For more than two decades, I thought I had to handle my life with diabetes on my own. It didn’t occur to me that having a network of support would be beneficial to me. But as it turns out, having a support network has made me healthier, more engaged and informed, and less alone. I didn’t know I was missing support until I found it.
However, the idea of building a support network can often seem overwhelming. So here are 4 tips on how to get started.
1) Begin with friends and family. Yes, they may drive us all crazy sometimes by saying the wrong thing about diabetes at the wrong time. But if you let them know what support you need, they can often become your biggest assets. After all, they already love you and want the best for you!
2) Ask your healthcare team for local support group recommendations. Getting together with a group of people who share the same condition you have can be more rewarding than you might think. They “get it” because they are living it too. There may already be groups like this happening in your area, and your healthcare team might be able to connect you.
3) Look online. Support is no more than a click away at any time of the day or night. You can connect with other people living with diabetes over Twitter (#DSMA), Facebook and many other social media sites like Diabetes Sisters  and TuDiabetes . Joining the DOC (Diabetes Online Community), is a great way to build your support network.
4) Start your own support group. A great way to connect with others with diabetes is by starting your own group. Several years ago we formed a local group that would meet for dinner every few months. We talked about diabetes, but over time talked about so much more and formed some great friendships.
Getting your support network in place may take a little bit of time and effort. But in my experience, it is more than worth it!