Diabetes - Type 1 Community
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Avatar universal

Juvenile Diabetes and depression

My son was diagnosed in August.  He has been having a terrible time with being so down and hard on himself.  I know he understands that diabetes is not his fault, but inside, I think he is blaming himself.  He is saying things like "I hate myself", "why do these bad things always happen to me".  He knows that he has a lot of good things in his life, family who loves him to pieces, horses, dogs, cats, and a load of support for what he is going through, he is only 10, and seems to let the diabetes over shaddow the happy things he does have.  I feel so bad for him, he cries at school all of the time now, and boy, that is a target for the kids at school, so he now is also dealing with names like baby and cry baby.  I know this sounds little, but it is just tearing him apart, and I know that diabetes is absolutely terribe, but I want my son's smile back and don't know what to do.  We have comforted him, educated him, talked with him, but yesterday, he had another episode where he got very upset over something that was very minor and he began to cry.  His number was normal, not high, but his emotional trigger has been changed so much, and it really bothers him.  He is an exceptional student grade wise, and very respectful to his teachers.  He just has these moments of losing emotional control, and I don't know how to help him.  Any suggestions or similar experiences out there?
10 Responses
Avatar universal
Depression and chronic illness are not an uncommon combination, and it impacts those of us with diabetes, too.  "Clinical depression" is real and it's much more than just feeling blue or down.  It is also quite treatable with a good psychiatrist, psychologist team.  Medication often works wonders and there are many meds "out there" to help.  Self-loathing words can sometimes lead to self-destructive behaviors and since you are concerned enough to reach out here for some help, please also consider the next step of getting professional help for Joseph.  He may "resist," (in part because he can't really imagine relief from his worries) but with your support and involvement, he can regain a full life.

I'd encourage you to find a good counselor -- perhaps not only for your son, but one who can help your whole family cope.  Our children are quite sensitive to cues they pick up from parents, siblings, friends and relatives and other there can be issues beyond diabetes that contribute to a depression cycle.

I'm not a physician, but have seen both the devastating effects of depression in my family, and also the return to balance with counseling and medication.  

Good luck.  I hope you'll check in again, as I'd expect more comments to be posted (depression and diabetes are not an uncommon combination).  Let us know how you're all doing, too.
Avatar universal
I should've mentioned one more TERRIFIC and very personal resource accessible either thru MedHelp or thru JDRF directly.  It's called te JDRF online diabetes support team (ODST).

Thru that site, you can be contacted by a person who's "been there" and can offer support in a more private and personal way than our bulletin board.  

Here's one way to get to ODST:

Click on LifeWithDiabetes (one of the link across the TOP)

Then look in the "box" on the LEFT of the screen.  Click on Online Diabetes Support Team.

Good luck again, Josephsmom.  Moms of diabetic kids carry a heavy responsibility and deserve strong support.
Avatar universal
Dear Josephsmom,
Your post has really touched my heart. My son was diagnosed at eight and went through the very same experience your son is going through. Believe me when I say no one will think this is a little thing that he is going through, especially at school. Kids can be very cruel as they don't understand what he is dealing with. I am a volunteer and not a physician, however, as a mom with a son with diabetes I can tell you my own experience. I found that my son was going through a type of grief. He also had emotional episodes at school and was teased alot. It can be an intolerable situation for him and you as his parent.
I agree with LRS, counceling is the best thing that happened to our family. My son did go through some very self-destructive behavior, but he is now a healthy 27 year old with a much more positive outlook. At 10 years old, your son is at a very sensitive age and wants to be like everyone else his age. He might look at himself as different then others and this is a difficult issue to deal with (not to mention dealing with peers and his diabetes).
I would also second LRS's suggestion to contact the JDRF online diabetes support team. I would also like for you to see his smile back. Until we find a cure and we will, he needs to know that while diabetes is very hard, it can be managed, both emotionally and through medical management.

Please keep in touch and let us know how he is doing. We are here to help.

Best to you,

Avatar universal
As I am wiping away the tears from my eyes, I want to say thank you.  I know that many people go through this, and that parents weep for thier childen, but to have someone relate to what I am expressing and not just saying, it will be ok, has over whelmed my heart.  I wish we had the power to take our childrens' illnesses and pains and carry that confusion, pain and frustration for them.  But I know we can not.  I just want to help him and prepare him to take this disease and fight with all of his might and take control rather than let it take control of him.  I will be calling our family dr and getting a referal for him to talk with someone, and will also visit the web site suggested.  Thank you again.
Avatar universal
Dear Josephsmom,
Well, it's my turn to wipe my tears with your response. I just want you to know how much your reply meant to me. I have found that as parents with children with diabetes, support from others going through this can help. I know that is what helped me. I'm glad you are talking to his doctor for a referral and I do hope you contact the ODST. Please keep in touch.
Avatar universal
Dear josephsmom,l cried when I read your question. I am a type 1 diabetic but I was diagnosed in my 20's so I was not robbed of my childhood.  I am 43 now. Three years ago, my niece was diagnosed.She would ask me questions like what do you hate the most and are you afraid.  She had terrible mood swings. My sister (her mom) found that the swings in blood sugars were more a problem than the highs. My sister insisted on the pump for her even though some professionals said 8 was too young. I will say the pump has allowed more of a normal life for her. She has now managed the counting of the carbs and pump bolus herself. I don't mean she doesent still have hard days. My sister also got her involved with the local hospital that had a recreation night for type 1 s--she bonded with other children like herself to know she was not alone. Our whole family walks in the jdrf walk and Jessica receives prizes for teh money we help her raise. My sister and I also painted her bedroom with the tennis shoes walking around her room ( the jdrf symbol) we put her trophies from jdrf on her shelves. My niece who is 9 now and I have "I hate diabetes days".Of course, she is able to eat a little more treats on the pump. We drive around town yelling I hate diabetes then reward ourselves with a movie. All I can say is bless his heart. The community and school need to be there for him. Ask the school to help him with a support friendshiop group.God bless you and your son. Please understand that even with support he may still have sad days. I am a fairly happy person, yet I have days where I weep still---its just very hard.
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