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April 20, 2022

#67 Diabetes Sucks and You Can Handle It with Mark Heyman

#67 Diabetes Sucks and You Can Handle It with Mark Heyman

Mark Heyman is a clinical diabetes psychologist and a Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist (CDCES) who has been living with type 1 diabetes for about 23 years. Mark has dedicated his practice to helping other T1Ds with the mental and emotional challenges that come with managing diabetes on a constant, daily basis. Mark is also the author of a JUST released book called Diabetes Sucks and You Can Handle It! Now... if that's not a title we can all relate to I don't know what is! Listen in today as Mark shares more about his role as a diabetes psychologist living with T1D and gives listeners a sneak peek of what's inside the new book! Be sure to check out the links below to know where you can grab a copy of Mark's book and find him on the web! Enjoy!

Mark's book: Diabetes Sucks and Yo uCan Handle It!
Mark's Website: The Diabetes Psychologist
ADA website to locate a mental health professional near you with experience in diabetes
Type One Together Ukraine Donation Insulin Magnet to help get supplies to T1Ds in Ukraine
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Transcript

Katie:

This is episode 67 of the sugar mamas podcast. And today my guest is mark Heyman, clinical psychologist, certified diabetes care and education specialist, and the author of the just released book titled diabetes sucks. And you can handle it. I mean, if that's not a title we can all relate to. I don't know what is. Today, mark talks to us about his real life experience, living with type one diabetes, his role as both a psychologist and a CDC, he S and the inspiration behind his book, including a sneak peek inside. I have no doubt. You will enjoy this one. All right, let's jump in. You're listening to the sugar mamas podcast, a show designed for moms and caregivers of type one diabetics here. You'll find a community of like-minded people who are striving daily to keep their kids safe, happy, and healthy in the ever-changing world of type one. I'm your host and fellow T one D mom, Katie Roseboro. Before we get started. I need you to know that nothing you hear on the sugar mamas podcast should be considered medical advice. Please be safe, be smart, and always consult your physician before making changes to the way you manage type one diabetes. Thanks. Hey everybody. I'm here with Mark Heyman today. And mark, let's just start off. I would love it. If you would introduce yourself and tell the listeners what your connection to the world of type one.

Mark:

Sure. Well, my name is Mark Heyman. I'm a diabetes psychologist and certified diabetes care and education specialists. And so my work really focuses on people with type one diabetes and helping them to navigate some of the big emotional challenges that come along with that. I've also been living with type one diabetes for just about 23 years now. So I get this issue both personally and professionally.

Katie:

Yeah, absolutely. I mean, you have quite the history you're, you're connected to the world of type one in many, many ways. I'm just kidding. I'm just curious your role as a clinical psychologist do you only, are you specialize in people that have type one diabetes? Correct? Do you, do you branch outside of that at all? Or is it mostly and caregivers?

Mark:

Nope. Every patient that I see has some relationship to diabetes type one diabetes specifically. So the vast majority of folks that I see have type one themselves, I do see caregivers, or other, other people where diabetes impacting their mental health.

Katie:

Wow. And do you treat people? Of all ages and when I say all ages, you know, do you treat, you know, families who have brought their children in and adults as well?

Mark:

Yeah. So I'm an adult psychologist. So I don't see, I don't see kids. I usually have a minimum age of about. 15 or 16, really, depending on the maturity of the child. Really, because I want to make sure that I am giving people the best treatment that I can, because I'm not trained as a pediatric psychologist seeing a ten-year-old, I probably can't be all that helpful to them.

Katie:

that makes sense. At what point in time did you decide to kind of go the extra mile and get your certified diabetes care and education specialty?

Mark:

Uh, That got that in 2016. So about six years, six, seven years ago, no, six years ago, I realized that I was doing this work and I, you know, needed, I didn't need it, but I wanted to have that extra credential to be able to provide diabetes education as part of my work, because I feel that a people, diabetes education is a critical part of mental health diabetes. If you feel. Like you understand, don't understand diabetes and how it's managed, then you're not going to feel something on your feet and it's going to be hard for you to navigate anxiety or burnout or anything if you don't understand that. So I try to make diabetes medication, a part of my work. I don't identify as a diabetes medication specialist, identify as a clinical psychologist who happens to be an educator.

