How do you handle long term diabetic depression?


#1

I will be the first person to admit that I suffer from depression, according to the records of my therp it is CHRONIC, SEVERE, LONG LASTING DEPRESSION, I have had it for over 25 years, I have learned to deal with it most of the time. There are times however, when I don't do well with it, and my mood affects my diabetes treatment. I take meds for this problem also, along with several other problems which don't have anything to do with my "D". When I get depressed, I don't care what I eat, what I do, where I go.,...but I will take meds. When this chronic disease gets to you what do you do for yourself that brings you around again?


Diabetes and Depression
#2

I have suffered from depression for a number of years, and have tried various things. The best thing I have found is ongoing talk therapy coupled with the use of antidepressants. Doing one or the other is no sufficient for my purposes. Good Luck, I know this is painful. However, do remember one thing,no matter how deep it gets, it will pass. The cloud will pass. Yes it is tough, but trust me it will happen. It always does.


#3

One thing that it's important to remember about Depression is that there is clinical Depression (Major Depressive Disorder) and others who may experience symptoms of Depression but don't have all the criteria for a diagnosis. Not to minimize the affects of the latter, especially on our ability to manage our D 24/7, but it is, in fact a different animal. Nearly everyone has experienced feelings of depression at times and found simple things that help, some of which are described above. For a person with clinical Depression these things will be insufficient. As we know depression of all levels is common with people with chronic illness like D. But if people with clinical Depression are told to "cheer up", "think positive", etc it won't do much and maybe even add to their burden by making them feel guilty for how they feel. The only recourse is to be assessed by a Mental Health Professional (preferable to a PCP, as this is their field of expertise) and considered for, as Rick says, therapy and medication. Major Depressive Disorder is biological as well as situational, emotional and psychological; it usually needs to be treated on all those levels. The best example I had was when a friend said, "My life is good, I have a good career, a good husband and family, yet there is a dark cloud hanging over it all that won't go away."


#4

Through my long years of depression and other ABC's of mental health, the wisest thing a therp told me was "To make the healthiest decisions for MYSELF in all situations and at all times, They may NOT be the right decision, may not be the best decision for someone else, but if they are the healthiest decision for ME, I have done my best" It fits in all situations or at least most.....and I live by it, I also try to have a very positive attitude about my diabetes, I haven't had any major problems in 13 years, but, with the small ones I have had, I remember, that I am in charge of what I do, or don't do, Diabetes is NOT going to kill me there are worse things that could have happened to me, and I can at the very least get this one in control. It just appears, even here, that many people who have diabetes look at it as a death sentence they can do NOTHING about, or a horrible thing to have to deal with, It's not,.,,it can be devastating, it can make life uncomfortable or tedious. But you can DEAL with it, and make it bearable at the least. So we decide, does it run our lives or do we run it?


#5

I'm currently dealing with a fairly major depressive period (going on a year now), which was kicked off by a number of non-Diabetes-related triggers. I too have been diagnosed with chronic depression, and it will likely be something I deal with throughout my life. My depression has a lot to do with childhood trauma and brain damage from a childhood illness, but it is also affected by my blood sugar and the stress of my depression affects my blood sugar, so it can be a vicious cycle if I'm not careful.

In addition to the talk therapy and meds that others have mentioned, I find that my depression is improved/worsened by: eating choices (what I eat, where I eat it), sleep (am I getting enough?), participation (am I getting out of the house?), and a host of other factors. The biggest help to me in making proper choices is good "mirrors" among my friends - folks who I can say, "this is what I'm doing, does that sound right to you?" without being judged for it. It's really difficult for me to view my life objectively when I'm depressed, so safe outside feedback is essential.

One personal tool that helps me that may or may not be of value to you is participating in a Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) skills group. I started attending the group to deal with my eating disorder and disabling depression, but some of the coping skills it teaches seem applicable to pretty much any life situation. If you're interested your therapist probably has heard of it.


