, many years. Acceptance doesn’t necessarily mean I like having diabetes, it just means that I’ve accepted it as part of my life and am willing to do what needs to be done to keep tight control and not allow diabetes to limit my future.


To me the word acceptance has to occur before anything else…it’s the call to action. If you don’t ACCEPT that you’re a drug-addict, you’ll never seek help. If you don’t accept that you have, or treat someone with diabetes, how can you make the best decisions that will protect you today and into the future?

So, to me, acceptance isn’t a bad thing…it’s realizing that these are your cards (everyone has different cards, but sometimes those who appear to have straight flushes still have crappy hands), and turning that losing hand (or less good hand), into something marvelous! I’ve won SO many hands of poker with the crappiest 5 cards one can get…with a good bluff…but if I didn’t accept that I had a crappy hand, I would have never bluffed; instead, just bet on the cards as if they were a straight flush - and lost.

Acceptance is necessary, imho, to becoming as well versed and knowledgeable as one can about having and treating whatever cards life has dealt them. I feel like if you don’t accept it, you are saying it’s not true, or an accurate reflection of your current condition. If It’s like Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s now famous quote - “The good thing about Science is that it’s true whether or not you believe in it.” Same applies to diabetes…it’s true whether or not you believe, or accept it. So, why not accept it so that you can then move to still proving you’ll stay unlimited despite it?

This doesn’t mean I can’t also HOPE for a cure, though! I daily hope for one…but in the meantime, I’ll just get, stay and help Liam get, and stay, as well prepared IN THE EVENT that it doesn’t come.


I don’t expect a real cure in my lifetime, but I do expect future medical advances to come up with a good enough “work-around”, that for all intents and purposes, one is “sort of” “cured”. ie stem cell research may have the answer one day. Encapsulation of islets, perhaps as an interim solution. I’m not real hopeful for hardware solutions to diabetes.

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@docslotnick expands on what I said beautifully. Most may not realize that for a long time I did not accept the things I must do. When I finally did accept them my life improved greatly. I could not live happily until I put my denial away.

Thanks @Michel for highlighting what I said. My words were meant to be a word of encouragement for the original poster of the TUD discussion in which they appeared.


@SLEE My denial stage was probably the worst time in my life. Like you, I know that my life has greatly improved with my attitude of acceptance.