Katie:

Right. I don't think people realize, I just, I want listeners to know, like, what is involved with getting that certification because it I'm a physical therapist. And I actually was like, I wonder if I could get my certified diabetes care and education specialist certification. And I, I looked into it and physical therapy is on the list of disciplines that qualifies, but that's kind of where it stops. You have to have. Thousands of hours of logged time working with people with either type one or type two. You, you know, you have to do continuing education. I mean, it's, a, quite an extensive certification, in my opinion, did it take you a long time? You probably had a lot of that log to anyway.

Mark:

In my process of getting my certification, I already had all of the time and experience I needed. It was a matter of taking the exam. But for those of you who don't know to become a certified diabetes care education specialist, which used to be called the CDE, it, you, you have to ha you have to be one of there's a list of, I don't know, 10 or 15 medical professionals. So a nurse, a physician, a social worker, a psychologist. Dietician or the majority of folks who had the certification and you have to have two years of licensure in that profession before you can even start. And then you have to have a thousand hours of diabetes education either face-to-face or materials or doing some sort of education. Exercise, I think in a four year period or something or something like that, and then take a big exam. And then every five years you have to renew your certification and show them that you've been doing. I believe it's 15, 15 hours a year of continuing education.

Katie:

Yeah, my sister is also dietician and she thought about getting it at one point in time too, at one point in time, too. And when she looked into it to it, she was like, Hm, nevermind. I mean, she, she probably could easily do it. She works with you know, people that are mostly type two diabetes diabetics and in renal. Failure. She works in a dialysis clinic or she did work in a dialysis clinic, but yeah.

Mark:

Yeah. And there, I think that psychologists are the, there are the least number of psychologists who are educators in the country. I think there's about 15 or 20 of us. You have psychologists who have the certification as opposed to the nurses, would that in their thousands of nurses or dieticians.

Katie:

Yeah, you're definitely the first psychologist that I've heard of having that, that certification. Well, mark, I really want to talk to you cause you, you are getting ready to launch a book that you recently wrote. And I'm pretty excited about it. I've had the chance to look over it. I'm definitely going to go back and read it a lot more closely, but it's called diabetes sucks and you can handle it, which I think is a title. Really going to speak to every single person, whether you have type one or you're caring for somebody with type one, because it really does suck. I, I appreciate the title of the book. But I would love to know, what was your motivation behind writing this? What inspired you?

Mark:

well, I've been trying to write a book for quite a while, but I never really had a good solid topic or structure. And about a year ago I was seeing a patient in my office here and he came in to me and he said something along the lines of diabetes really sucks. And my response to him was, yes, it does, but you could handle it. And then I actually stopped myself and sat back and said, no, not, but, and you could handle it because I wanted to make sure that it was that he saw that he could hold both of those things in his hand at the same time, recognize that yes, diabetes does suck and there's no way around that. We can't pretend like it doesn't, we can't push under the rug. not actually very helpful. However, if we know that it does suck and that we have the ability to deal with that stress and deal with those challenges, it makes it a whole lot easier. But when we feel like we can't handle it, then it makes us stress increase even more. And that's not what we want. We don't really want to empower people by recognizing they are, they have a challenge on their hands that they have to deal with and that they have the skills that they need to be able to with that challenge.

Katie:

absolutely. I actually noticed that you chose the word and rather than butts, and I was going to ask you about that. Because you know, it kind of reminds me, I I see all these funny memes and whatnot of how. You know, it is possible to be a good parent and love your children to death, but also admit that parenting is really hard and really not fun. A lot of the time. So it's kind of the same thing with diabetes, you know, it does, does, it is really hard and it does suck and in the same breath, in the same space, we can handle it. Right. They can exist together.

Mark:

Yeah. It's like, it's all about psychological flexibility and recognizing that two opposing things can exist at the same time. And just like parenting diabetes is the same thing. If we're able to kind of, if we're able to see those things, one doesn't have to pre. One can one can exist with the other.

Katie:

So when you were writing the book, I feel like it's, it's obvious, but I'd love to know your answer to the question. Who were you writing this book for?

