Diabetes - Type 1 Community
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Avatar universal

Type 1 diabetes and suffering from depression

I am a 29 year old female, diagnosed with Type I diabetes when I was 25. I was always a picture of health and never had any "health" problems until now. Not to make excuses or anything, but knowing that I have this to deal with this has made me extremely depressed, so depressed that at times I don't take my insulin and I also think that in my mind I'm afraid of being over weight. It didn't help that my mother passed  away suddenly either. It seems like whenever I get into a funk I am not following my regimen. It's like I just don't care anymore. I'm just really down and have no idea what to do. I know I need to get help...just don't know where I need to go. Do you recommend anyone in the immediate chicago area?
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Avatar universal
Many diabetics seem to lose their ability to stay on top of the glucose levels when depressed, for it takes a lot of constant work, and we just wear down. From the folks who have written to us, it seems that many people also sort of go into a denial phase -- they stop testing and taking insulin and hope that what they don't know won't hurt them. If you could only read the e-mails that come in from folks who have suddenly suffered kidney failure or who have diabetic cataracts or whose digestive systems have stopped working due to nerve damage, you would never do this again. These people who suffer complications tell us that they would do anything to be able to turn back the clock and have a second chance to take tight control over those glucose numbers and protect themselves. But once the damage is done, there is no going back.

Now, you are aware of this or you wouldn't be writing to us. I do hope we can help you. First, know that you are not alone. Many diabetics write in to tell us that they are depressed. This is a disease that makes us walk a tightrope that we can never get off of, and we can't ever even take a break. It can be overwhelming. And when we mess up, we feel guilty. Living with constant guilt over the 'bad' numbers is hard to deal with.

I sympathize, for I walk the same tightrope. I want to suggest that we get you in touch with the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation's Online Diabetic Support Team for some one-on-one encouragement. Go to the website www.jdrf.org and click on the link on the left side of the page for the Online Diabetic Support Team (ODST). This will bring you to a window where you can answer some questions so we can best match you up with one of our volunteers, and you will hear from someone within a couple of days. That person can be a shoulder to cry on, and can encourage you and challenge you to do what you know you need to do to stay healthy.

As for fearing that you will gain weight if you take insulin, this is NOT true. I am slim as a rail and have excellent control -- I take my insulin and never gain an ounce. The trick is to make sure that you are not eating more calories than your body needs while taking the appropriate amount of insulin. If your control has been bad, your body may be using up its own fat reserves because you are in ketoacidosis, and taking insulin will stop that from happening. But if you are eating the correct amount of calories, you will not gain more weight than you are supposed to. Some people do find that they need to cut back on calories some when their glucose levels are finally under control, but there are many ways to do that without sacrificing good glucose levels.

Part of the depression may be due to having out-of-whack glucose levels, so if you can get the glucose levels under control, you may find that your depression lifts some just because the chemicals in your brain are more normal.

But it does sound like you need to have some professional help with the depression -- I wish I could recommend someone in the Chicago area, but we can't make recommendations online. We can only try to connect you to the Chicago chapter of JDRF that is closest to you and hope that you can talk to someone who lives there and get personal recommendations from folks in the local area. This can be done by asking to be connected to the nearest local chapter when you send in your request to the ODST on the website. I really think thisis going to be the best help you can get. Furthermore, you may find some encouragement in meeting other type 1 diabetic people in your area and knowing that you are not alone in this.

