The following resources are recommended for information about the psychosocial component of diabetes:
AutobiographiesSweet Invisible Body: Reflections on a Life with Diabetes
by Lisa Roney
Written by a woman who was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at age eleven, this book provides insight into the difficulty of adjusting after diagnosis as well as the process of acceptance over time.
Needles: A Memoir of Growing Up With Diabetes
by Andie Dominick
The author of this book was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at age nine and her sister was diagnosed at age two. This is also an excellent book chronicling the process of adjustment, denial, and acceptance.
If you are adverse to reading stories about people who develop complications or die as a result of diabetes, be forewarned. However, the book ends on a hopeful note and can be extremely helpful for people currently struggling to find the motivation for self-care. For a more extensive review, read what well known diabetes writer David Mendosa had to say.
DissertationsThe Diabetes World: The Development of Sense of Self and Identity in Adults with Early Onset, Type 1 Diabetes
by Jessica Bernstein, Psy.D.
Most of the research done on identity development looks at people who develop diabetes later in life, after their identity has already taken shape and one must deal with the adjustment process of going from a “healthy identity” to a “chronically ill identity.” In contrast, this dissertation looks at how people’s identity is impacted when they have lived with the condition for most of their lives and never experienced an adjustment period. Unlike most research on identity development in people with diabetes, extensive interviews were conducted (on 20 adults around the United States, Canada, and England) and lengthy quotes of interest are included in the results section.
Purchase the dissertation on Amazon.com.
Other Chronic Illness Literature Relevant to Living with DiabetesAn Anthropologist on Mars: Seven Paradoxical Tales
by Oliver Sacks
Neurologist Oliver Sacks (who was portrayed by Robin Williams in the movie “Awakenings”) is an unusual chronic illness/disability writer in that he not only looks at the challenges one faces but also at how one’s life may be enhanced by living with a physical condition. All of his books are highly recommended but this one has a fascinating chapter on Tourette’s Syndrome that discusses how people may come to relate to their conditions as separate entities. The notion raises thought-provoking questions for people living with diabetes in terms of how they relate to their conditions. See his website for more information.
The Rejected Body: Feminist Philosophical
Reflections on Disability
by Susan Wendell
A must read for everyone, this book provides incredible insight into the sociological aspects of chronic illness and disability. The section on “The Myth of Control” is particularly relevant to people with diabetes.
Touching the Rock: An Experience of Blindness
by John M. Hull
A fascinating book about the process of going blind with a forward by Oliver Sacks. Interesting parallels to the process of adjusting to and living with diabetes. See review by Oliver Sacks in the New York Review of Books.
by Nancy Mairs
Nancy Mairs is a feminist writer with MS (multiple sclerosis) who has written extensively on the subject. All of her books are outstanding. The first essay in this book is particularly relevant to people with diabetes struggling with change, loss, and acceptance. Check out her website.
The Body Silent
by Robert F. Murphy
This book was written by an anthropologist who became a wheel chair user later in life, during the prime of his career, due to a tumor of the spinal cord. In addition to being a beautiful writer, Murphy provides deeply insightful observations about the disabled, chronically ill, and society. See more information.