Mark:

So this book is primarily written for adults with type one. However, what I realized with people reading yet in advance is that it's valuable for anybody with a relationship with type one, whether it's a spouse or a caregiver or a parent. Or just someone or, or a healthcare professional who wants to understand their patients more. So the book is really around helping people with type one, diabetes, gained the skills that they need to be able to handle it, be able to handle the fact that it does say. But I'll tell you that. For example, my mother-in-law read the book and I've been married for almost 11 years and she's been hearing my CGM alarms go off and you know what, when I visited her and she always wanted to what it is and she, I don't think she quite got it. I should read the book. And she now I think has a better understanding of, you know, what I'm dealing with on a daily basis. And I think that was really helpful for her. So I really, I just, I've been talking to folks who have read it and they say, I really want to give this to my, my husband or my wife or my mother, so they could understand what's going on. And I think that there's a big value there as well as for? healthcare professionals, for doctors and other diabetes educators, be able to have a knowledge, a more intimate knowledge, as well as some skills that they can use to help them.

Katie:

Yeah, that's a good point. You know, I'm just thinking about some of my close friends and family members. When my daughter got diagnosed, you know, Everybody, nobody just, nobody really knows what to do or what to say or how to help you. So I feel like this book gives people a really good window into kind of like the mental and emotional, not just the medical, but the mental and emotional stuff we're dealing with. And know, just how they can lend a listening ear and, and be supportive and, you know, kind of come alongside us and do this together. So I would love to, let me scroll down a bit. Hold on. I've got your, the PDF of the book up here. I would love it if we just, so listeners kind of have a general idea of what's in the book. If we just kind of went down the list of chapters and maybe just give like a, a one or two sentence on what that chapter is about. And then maybe we could pull like one or two practical things on, you know, how. We as parents and caregivers of type one, diabetics can kind of pull from that chapter and actually apply it to everyday life.

Mark:

Yeah. So the first chapter is called. You can handle the sauce of type one diabetes, and it's really about, it's really trying to let people know that they have the ability to handle. And give, give them a sense of hope before they start actually diving into the skills of the book. And it talks about what it means to handle diabetes, because I think that we had, there's a misconception that if we can handle ideas and things, we have to love it, or that we have to, it has to be something that we want to have. And that's not what I'm saying at all. What I'm saying is if you can handle it, you're going to be more flexible. It means they're going to be, take, take the stress as it comes and not try to push it away. And that's, that's really, really important. And then the second chapter is about being honest. And why, why being honest with ourselves about the real challenges that come along with living with diabetes is important. And talking about how the chapter's called honesty is the best policy. And basically saying that if we're not honest with ourselves about the challenges, then we can't do anything to. We can actually, we can actually deal with the challenges. If we're not don't know what's in front of us. If we push them under the rug or if we ignore them, that's not helpful. And so why, why being honest is really important in such chapter three is about starting to be honest and really named the reasons why diabetes. Just in a very neutral way, diabetes X, because I know I have trouble sleeping diabetes sucks because I can, I feel like I can't be spontaneous. It's overwhelming, whatever that is. We help people name those real challenges that they can take action with them. At some point later down in, they could take action with them skills. We'll learn later. But the next chapter is called, let's be honest. this is the, and this is the way we get people to see that does stock. And there are some very real challenges there, sometimes. We all do this. We make it more challenging than it has to be of the stories we tell ourselves about what diabetes means about us and what it means about the world what we can and can't do because of diabetes. And so we want to be able to it's kind of like having, being you know, your trendline and your CGM. You don't want to be too low. You don't want to, don't want to ignore those things, but you also don't want to, nor the highs don't want to ignore the fact that someone's. Your blood sugars, your blood sugars that we have, we have to keep it within that range. Honesty is the same way. We will have to be honest with ourselves about the challenges, but also with the, the answers ourselves, about how sometimes the challenges we make, the challenges bigger than they have to be.

Katie:

I agree. I feel like we can get stuck in the cycle of, what was me and throwing her hands up and just Giving in to a certain extent, but, you know, I, I, I was talking to somebody recently and they said that, you know, whether or not somebody kind of accepts the disease, like as part of their life can kind of make or break you as to whether or not you're going to be successful with your diabetes management. If you're just kind of in the repetitive loop of saying, you know, why me, why me, why me, or why my child, why my child, why my child, you're never going to come to terms with the fact that this is a part of your life. And unfortunately, until there's a cure, it's not going away. so accepting it, you know, nobody wants to accept it because as we've already mentioned, several times, diabetes sucks. But if we don't, it, it just perpetuates that cycle of negative talk and negative thinking, and you can just

Mark:

Um,

Katie:

get stuck.

