Thursday, 27 November 2014

The true power of peer support

Sometimes, we all need a little support. Even the strongest of us may come to a point in their life where something just can not be fixed, on their own.

As a peer support volunteer, I devote my time to listening to people talk about their worries, and offering them the guidance and reassurance that they are looking for. I have always been more of a listener than a talker, perhaps that's why I love what I do for Diabetes UK. 

Recently however, I admitted to myself that I am the one that needs a little support and guidance, to keep me going. I published a post on my blog and within half an hour of it going online, I had a phenomenal response. Within an hour of my posting on the blog, I had friends reassuring me that they were there for me, that they wished I wasn't in this position, and suggesting resources for me to look at, to get myself out of this deep hole. 

As they say, a problem shared is a problem halved. If you're having a tough time, please please please don't bottle it up. Talk to someone. Anyone. Tal to your dog, if you like! Drop me a line, I'm more than happy to lend an ear.

Twitter: @Loupeersupport

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Asking for help

It's not always easy to admit you need help. People who ask for help have in the past been seen as weak, or giving up. This really isn't the case. Despite the numerous campaigns to encourage people to open up, many people simply can not.

For me personally, realising I needed to ask for help came about 3 months ago. It can take time, but I truly believe that with the right support, you can feel better.

But of course, people can't know how to help, if they don't know that you need that help, in the first place.

People are very different in how they handle things that are thrown at them. Some people are quite comfortable in asking for help. They know who to turn to, they know how they're going to get that help, and they have a rigid plan of what they will do to overcome whatever it is they are facing.

Some people are very different. For example, some people decide that turning a blind eye is the best course of action. Sleeping for longer, avoiding social situations, heck even taking up extreme sports, so they don't have to think about their troubles!

Regardless of how easy it is to ask for help, the important thing is that the help is there when it is eventually needed. So from a diabetes point of view, giving access to local diabetes nurses, consultants and care teams, is a big 'must'. There are other sources of help too - websites, local groups, blogs and the diabetes online community (Twitter and Facebook especially).

To those who say asking for help is a sign of weakness, when was the last time you asked for help? Asking for help is showing strength. Asking for help is acknowledging there are issues that need to be addressed - be it physical, emotional or psychological. Those who ask for help should be given credit for doing so. Rather than shying away and allowing the problem to get worse.

People who have had diabetes for months or years may feel like they shouldn't have to ask for help. This isn't true. Diabetes isn't an easy condition to live with and sugar levels can change at whatever time in your life, for whatever reason. There is never a time that people can't ask for help with their diabetes, or anything, even.

When it comes to your health, there are two options - turn a blind eye and see what happens. Or ask for help from your local diabetes team, other people with diabetes, etc, and see how you can overcome this, together.

If you do want to talk to someone about your diabetes, feel free to drop a line to .