#6

I haven't heard that DBT word in a LONG time...it made my face smile, and my heart sing, I went through the phases of DBT a while ago, sometime in the middle of my 20 years in therapy. It is a wonderful program, and I use some of the same tools I am sure that you do, Much of what you have said, I do the same, and I've learned that I am me, if it works for me, that's what is important. I don't have to do what someone, anyone else is doing for their life, this is me, I still have moments of when I think I am not good enough, or doing enough and chastise myself for those thoughts. But it's not the days, weeks, months of doing it like before. You sound as if you have a handle on what is going on with you, and know what happens, and I beieve that's more than 1/2 of the problem,....we all have to deal with our lives in a healthy way, or as healthy way as we possibly can, Good for you RAINBOWCRANE!


#7

Right back at YOU, sdkate! Throughout my career working with people with mental illness and substance abuse I've had people say, "how can you do that work, it must be so depressing?". My answer is always, "no, on the contrary, there is nothing that gives me more joy than seeing people heal, recover, learn tools to live better lives." In October I'll be going to my local Recovery Model drop-in center where I've scheduled a presentation for my Abnormal Psychology students so they can see real people living successful lives with mental illness. My students always love Milestones, but even if they didn't I'd still go just for me! But then, while not everyone there knows this about me, I'm a survivor too - better word might be "transcender". Keep up the great work, sdKate! Is there perhaps a recovery model center where you live? It can be great support to be around others who truly understand when you are experiencing a rough patch


#8

"Transcender" is a great word. Survivor always implies to me that I just squeaked through (which is true, I barely made it through 2 suicide attempts over 20 years ago), but doesn't acknowledge the work that has happened beyond that survival. Some days it's acceptable just to survive the day, but I have had quite a few moments of living joyfully among the circle of friends and cloud of witnesses I've built over the years.

Thanks for the term Zoe, I think I'll borrow it :-).


#9

What meds do you take? I was diagnosed with clinical depression years before I was diagnosed with diabetes. I've taken one Prozac a day for thirty-five years and it keeps my depression at bay. I'm usually always in a pretty good mood. Keeping busy helps, too. When I'm bored, I can get a bit down. Talk to your doctor about trying other anti-depressant meds. Different ones work differently on individuals.


#10

Good advice, LeeBrownIU. Many people just try one medication at one dose and if it doesn't work or has side effects they give up on meds. Sometimes it takes several tries to find the right medication at the right dose for a given person. Also I strongly recommend going for an assessment to a mental health professional and if meds are recommended seeing a Psychiatrist to prescribe them. Many people who think they might have Depression just go to their PCP and they are definitely not the experts on psyc meds.


#11

And most anti-depressants take several weeks to "kick in".


#12

Another important point; to someone in the throes of deep depression those weeks can seem like forever and since they are feeling hopeless to begin with...


#13

That is why I sincerely think a mental health professional needs to be or should be part of your medical team. As it doesn't appear that a cure is coming tomorrow, this is a long term illness, and it is bound to get to you at some point, Seeing a mental health professional doesn't mean that you are "nuts" it means that you realize that there are somethings we can' handle on our own....we need to be able to have someone to bounce ideas off of. And lets face it as much as I love my husband, he will try to be sensitive to my wants rather than what I really need to hear, It doesn't mean that you see them once a week for the rest of your life, but someone who can see you as need be, They can put you in contact with a psych and you go from there for the meds that will work for you,


#14

I think there may be a different between clinically diagnosed depression and diabetes' tendency to "get to you" at some point. I'm sure it gets to me and I blow off a lot of stuff as long as my BG is ok however I am totally disinclined to go to another doctor given the # of other doctor appointments that I've had this year between diabetes and several other medical adventures which, while not specifically diabetes related, nonetheless seemed to have some relation (leg swells, foot turns black and blue *eek* and then the whole infected armpit cyst excitement...) which required extra attention, etc. My head is my head and will just have to take care of itself for now. I think that having you folks to talk to or just to read threads by helps me think that diabetes is controllable and makes it less depressing. But that's just me...