Mark:

and that's a great segue to chapter five, which is all about why control. Isn't always the answer because when we don't, when we don't accept the fact that we have this current. And that there are some realities about it. try to control it. We try to push that stress away or try to find a way to get rid of it. And if we can find ways to do that, that are effective, then by all means do it. However, oftentimes we think that we okay. I feel burnt out and I don't want to feel burnt out right now. So I'm gonna try to sell, I sat my fingers or try this trigger tipper, something to get rid of that. And that doesn't work. It actually makes it worse. It makes us more frustrated and more upset. And so it's all about recognizing what are the things you have control over in your life with diabetes. And there are many, you have control of your, your behavior. You have control over what you do on a daily basis, but your emotions are not necessarily one of those things in this moment certainly can influence your blood sugars and your emotions. But you can't necessarily control them right here right now. And so it's about recognizing that and accepting that. And when you're able to accept that, then you can put your guard down and actually take action where it's going to matter and find ways to navigate around the stress where you have no, you are, have perfect levels of control.

Katie:

Yeah, I feel like there's a little bit of a negative, toxic is a strong word, but there's some, some stuff out there right now, especially on social media, you know, where. It's kind of putting out this idea of like, we have we're powerless against diabetes and we just have no control and diabetes. You're just going to do what diabetes is going to do. And while I will agree that some weeks are just like insanely crazy with, you know, we're. Dumping insulin into my daughter. And it just doesn't seem to be budging anything on the CGM graph. And you are like, what is happening, you know? And you really do feel like you have absolutely no control. But like you said, I feel like people, people really do. There is a lot that you can control in the realm of diabetes. Like you said, I mean, you control your amount of physical activity and, and what you eat and you choose to use your insulin. I mean, there is a lot that can be. The controlled and whatnot.

Mark:

I like to use the metaphor of imagine that you're driving to pick up your daughter today. After afterschool and you get a flat tire, what do you do? You have a plan, right? You may be called AAA and have them come and change your tire, or you take it to the tire shop. at the end of that process, you're out a couple hundred dollars, but you have an entire, and the problem you had is solved. If we look at the stress of diabetes in the same way, going to get ourselves in big trouble. Because if you look at this as diabetes, as a problem, and the only way to get only way to solve that problem is to get rid of the stress. You're going to be trying really hard and not being very successful. we don't want to, we want to focus our energies, where we have control, and certainly you have influence over your stress long-term, we can't snap our fingers and make ourselves stress-free in this moment. It just doesn't work that way.

Katie:

Absolutely. So chapter six what's what's in chapter six. Hey guys. It's Katie interrupting my conversation with mark today. About the product feature of the week. I mean, other than Mark's book, of course, I will definitely be leaving a link in the show notes to where you can purchase your own copy of diabetes sucks and you can handle it on Amazon. But I also want to tell you about a really awesome way for those of us in the type one community to help other who are enduring the war over in Ukraine. If you want to help, but don't know how check out the Ukraine, insulin donation, magnets that the folks over at type one together are making, they are blue and yellow to represent the Ukrainian flag. And in the shape of an insulin vial, they are only $10. And 100% of the proceeds go to the international diabetes Federation to help get diabetes supplies over to I will leave a link in the show notes where you can grab two or three or 300 for you and your friends and your family, while you're at it. Go ahead and follow at type one together on Instagram and Facebook that's type O N E together, they are doing some pretty awesome stuff over there and you won't want to miss it. All right, let's get back to the. So chapter six what's what's in chapter six.

Mark:

chapter six. is all about managing diabetes and the importance of. Leaning into diabetes, understanding what it is and how it's managed and taking action to do the work that's required to manage IBS as well. Because when you ignore diabetes, it seems like a good idea. Sometimes. I'm so stressed out. I'm just going, ignore it for the day, but what happens? Your blood sugar goes up. You feel pretty awful, and now it's even more in your face than. Before, when you're, when you're managing it, when you lean in, when you leaned into managing diabetes, even though it feels like that's a lot of work, it actually becomes easier because, and then eventually it becomes a part of just how you live your life, what you do on a regular basis. hopefully don't think too much about it, except for when you have an issue that's outside the lines.

