|The Hierarchy of Needs that I created in relation to Diabetes.|
This whole idea interests me, not just because I am a psychology student, but also because I wonder if even though Maslow made this basic structure for human kind, is it different for everyone and really, it is... because on that very bottom level where we need water, sex, food, sleep etc, all diabetics can add insulin there. (If you are interested in Maslow's Hierarchy of needs please google it!)
Of course diabetics are human, Maslow's hierarchy of needs is relevant to anyone, or at least in my opinion. He covers the 5 main topics which are, psychological, safety, love/belonging, esteem and self-actualization. All of these can be turned into useful tools in figuring out how to master our diabetes and feel good about ourselves at the same time. I created my own chart of a Diabetic's Hierarchy of Needs and I think that it is relevant and useful.
The first basic step which Maslow describes as 'Psychological' for a diabetic is having food supplies, water and insulin. Before insulin was invented, the result of diabetes was fatal (Thank you Mr. Banting!) and because we have insulin now, diabetics can thrive and enjoy life just as long as any other person. Life without insulin for a diabetic might as well be a life without food or water. Insulin is the lifeline and if you have it along with some other bare necessities than you've met the first stage.
The second step Maslow describes as 'Safety.' This is when having all of the supplies in order to manage you diabetes comes into play. We are lucky to have such amazing technology, while people still choose to use syringes, having supplies like insulin pumps and pens is common. Other supplies that diabetics keep on hand are things like alcohol swabs, test strips, glucose meters, sugar tabs, glucagon etc. All of these supplies are a safety net; however, this isn't always as easy without insurance or money. That is another part of the safety step, having the coverage or saved money in order to feel safe living with diabetes.
The third step Maslow says, is 'Love & Belonging.' Support is vital in surviving life with diabetes, having the support system to back you up when you need it the most. This comes from your friends and family as well as the large diabetes online community that exists out there through blogs like mine and Facebook groups. If you have the necessities and the safety net, then you can enjoy that support system you have that keeps you smiling and healthy. The diabetes online community (DOC) plays a large role in many type 1 diabetic's lives, more and more I see parents reaching out for their children looking for tips and tricks on making diabetes easier for everyone.
The fourth step that Maslow talked about was 'Esteem.' It is hard to have strong self esteem when living with anything unordinary. No matter where you go, you will be different. You're the one with the insulin pump in your back pocket or the one checking their blood sugar at the table, but if you feel O.K with that, then you're doing fine!
The last step is, 'Self-Actualization.' I believe that this is the end all be all in living well with diabetes. When you can accept diabetes in all ways than chances are you are doing well. If you know the complications, yet want to define all odds, than you're more likely to be checking more often. Accepting diabetes isn't easy! it is very easy to be discouraged and give up and want to just go back to the basics of diabetes and not look for support.
Even though I created my own hierarchy of needs using Maslow's guide, I think that it can be useful when trying to sort out your own diabetes and look at it through a different perspective. Looking at this, you cant tweak it to see where you stand and so that you are able to reach the very top, accepting diabetes.