Diabetes and Depression—Feeling Alone

March 22nd, 2010 by Amy Gonsalves Leave a reply »

Important reminder worth repeating: I am not a medical provider.  If you think you or someone you love is clinically depressed or needs professional help, seek out that help immediately.    Don’t keep reading—ask for help instead.  Now.   You have everything to lose.

People often ask me if I think there is a link between depression and diabetes.  If you caught yesterday’s post you know that I believe there is a link and I believe there are some pretty good common sense reasons to support a connection between diabetes and depression. 

Given that depression can be debilitating, I think it’s safe to say we all hope to avoid it in our lives and in the lives of the people we love.  But if there is a link between diabetes and depression, how can we avoid negative consequences of depression?

Taking the first point from yesterday’s post, what can one do to prevent depression in ourselves or our loved ones?

Know that you are not alone with your diabetes. 

Sure, maybe you’re the only person in your family with insulin dependent diabetes.  Maybe you are the only person you know who takes shots, or wears a pump.  But that doesn’t mean we aren’t out here!  Reach out and find a camp, or a program, or ask your medical team for some recommendations. 

Just because you live with diabetes doesn’t mean you are going to like or enjoy everyone else who has diabetes.  That’s okay; diabetes affects all kinds of people throughout the world.  If the camp or group or program doesn’t feel right to you, it’s okay to find another one. 

If living with diabetes is feeling like a lot, ask your mom or your dad or siblings to spend a day or a week being diabetic—quiz them instead of the other way around!!  Have them check their blood glucose before eating, ask them how many carbohydrates are on their plates, and tell them what you think about their (pretend) insulin calculations.  Ask your doctor if they will let your family have a vial of sterile saline to practice injecting themselves.  You are the resident expert when it comes to diabetes in your family—but a word of warning: if you are obnoxious in how you treat your family members on their “Day of Diabetes” they probably won’t want to repeat it next time!

What is important, and worth finding for yourself, are others who know some of your struggles with diabetes and others who understand what you feel like when you say “I am 52” or “I am 317”–make those friends and you will go a long way.

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