Katie:

Yeah, my husband has a saying that he always tells our kids and it's take the extra five minutes, just take the extra five minutes and do what you need to do. So you don't have problems down the road. And you know, the other day I took all my porch, patio cushions outside to. Clean them and wash them. And I, I spent like a very long time hours, like scrubbing them and spraying them with bleach and scrubbing them again and then hosing them down and like propping them up. So they dried and I left him out in the sun. And later in the day, I start to see clouds rolling in and I start to see thunder. That's probably not going to rain. So I check the forecast. There's no prediction of rain, you know, I can just hear the thunder off in the distance and I'm like, they'll be fine. And they were not, it started raining. They got so hooked. The wind picked up and blew a bunch of dirt and leaves on them. So what I could have done in five minutes, just picking them up and moving them to the covered porch, you know, would have saved me all this trouble of then having to go back out there and redo everything. I. Just did. So I feel like that's a pretty good analogy to what you're saying of, know, take, take the extra five minutes and slow down and address the diabetes problems. So you're not dealing with bigger issues in the future.

Mark:

Exactly. Not, not the feature in 10 years, but the feature in two hours in two hours, because we have a hard time. We have a hard time thinking about 10 years from now. We think about it, but we can't really conceptualize it. But if I know that I have plans to see. And I want to make sure that I feel as good as possible this evening. Then I can really visualize that.

Katie:

I know. I'm, I'm thinking of a diabetes example too, actually just the other night, my daughter's Omnipod was expiring and you know how, I don't know if you know how the Omni pods are. I'm sure you do, but they, you know, they tell you they expire, but they really work for like another eight hours or something. So I'm just like, oh, we'll just get it later. We'll get it later. And then of course we left the house. We didn't remember to bring an extra pod with us. You know, we just gotten ourselves into this situation of like, now we're stressed out and we can't stop for dinner. Like we had planned to because we don't have any insulin to dose with. And now we got to go home. And if we had just taken the extra five minutes to change, the pod have saved us a lot of stress, but.

Mark:

I feel that way all the time with my CGM and insulin pump. If I only went down that, that I wouldn't run out of it. which I do sometimes I will admit that. So chapter, chapter seven is all about the skills that you need to be able to handle that diabetes. So really digging into what can you do now that you have the background of why. How do you handle it? So using techniques like mindfulness looking at these techniques, like looking outside of yourself and being able to see yourself as more than a person with diabetes. So often we define ourselves by our diabetes and certainly diabetes as part of who we are, but it is not the whole, the whole of who we are. And if we see ourselves as completely as a person with diabetes and nothing else, and it makes our world pretty much. So give it really giving people practical skills like that, as well as exercises that they can use to be able to integrate those skills into their lives right now, want to make this, make sure. this book is actionable and that's why integrated lots of exercises. And also lots of stories from people with diabetes into the two books that people can really identify with those things and see how these other people have been successful in navigating this.

Katie:

Yeah, I did like how you incorporated some real life stories and anecdotes from some people that you have worked with in the past. That really adds a nice personal element to the book.

Mark:

Yeah. So chapter eight is about taking action. So handling diabetes, isn't going to be all that useful for us. If it doesn't change anything in our lives. And so I want to make sure people can see that now they have the skills that they need to be able to do what they want and not let the stress of diabetes get in their way. We can't necessarily make us as a diabetes go away. However, we can give them people skills that they need to navigate around the stress and then take action. So whether that action is going scuba diving or going skiing or something, something that's kind of adventurous or whether it's just, you know, taking insulin in front of friends and family. It can be any, anything, but to be able to leave with Lee with action and see that they can do those things, even though they may not feel comfortable because so oftentimes we are held hostage to our emotions. We say, I will do, I will take insulin in front of my new girlfriend when I feel competent. Well, that's great. And maybe someday you'll feel confident, but who knows when that's going to be, you could also say I'm going to take insulin in front of my dear girlfriend, even in Noah, no matter what I. And that's called leading with action, as opposed to leading with emotions, letting your emotions dictate your behavior. And so once we're able to do that, then freedom of flexibility opens up for you because your emotions are holding you back. And we can't always predict when the stress of diabetes is gonna come along, but we can take action, even though that stress is.

Katie:

Yeah, absolutely. I recently did a last week. I published an episode about sleepovers and I had a listener comment that just the, what ifs of letting their kid go to a sleep over, just paralyzes them with fear, you know, the, what ifs of what could happen. And. I think that's a great example of, you know, you, you just need to say yes and then figure it out because it's, you can figure it out, you know, you can figure it out. It's just, you have to take that leap of faith. And like you said, lead with action.

