Can depression be "ok" ? Or not

Let me preface my thoughts (half baked such as they are) saying I’ve been diabetic so long that I cannot remember a time when I was not diabetic. Being barely out of diapers at the time may well have something to do with that, However, being diabetic this long… I know in my bones that ~many things~ might cause me “trouble”… hopefully “not today” but potentially trouble at some point none the less.

A while back I wrote a good description about diabetes as I understand this beast that we all share

Anyway here’s my basic question… as a Type 1 diabetic with more than a little experience of the disease. I believe that, for many particularly those brand new to the disease, they have a perfectly GREAT reason to be “depressed”. Very, very normal and with perfectly excellent reasons! They should be even. Can that kind of ~depression~ be “ok”? (ie Their universe has been turned totally upside down, it takes a while to learn the new “scary” habits, the new rules of coping… a while to regain any mental balance, a better perspective. )

Those of us with a bit more experience, or even a lot more for that matter, can we be depressed about this disease anymore? Because of our diabetes expereince, something many of us have had for 10, 20, 30, 40+ years… the daily rituals, the annoyances are so engrained into us…

How do you determine “depression” at that point? With heavy diabetic experiecnes how would you determine depression? Is it the same as for those new to the disease or is it a different “flavor” in some way? All of us share the same struggles, (testing, shooting, highs, lows) but do we get the same depression, if it happens? Can that be “ok”?

I do not know the answer what do you think???

I have been a type 1 diabetic for over 30 years. Lately my diabetes has not made me depressed because my A1C has gone down the past 2 times I have had it checked. The frustration of when things go wrong when I am trying very hard to manage my disease can make me feel angry. Things like pump malfunctions causing sugars to sky rocket when I am trying to keep my BG under a certain number or lows when I calculated my humulog needs per the carbs on the box of my frozen lunch plus BG and IOB (esp. when this happens at work). Not being able to exercise when I had planned because I need to lower or raise my BG. The fear of complications in the future or the fear that I will never have good enough BG control to bear children after this recession stops financially kicking me in the arse. I am unsure if I am depressed or not but I definately feel frustrated. I keep better charts than almost all of my doctor’s patients and I feel I deserve better BGs and A1cs. I am rereading Pumping Insulin, continuing to educate myself with other material and am motivated.

Hello Sarah:

First thank you for taking part…

I wish I did not understand, but I do…as will anybody with even close to your experience… IMHO. Now I won’t belabor the point (and will likely get “attacked” by some for proposing it), but it sounds to me like your pump isn’t meeting your expectations for/of it.

Regardless after 30 years do you believe/think this frustration, this bone deep annoyance we do experience could qualify as “depression” ? It is the same things which our newer diabetic peers experience? Or are you and I others like us 20, 30, 40 years encountering something very different than “they” might be?

I wonder can you seperate something out that is so fundamental, so essential a part of who we are… (sic. though surely not our only parts, right)? What do you think…?

PS What’d you think of my linked metaphor above as someone with some “time in” themselves?


I’ve been a type 1 for 13 years now, and I went through the stages of grief after my diagnosis. I went to a therapist to work through the issues too. And I’ve been on meds for depression. I never had any depression prior to developing diabetes at age 28, and I’ve struggled with it off and on over the past decade plus.

I’ve read diabetics have a higher incidence of depression. I’m not sure if this comes from living with this disease or if people who develop diabetes are more prone to depression. I think its a coping mechanism for newly diagnosed diabetics. For those who have lived with it longer, I think it wears on your physically and mentally, and we’re going to get into a funk over it. The challenge is to realize what is going on and do something about it, whether you join a support group, go to a psychiatrist and get some meds, or go to a therapist to talk about it. No matter what is chosen, do something to help yourself!

Hello Cara:

Thank you for taking part as well. As someone with 10 years, do you believe the emotions, the condition we’re trying to get our heads around… to be the same or different from that of a beginner, a newly diagnosed person?.

What IYO defines this “depression” exactly? When does the ~funk~ you mention become something else? Something that requires some type of treatment per se? Does all anxiety, all severe irritation, mind numbing frustration necessitate/mandate “treatment”…?

I don’t know the answer but do have questions…

I recently posted something along these lines.

I’ve been diabetic and depressed for so long that I can’t even seem to separate the two as distinct issues. I have “bouts” tho where the depression is definitely worse. There is a lot of mental stress and pressure with any lifelong condition. I sometimes wonder if there is a TSD (Traumatic Stress Syndrome) as opposed to PSTD… we never get to experience the Post portion of the stress

I think all people are prone to situational depression, a natural reaction to a loss—whether it’s the death of a loved one, divorce, illness, job loss, etc.

I think acceptance and adjustment to whatever life throws your way can take time. If you find yourself getting stuck (say, having trouble with self-care), therapy and medication are in order.

I do think adjusting one’s life to de-stress is optimal. I am better now that I work 40 hours per week v. 65 hours per week. I have better control of my blood sugars, which affects every thing, I think.

Hello Elaine:

You make good points… situational depression is “reasonable”. Now for the much HARDER question… should we AS diabetics, should this “maintence” routine most of us perform… should we be “blissful” about it? Whether the activities themselves… or the prospect of them?

“Tomorrow” (the musical Annie) is definately NOT coming from my lips as I take the readings, get them, or at any point along the way! I loathe all of it,… with no excetion, ever… but I also accept the “alternitive” is likely dangerous/worse than doing them. The best of “bad” choices… IMHV.

In my place… am “I” having trouble with “self-care”??? Does this qualify for “therapy” and happy pills??? I do not believe so, but look forward to more thoughts of/from my diabetic peers.

