Depression and Diabetes
Depression definitely isn’t a happy topic (no poor pun intended). But it’s been brought to my attention more and more lately.
If I’m completely honest, annnnnd I think it’s pretty apparent I am, I’ve suffered through bouts of depression throughout the 20 years I’ve had this horrific disease.
Most days, I think I do pretty well – I try to keep a good attitude, I do my best to keep a smile on my face, and I try my hardest to keep my chin up, even when all I want to do is hang my head and cry. But lately, with the roller coaster sugars, hospitalizations, and the continuous feeling like complete crap because of it – I can feel myself slipping back into it. Pair that with the fact that I have a big birthday coming up in a few days and man, I’m just a mess.
What scares me more than having myself feel like this, is in talking to people, I’m realizing how common these feelings are. A work associate told me how his wife has diabetes (which was a surprise to me) and after making sure I was okay after my recent hospitalization, told me how his wife will go through weeks of depression and (what he calls) a “mini mental breakdown”.
My heart hurt hearing these words because I knew EXACTLY what he meant. I could feel EXACTLY what she was going through.
It’s not that diabetics aren’t strong enough to handle this invisible, non-relenting enemy, it’s that when you’re constantly being beat down by it – it really wears on you. It effects your mood. It effects your ability to enjoy things that truly do make you happy. It effects almost every aspect of your life in some way, every single day.
I think what makes matters worse is the fact that the people around us often don’t know what to say. For example, the last time I mentioned to Moony how I was feeling really blue and how I just wasn’t feeling myself and I could feel the gloom coming over me, his response was, “well that makes no sense. You have so much to be happy about”. Well yeah. I do. I have a beautiful family. I have a job I enjoy. I have an overall very happy life. Buuuuuut that doesn’t mean that I’m not allowed to feel sad. To feel hopeless at times.
And to be fair, I don’t think it’s his fault for not understanding what I’m going through. I can imagine it’s hard to put yourself in a diabetic’s shoes and realize that every morning we wake up to fight for our survival. I bet it’s hard to understand that as diabetics, we are forced to accept that for the rest of our lives “simple” tasks, like eating, aren’t simple. It’s a constant cloud over our heads and even though I think so many of us do a great job of finding the silver lining in that cloud, it can still cast shadows on us.
The statistics show that T1Ds are at higher risk for depression and to me, that’s a no brainer. This disease drains you, mentally, physically, emotionally even though we are all fighters….
We aren’t immune to feelings just because we are strong.
I need to remind myself of that. I’m allowed to feel overwhelmed some days. I’m allowed to be depressed. I just need to make sure that when I feel this way, I acknowledge it, and I do my best to climb out of the hole – not sit and dwell in it.