Mark:

And the big part of it is making sure that you're gonna be safe. So I would never recommend that somebody drop their kid off at a sleep over without giving the parents information that they need to keep the, keep their child safe. I would never recommend someone go, go on a hike, a three hour hike without having glucose in their pocket.

Katie:

no,

Mark:

So lead with action means leading with action safely, but not letting the. Thoughts in your head, hold you back. When you know, you've taken all this precautions that you need to make sure that you or your

Katie:

Absolutely. what's chapter nine.

Mark:

Chapter nine is about getting support. You know, diabetes should never be a do it yourself condition, and we want to make sure people understand that and also understand what support. I tell a story in the book that when I was younger in my life with diabetes, I used to think because this department sitting in a. Dark room in the basement of a hospital with a bunch of other people with diabetes, talking about their A1C. So like, that sounds awful to me, but support goes so much further beyond that. Whether it's listening to a podcast, whether it's scrolling Instagram, whether it's going to a diabetes camp where people can just do normal things with diabetes there in the background, but also support it's more than just having friends with that. It could, it can mean getting support from your friends and family in your life, you know, w with exercise, with healthy eating from your healthcare team, and also knowing that, knowing that if you run out of insulin, when you're out of town, that you can post on social media and say, is, does anybody in Houston have some insulin that I could borrow? And knowing that people have.

Katie:

Yes.

Mark:

That's a huge part of support as well. So really looking at support broadly giving people some really practical ways that they can access access, support, whether it's through podcasts blogs, through social media, through in-person events and showing people not only the importance of that, but how to actually access those.

Katie:

I like that. I like how you kind of think outside the box in terms of support. That's great.

Mark:

Yeah. And tap your tens about kind of the tougher stuff. So all of the things we've talked about in the books so far have been just the general stresses and anxieties of diabetes. But as we all know, sometimes there are some tougher stuff that we have to deal with. So whether it's a hospitalization for DK or having a severe, low blood sugar or developing complications, We have to acknowledge those things and acknowledge that there may be some additional skills that people need to be able to handle those things. And so I w I don't talk about it in a lot of depth, but I want to acknowledge the fact that they have people have the skills they need after reading the book, to be able to deal with these things, but also acknowledge that there are some tougher things that, that people have to deal with and kind of giving them some additional things to think about as they're dealing with those things, if they come along in their lives and then chapter Chapter 11 is about when to think about it. It's having people think about when they might need professional help. So the way I think about diabetes and mental health, it's on a, on a continuum and a broad spectrum. And I worked on work onto the hypothesis that if I had a hundred people in a room with type one diabetes, there may be two or three of them need to see me or someone with. But the other 98 people, and I get seven people in the room, they need something. Maybe they need this book. Maybe they need this podcast. Maybe they need a to scroll Instagram and see that they're not alone. Maybe they need a friend with that. Maybe there are lots of different options, I want to acknowledge that sometimes therapy is important and sometimes you can make you, you may need professional help. And so I want to give people some guidance and things they can think about as they're trying to decide what to help. They need to determine whether or not getting professional help is a good option for them.

Katie:

Yeah. I want to pause here for just a second, because you know, I think that's type one is so challenging and it does come with lots of worries and anxieties and, sometimes they just creep on you without warning. So. At what point in time, you know, how can people diff differentiate between those kinds of quote unquote normal anxieties and worries, and sadness. And then when is it really time to seek some professional help? What advice would you give to listeners?

Mark:

Yeah, what I would like, what I'd invite you to do is think about how those things, whether it's anxiety or burnout or. Frustration, whatever you're experiencing, how long it's been going on for, but also how it's impacting your life. Is it impacting your ability to go to work? Is it impacting your ability to have friends? Is it impacting your ability to be the parent that you want to be? And if that's the case, then professional help may be maybe helpful for you. If you're dealing with the stresses and anxieties of diabetes. And some days are good. Some days are bad, but you're able to do and function the world and the way that you want to show up the way you want to, but you need to do you need additional support. Then there are lots of other avenues for that that are much less expensive, much less time consuming, but if you're really struggling to function the world and Do the things that you want to do and show up to your kids for your kids, to your job and other areas of life and the way that you want to, then that's a good indication that may need some professors.

Katie:

Do you work with people virtually or just in person?

Mark:

I do I work with people virtually. Unfortunately I can only work with people who are physically located in California. The state licensing laws are challenging. And so, and you know, hopefully that'll change at some point in the future, but right now, because my license is in California, I can only see people who are located.