Hello Carol:

I appreciate your views as well, thank you…

Slow death is the alternative. We must fight… An author I like very much speaks of “dispair” through his characters and is most elliquent, poignant even. I like his sentiment (badly paraphrased by me)

you cannot fight despair with despair and win… but with laughter you can.

What did you think of my metaphor linked above? Does it make sense to you?

Hello Scott:

Interesting question… by definition don’t we all have “recall” issues concerning… lows for example? Don’t most of us, not merely members of this particular group, don’t all of us in effect live around the fear of “the next time” that has certainly not happened yet???

I can blather about the benefits of “good control” as being “the cause” for most diabetes actions/habits. But the objective real truth is I will do anything to avoid having that low again. The long term benefits are a side effect, not the real reason at all.

I view depression as a strange bed-fellow who keeps my back warm while sleeping since I know that its still hovering. I’ve had depression for 30 years and diabetes for 19 years, but both depression and diabetes are getting worse and they battle against each other. But one thing I’ve noticed is, since I’m trying to control it, is the sharp kitchen knife takes on a different use at least once a month. But dont worry it hasn’t and will not take control.
Every morning I get up, I go into my dinning room, get a cup of coffee and sit down for my morning ritual of 1 inhail of advair, 3 different types of shots, and a hand full of pills–some of which I dont know what they are for–and take my BS and then try to take my second breakfast. To define depression at this point is a devil in itself where it takes on a new life, then I go into a battle mode and divide and concure to find ways to beat it up.
I dont think its ok to be in a situation where depression rules our lives, as we all have our ways of battling it but it should take a back seat in our lives. We have too many lives to think about, treating ourselves to keep going, helping our close family ties in our homes, our siblings. These are the ones who are there to keep our minds focused, to rely on each day as we get our clotheson and to feel alive. So take chare, no one is better qualified than ourselves.

I truly believe that the feelings you have are the feelings that you have, embrace them, live with them, heal them if you need to in order to live a good life. Diabetes is a depressing disease, as are all diseases that there is no cure, no way to “get rid of it”.
But there are so many ways to live with it, and as unfair as it is, no one would dare walk into a store and ask for a can of diabetes. Yet, this is part of the life we received, and we must as best we can learn to live with it, make peace with our bodies, our lives, our disease, and then live, grow and thrive.

I have been in therapy for many, many years, my children are 27 and 22 and they don’t remember a time when my therp wasn’t just part of our family. If you need therapy to deal with the disease, then go for it. Give yourself that opportunity to heal.
(oh, by the way, my therapy had nothing to do with the “D”…I was there when I was diagnosed) Use all the resources available to you to be all that you can be…there is no reason for not living a healthy vibrant life, unless that is one you chose to live.

Hello Cathy:

Thank you for your views. How does one find this “peace” w/ a disease that will kill at the first opportunity that it can make or is ever provided??? It cares nothing for our vigilence, nor our alacrity… it will try and kill us period set fire to the world, whether we are watching, catch it or not.

It will try and escape its chains none the less…

Can we make peace and still loathe the “rituals”?

Do you really think that Diabetes and Depression battle eachother? I have had depression for 20 years (off and on, always in some manner) and LADA Type 1 (1.5) for about 2 years. I really think that they are both doing their best to kill me. And if they can’t kill me they are in cahoots to see just how miserable they can make me. But I’m doing my best not to let them win. It isn’t easy by any stretch of the imagination. And I must say that I sincerely empathise with you in your routine. I’ve been down that road many times, but when you’re going through hell you have to just keep going. The only way out is through :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: It is very cliche, but the truth. My specific struggle is that no one in my life really ‘gets it’ and I feel very alone. This website is very helpful with that - but it would really help if I had a friend. :confused:

Stuart, I read through all of the comments and then went to the metaphor that you suggested. I teared up while reading these words of yours: "Forty years, I have fought to keep it "contained" and have succeeded most days. My armor is dented, broken and in many places my sword is badly notched. I say plainly that I am weary beyond endurance and belief but I still stand and will fight..." For me your words capture a feeling I have been trying to identify for many years.

Depression. Your ideas Stuart are thought provoking and the comments of other peeps living with D showcase the variety of experiences and solutions of/for depression. In my mind epression/deiabetes question is sort of a chicken and egg dilema if you will.

Since insulin is a hormone and part of complex chemical reactions and depression is influenced by hormones and chemicals, does that mean the two are interconnected through a direct hard-wiring? Is it the moment-by-moment monitoring of ones life, the stress associated with the medical biz (i.e., doctors, hospitals, med suppliers, pharms, insurance, etc.) , the degradations of the body at an accellerated pace, the exhaustion of the effort to live a "normal" life, none or all of these things responsible? It is difficult to know.

I do know this, depression sucks and diabetes sucks. Life is suffering, so how do I suffer as little as possible. I do not know what any of the answers are to the depression/diabetes question. I only know that I have battled diabetes for 47 plus years and depression for 30 plus years and I am really tired! Jax

Always know that you are loved, valued and respected. I love this site and I feel right at home here. I am blessed to have support in my everyday life from people who love me, but I come here to talk, learn and get more info from people who KNOW what it’s like.
I get frustrated quite often… I write notes to my disease and tell it exactly how I feel about it. It is a good way to let off some steam!

PS we are all friends here!!!

Hello karebear1966:

We are friends far “tighter”. closer in most ways than our lovers, our lifelong friends, our partners and family! We know what you endure, we experience what you fear… and share them all. Thanks for contributing, apologies for my tardy reply…