#15

There is a lot to be said for "it" being in your head, acidrock. And if a strong guy like you can handle his depression by himself, without the help of another doc, more power to you, Some people, though, like myself and others have issues that came before diabetes and then to throw a life long disease at us, makes matters even more harder to deal with. When I first read your post, I thought, had I read something like this last week, I would have heard you say "I was weak and couldn't deal with my own problems, I had to call in the militia, shame on me," When with all the sense I have in my head, all the things I've learned thus far in life, and I'm willing to bet that I am a lot older than you, I know there are somethings, I can't deal with alone, be they past life experiences compounded by health issues, and life issues, I don't think we can say "buck it up and deal with it"; but we can be supportive to those people who do feel the need to have some doctoring help. I hope that your medical problems are at a healing point, and life is treating you well,,,,you are a lucky man!


#16

When my psychiatrist told me that I would never get over it back in 2005, I got angry and began a quest to learn all I could about it. Thank God I did that. Thanks to Dr. David Burns' book, "The Feeling Good Handbook", some well chosen supplements, and lots of outdoor exercise and activities, I no longer suffer from depression. It was one of the hardest quests I've ever embarked on, but also one of the most rewarding. What got me to endure was learning that I could do more than I thought I could.


#17

cogratulation for being so wise and caring for yourself


#18

Hi ALL...lurking awhile now but this caught my attn. I am 64, and been depressed most of my life, from when I was school age anyway. everyone here is correct, so this is all great advice. BUT one for sure..its all in our thoughts, and perceptions.
so I dont watch news, Im retired so on web most of the day...read very chosen news also.
GIGO was an old PC term which stood for Garbage In Garbage Out...so we must be attentive to this also...I DONT think about either Depression or Diabetes..I ah...well..Deny I have it LOL. not trying to be funny, just that Im alone all day mostly...Gotta watch what I say to me.
What u give attn to...u give power to.
The wife works in a direct care facility where all the peeps are very disabled...these are the ones unwanted, and no one wants to care for (state properties)
When I get down I think of these folks...who cannot do for themselves even the basics. Or those there who, like all of us are a fall away from being mentally ill. so these are people get to ask God why b4 anyone I feel. Yeah somehow the pains they endure far greater than any I have known... make me grateful, and there is a greatness in being thankful for all we have, always & in everything. Having a faith, built on eternal truths also is a good idea. Best rick
I research a lot. I FEEL Ive found a way to beat this!! but its expensive, and well must take a ton of supplements.
Think THEY know this?
sure


#19

I am a newly diagnosed diabetic (was diagnosed last Aug).Years prior to diagnosis, I'm already experiencing intermittent bouts of depression because of my alcoholic father & several other factors. When I was diagnosed, I felt that my depression got worse. My depressive episodes became frequent & profound. And eventhough I know that I'm suffering from depression (I'm a psychology graduate thus the knowledge about mental disorders), I refuse to acknowledge it because of the stigma of being labelled mentally ill.Fortunately for me, when I'm around other people, I don't feel down & gloomy but when I'm alone, its when my melancholic state kicks in. I don;t take any anti-depressants or go through counselling. I just do those things that relax me (like going to church or going out with my boyfriend) to manage my depression.


#20

Having a chronic disease can be depressing, and I believe it takes a very strong person not to at least at sometime get down about it. I think you both, trenia and wehnee, both have the right idea, and do what works for you. Helping others, being with others is a great way to deal with the depression that can come from having a chronic disease. Wehnee, be aware, that your label of mental illness can and often does cause it to become worse. There is NOTHING wrong with being depressed, it's a part of life for many people, not just people with a chronic desease like diabetes. You are allowed to have sad feelings for yourself. But not getting help if you need it, is where things can go from bad to worse. I have an alphabet soup of mental and emotional problems, I came by them honestly from the life I have lived, they have made me strong enough to live with diabetes and other things in my life. Give yourself a break, and be what is....Depression can be overcome, it just takes work and determination, And NOT being afraid to seek the help you might need,