Katie:

Okay. That's good to know because I've had a lot of listeners reach out to me and say, Hey, I feel like I need to talk to a mental health professionals, psychologist. I would really love to have somebody who specializes in type one diabetes. I've also heard some somewhat horror stories of people that have. Professional help from psychologists and counselors and, and and it did not go well because, you know, the, they didn't know the first thing about type one and I guess, you know, somehow offended them in some way. But so it, it is good to know. Do you know of a resource that. Like a website, people could go to, you know, if they're not in the state of California, do you know of a resource where they could find a therapist in their area who does specialize in type one diabetes or has at least experience in it?

Mark:

Absolutely. There is a resource put out by the American diabetes association called the ADA mental health provider directory and the website's actually in the book. But if you Google ADA mental health provider directory, will find of people that ski you can sort by zip code and by distance from zip code that can tell you if they have. Knowledge of diabetes. The way that the directory was developed was had a lot of people who were grandfathered in. So people who had been working this field for a long time, like myself, got grandfathered in and then other people have been trained. They go through a one day training plus some continuing education after that to understand what diabetes is, how it's managed and some of the common, psychological challenges that come along with that. So you have to be a little bit careful because the spectrum of knowledge on that directory is pretty vast. But if you want someone who at least has an understanding about what diabetes is, how it's managed and what are the challenges that people experience, then that's a great place to start. And then you can ask the people that you're talking to who are near you and your state. You know, what their experience with working with people with type one diabetes is, and make sure they're a good fit for you.

Katie:

thank you. That's great advice. And I can't, I will link to that in the show notes as well. Okay. So I believe it's chapter 12. That's the last chapter of the book? What, what does that.

Mark:

Yeah. chapter 12 is really looking beyond handling diabetes. So, you know, my hope for people is that, that they, they don't just handle diabetes, but they're able to thrive with diabetes and a helping people kind of think about who do they want to become? What do they want to be able to do with their lives? You know, with diabetes and that takes more than handling it. I said, that takes me more than being okay with the stress. It takes thinking beyond themselves and thinking beyond diabetes and really dreaming big. And so I could people, some, just some questions to ask themselves about how can they become the person that they want to be, even with diabetes, along for the ride.

Katie:

Fabulous I just think it's, you know, there's so much out there on how to manage the kind of medical day to day of how to manage type one diabetes, but there's really not a ton out there on how to manage the, the mental and emotional that it can be. Sometimes. So you for writing this book. I really appreciate it. And I'm into, I see this at the beginning, mark and I had a little. Some tech issues there at the beginning that we had to work through. But I got flustered there at the beginning, but I wanted to ask you, you know, obviously when I have people on, we're talking about type one diabetes, but I really do want to know like what what's life like for you outside of type one. My sons, I have two sons in addition to my daughter. And whenever we hear hear of somebody being newly diagnosed, my boys are always like, oh, Sarah could be friends with them. And you know, I'm quick to say, well, of course she could, but. You know, Sarah doesn't have to be friends with every single person in this world that has diabetes. It doesn't my point of that is it doesn't always have to be adult diabetes. Right. There's much more to life than type one diabetes. So I would just love to know some fun and interesting or maybe not so interesting facts about you that you know, that are outside the world of type one.

Mark:

Of course. So I live in San Diego. I actually was born and raised here. I moved away for a long time, but I moved back about 15 years ago and I'm never leaving. I love Sandy. I just happened to be a diabetes Mecca, but that's beside the point. It's just, it's it's, it's my home. I have a wife and a daughter. We've been my wife, Gail and I have been married for almost 11 years now. And we have a three-year-old daughter named. Who is a precocious and she, she, she's funny because she'll see me eating Smarties and she's like, that's your medicine, daddy, I want some medicine. I'm like, well, you could have some Smarties, but this isn't medicine for you. Yeah, so I love being outside. I love cooking. I love food. I'm a big, I'm a big foodie. I'm also, I also collect whiskey as a, a hobby. I have a big whiskey. It just kind of became a, well, the way it started, it was a couple of, of five, 10 years ago or so I was traveling a lot and every place I would go in the country, I would see if I could find a whiskey that was made there. And after a while I realized I was actually a really bad idea because most whiskeys that are made outside of Kentucky are not very good, but there are some, there, there are some exceptions. And so then I started, reading a lot about bourbon and got really into. Understanding the history of bourbon and the tasting notes of bourbon. So now I have a fairly large whiskey collection that I enjoy. I'm also a big, a big tennis player