Many parents of type 1 children notice that their kids are irritable or depressed when their glucose levels are out of whack, so part of your problem may actually be that your glucose is not under control. Which makes you go into guilty denial and not take your insulin, which makes the glucose levels go even more out of control. It seems that you need to take some 'baby steps' to just start one improvement at a time. Do contact the ODST and they will put you in touch with a caring volunteer who will e-mail with you and will walk you through getting your health back under control. We all understand these feelings and have been in your shoes. And we care about you. Do let us help you. I hope we hear from you soon.
Avatar universal
anyone  else    going  through   this     would  like  to know
Avatar universal
diabetes is tough disease to deal with. i am a 24 year old diabetic, i have had diabetes for 16 yrs. i am  now experiencing the severe complications that this disease has. i get depressed alot too, bu my kids bring me out of it. i have 2 kids, 4 year old and a 10 month old. they are my world, without them i am lost. i hate this dosease though because i am always so tired and have no energy from these complications i have that i can't interact with them the way i want to. i know it has to be evan harder losing your mom. im really sorry to hear that. i lost my dad whan i was 12. it is really tough going through a loss plus having diabetes on top of it. is your diabetes in control? mine is not. my sugars are evrywhere. im finally getting the insulin pump to help me out, hopefully. i never wanted it when i was younger because i felt like the outcast, but i really wish i would have had it. i hope you do ok in the future. just relax and most importantly take care of urself. diabetes will control if you let rself go.
Avatar universal
I am in the same mental space.  I was diagnosed type 1 2.5 years ago at the age of 39.  Similarly, never had any medical problems, always healthy.  No family history for 3 generations.  Then WHAM - hospitalized with ketoacidosis and an a1c of 16.  I have worked my butt off.  Lost 50 lbs, worked out and kept an a1c average of 5.5 for 2 years.  I am still in pretty good control of my numbers. (5.9 last visit).  But for the last month+, I've been sad, distracted and overall feeling really bad.  I've been eating at night and have put weight back on.  Have been having trouble getting to sleep and probably not getting more than 6 hours of sleep at any given point.  I am a single dad of 2 boys and a self employed attorney and I feel overwhelmed sometimes.  I have finally recognized that this is more than one of my not unusual blah periods.  I am seeing my endo tomorrow and I am going to talk to him about it and get some ideas and a referral.  This disease is hard.  It is constant checking and worrying and trying to fix what can't be fixed.  It is all one great experiment and we have control over what we put into our bodies and how, but sometimes our bodies decide to ignore all of the effort and do weird things.  Unexpected lows and unanticipated highs and we are the only ones that can recognize it and try to fix it.  It can be very lonely.  I am fortunate to have a very supportive and understanding person in my life and some supportive family.  It has been difficult to talk to them about how I have been feeling but, once I did, they want to understand and try to help.  Of course, the help and support and checking in and seeing how I am doing and feeling and what are my numbers is nice in theory, but it also seems really intrusive.  When my numbers are bad, I get angry at myself and then its embarassing and reinforcing in the emotion to have to tell a concerned loved one what the number is.  It feels like a no win sometimes.  I know I'm going on and I am venting a number of my feelings and issues, but I suspect you understand a lot of what I am talking about.  I am an info-junkie and have done hours of reading on diabetes and depression and it helps and has helped me to realize that I need more than my own pep talks to try to get past this phaze in my life and treatment.  I wish you nothing but the best and just know that there are many of us out here that understand your feelings and want the best for you as we wish for the same for ourselves.  Please take care.
Avatar universal
Hi There

It is such a relief and a comfort to read the above emails. Eventhough your doctor always tells you everyone feels that way too, you don't actually believe it until you read someone else's story.
I am 27 and got diagnosed when I was 22 shortly after immigrating to the UK from South Africa. With no family history and this disease just appearing out of the blue it's sort of hard to accept. Sometimes this depresses me - I question 'Why me?' often.  I force myself not to dwell on this thought because it leads to nowhere and it's best just to get on with it.

Like everyone I have my good weeks and my bad weeks. I am really good when I am in a routine but once something interrupts this routine I'm up the creek without a paddle and depression moves in.

During a bad period my blood glucose will go all the way up into the late 20's and then slide right down to 2 or 3. I get irratable, demotivated and depressed. Sometimes I feel like i'm insane - I get so angry and emotional and it's hard to control.
But no matter how down I get I never neglect taking my insulin - partly because I know that I will never get out of this slump if I do.
The other reason is that when I go to the hospital for my check-ups I sit amongst a lot of people (old and young) that never took care of themselves and now have all sorts of additional problems. This scares and depresses me immensley - and usually motivates me to try harder. I want to live a long, happy life and be healthy to the end.
As I said earlier if I'm in a routine, everything is great. Going to the gym does amazing wonders for my sugar levels and morale. My glucose levels come right down and in line and I feel happy and full of energy.
I also took time out a couple of years ago to take a course with my Diabetic Nurse called the DAFNE (Dose Adjustment for Normal Eating) which was the best thing I ever did for my diabetes. I am not sure which countries this is practiced in but it principles are great and it works for me. www.dafne.uk.com
I also test my self about 5 times a day.
As soon as I start feeling down or angry I get the machine and test immediately which is a good thing because I will usually find that my glucose levels are much higher than they should be.
I believe diet is very important too. I take good care to eat 3 main meals a day, 2-3 snacks of fruit or nuts and I treat myself sporadically as I have quite a sweet tooth.

Avatar universal
I was diagnost October 20th 2009 and I am 16 years old. My A1C was 18% and my blood was 572, I figured I've been sick for a while. I was so confident I could handle this condition when I was diagnost but lately I've been realizing I'm depending on one person to make me happy. When I'm not with him my diabets comes back to me and I almost wish for my old life back; the life where I was constantly going to the bathroom, wanting to drown myself in water, couldn't stop eating and had constant headaches and leg cramps. Although, that life was not like everyone elses I got use to dealing with suffering and got on with my life. Now that I was diagnost I have an issue with my spirituality, I believed in someone watching over me but now I'm questioning my life all do to this disease. What I can't stand is that I say I have full control but truth is it has control over me, if I don't take my insulin I'll get very sick, if I take a little to much I'll start going low in minutes. Now I'm constantly looking at the internet reading that diabetes is the 6th killer in the U.S. I've gained a little weight and I'm having major anxiety wondering if I could still save my pancreas because I'm in the "honey-moon stage." Then I find out about a possible cure with stem cell surgery using your own cells in the next few years, but would it be too late for me? Would all my beta cells be gone by then?? I'm constantly in mood swings, I'll be hopeful then depressed. I seem to have better control over my glucose levels when I'm very busy, but I don't know how to be fully happy again. Not sure which life was better, my old, sick life or this trapped healthier one..
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