Katie:

Hm. Okay. Wow. I I'm just so curious. Have you ever tried to like distill your own whiskey? Is that the word is still, I know it's not brew because it's not a beer,

Mark:

I have not. That would be, you need some very specialized equipment, but the thing about whiskey, which is so interesting, other alcohols, like beer or gin or vodka, that whiskey is aged. And I mean, by, by, by law, it has to be aged. But in order for it to be any good, it has to be aged for a long. And so, you know, it will take, you can distill whiskey, but then in order for it to to be drinkable at least four years, but you know, up to 10 or 12 or

Katie:

Hmm.

Mark:

And so I haven't been doing it that long to even think about that, but I also don't have the equipment that I need to do that. I prefer to let somebody else do the work and I can just enjoy the and the, and the

Katie:

Yeah, I don't like whiskey. I don't like the taste of whiskey, but I do like to learn about the history of things. So that's a, that's an interesting hobby. I like that. And then it sounds like you've got a lot of, lots of hobbies in California is such a great state for outdoor activities, you know, with the weather. And there's just so much. Different types of terrain there. And I've been to San Diego once and it is you're correct. It's it's wonderful. I, I loved it. Got to travel a little bit up the coast from there, but. Hopefully my family. And I want to do a trip along kind of like the west coast up into like the Pacific Northwest at some point in time, take a couple of weeks and do that. My dad used to live, this is nowhere near San Diego, but he used to live in Washington state. So we did get to do like Mount Rainier and all that at some point in time. But anyway, that whole area of the country is just gorgeous. So your and I, are you guys like what's going on in California now? Cause I mean, I know you guys were like on lockdown lockdown during the pandemic. Are you guys free now?

Mark:

Yeah, we're

Katie:

Okay.

Mark:

I mean, you wouldn't know there was a pandemic going on in most, for most people's lives without knowing there was one certainly some people are wearing masks, you know, but it's not required. There's no limit on capacity of events. It feels like. Pretty normal. Although normal is relative,

Katie:

Right, Well, mark, thank you so much for coming on. Thank you for just taking your time to come and chat with me. I loved hearing about your book. I will absolutely put a link to it in the show notes where people can find it and buy it. Is there an official launch date for it? I know it's coming up

Mark:

April 19th.

Katie:

Okay. And where will people be able to find it and buy it?

Mark:

the best place to buy does on Amazon. And then if you want to go to my website, you can go to www dot diabetes, psychologist.com forward slash book, and you can find it there, but that will link to Amazon as well. So if you want more information about the book, go to the website. If you want to go to buy the book, Amazon will have lots of information as well, but you can buy it directly from.

Katie:

Okay. Wonderful. Well, I'll put a link to, if it's, if this airs before it's launched, I'll go back and add the link after, after it's officially out, but I'll definitely put a link to your website in the show notes as well. Well, thank you again. I appreciate your time and I hope you have a fabulous weekend.

Mark:

Thank you. so much. Bye.

Katie:

Well, that's it for our episode today. A big old, thank you again to mark for taking the time to come on and talk to me about his fabulous book. Make sure to go and find it on Amazon. There'll be a link in the show notes. There will also be links to Mark's website, an the ADA website, where you can find a mental health professional near you with knowledge of, and hopefully experience in helping those living with T1 D and those caring for a T one. As always, if you have any questions, comments, suggestions, or interested in coming on the show, you can message me on social media with the handle at sugar mommas podcast. Or you can send an email to sugar mamas podcast@gmail.com. All right, signing off now until next week, stay calm and bolus.

Mark Heyman Profile Photo

Mark Heyman

Diabetes psychologist

Dr. Mark Heyman is a diabetes psychologist and a Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist. He is the CEO of the Center for Diabetes & Mental Health (CDMH) in San Diego. He is passionate about providing diabetes education and evidence-based mental health treatment and online programs to people with diabetes. Mark received his PhD in Clinical Psychology from The George Washington University and completed his psychology internship at the UCSD School of Medicine. He is the host of The Diabetes Psychologist Podcast and the author of Diabetes Sucks and You Can Handle It: Your Guide to Managing the Emotional Challenges of T1D. Mark has been living with Type 1 diabetes since 1999. You can follow Mark on Instagram @thediabetespsychologist.