Mental Health and Diabetes


#1

How do y’all deal with mental health issues like depression and emotional eating? I’m writing new content for BT2, but I’d like to gather some other experiences on it as well?

For me, I battle depression every now and then and am an emotional eater. My problems usually come when other aspects of my life feel like they’re out of control or when I feel like no matter how well I manage my diabetes, I’m going to end up suffering from complications anyway. This comes from years of living a healthy lifestyle to prevent getting Type 2 diabetes only to be diagnosed anyway. Though I’ve accepted this is my life, I still ask myself what else I could’ve done. Probably nothing, life just happens.

To be honest, I don’t think I’ll ever not be an emotional eater, no matter how hard I work at controlling my impulse eating or eating out of sadness or joy. There are times when I feel like the cravings are too much to handle and I almost never go for healthy foods, but things I know will give me high blood sugar.

I’ve received counseling on it and am way better than I was years ago. But I still have my down days.

Can anyone relate?


#2

Yes, I too ate according to the health guidelines given out by the government, and ended up with T2. I also get almost insufferable cravings for the most unsuitable food. I don’t usually have snacky food in the house, but if I am in the grip of sugar craving I will buy a banana when I am shopping to try to help myself. The other thing that sometimes help is to work out how much exercise I would have to do to control the blood sugars after a sugar binge.


#3

No
I am a T2, but no can’t relate.
I have my periods of depression, but I have not felt I need to eat anything to solve my issues.
Eating disorders are a separate from diabetes.
My sister recently had bariatic surgery because she was morbidly obese., but not diabetic, No question eating for comfort. She is doing well she has lost 79 pounds and called wanting to know if her morning reading of 84 was ok.
To me this it is a separate topic, which may need to be discussed.
I do not have an eating disorder, just T2

I control my diabetes by controlling what and the way I eat.


#4

Lots of things can drive you nuts. Diabetes is one of them.
What you need to find out is if it is carb craving that is driving you to eat. Go low carb for a month. The first week suks.


#5

Tara - IMO the best way to deal with the emotional eating is by seeing the impact it is having on your blood sugar levels. It also may change the emotional foods you are eating and at the same time turn into an interesting science project.

Get the Abbott Libre, take the emotional snack and then watch. Its interesting to see how different foods will impact your BG.
Who knows maybe that will help curb some of the snacks. If not you can at least see what they are doing to your BG levels and know when to take a puff of afrezza to get them back in line.

In this story a guy saw the impact his morning OJ had on his BG and cut it out. https://www.cnbc.com/2019/01/31/blood-sugar-tracking-useful-for-more-than-diabetes-commentary.html


#6

I found that article an interesting read. It looked at the likelihood that continuous glucose monitor or CGM use will spread to the non-diabetic population in the near future. Physical fitness enthusiasts and dietary biohackers do have an interest in monitoring vital statistics to track their workout and dietary regimens. I’ve seen evidence of this interest in CGM usage in non-diabetes forums.

CGM monitoring can provide immediate insight in how food affects your metabolism. Seeing the numbers in near real time is eye-opening not just to people with diabetes but to gluco-normals, too. We’re faced with skyrocketing incidence of all kinds of diabetes. I think smart and motivated pre-diabetics could benefit immensely from even short-term CGM use.


#7

Terry - I could not agree with you more. They have come a long way since Al Mann invented them. Tim Cook was wearing the Apple watch with their CGM band and I am told it worked really well but for market reasons they held off introducing it. Alertgy.com says they are coming out with a cheap wrist band.

There is no doubt this is happening faster than most think. It will be the greatest aid with the T2s not only from identifying it much earlier but then adjusting diet and augmenting with afrezza as needed to keep them near non-diabetic range. The over all healthcare costs should see dramatic reductions.

Aaron’s 2025 prediction is not that far away and it will take that long for the ADA Standard of Care to catch up. The thing is, for current T2s and prediabetics there is no good reason to wait. The cost of the Libre is not too bad at $2.80 per day and afrezza at $4 a day makes it a no brainer. The CGM numbers don’t lie and hopefully we can bury the current “Treat to Fail” standard of care and stop the insanity.


#8

Interesting perspective. But for me, diabetes and emotional eating are tied together to me. The way diabetes impacts my mental health can definitely impact the way I take care of myself.


#9

Thanks, Jack! I actually eat a somewhat low-carb diet now. It’s less about the cravings and more about my connection with food and how it makes me feel in response to whatever deeper issue I’m facing. I’ve had issues with overeating, too.


#10

My experience in the 21 years since I was diagnosed with type 2 has been that walking is my most valuable resource. I do mostly walk along the waterfront and am fortunate to live in a city with mild winters. But for me walking not only is a spiritual experience but it also lowers my blood sugars.


#11

I consider myself fortunate to have been able to see my diagnosis at 63 as a wake up call and a challenge to reevaluate my health to continue to enjoy my life.


#12

When my doctor told me that I was on my way to diabetes (TD2), I was shocked. I already had been diagnosed with celiac disease and Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. Although I had family members with TD2, I could not believe that a small fit woman could develop diabetes. Concerned about the possibility of my having TD1 because celiac disease and TD1 are strongly linked, I recorded my blood sugar after every meal. I researched, went LCHF and continued to record my blood sugar until it steadily becam normal — not prediabetic ranges. My doctor recommended that I continue my diet though I could see that he did not feel comfortable endorsing it (five years ago) even with the data set before him.

Five years later, I am holding off the progression of TD2 and alway watching for TD1 (I did not push for antibodies testing and chose to monitor instead). A keto diet or “eating to your meter” can work.

My goal is to avoid medications because I frankly have too many allergic reactions even to Acetaminophen. Metformin works great but I hestitate to use it because I already have GI issues and allergic reactions. So, diet is critical.

How do I handle depression? I am already low carb, gluten free, have a variety of food intolerances and allergies. That is depressing alone! Not missing the food, but food prep can be overwhelming at times since being gluten free prohibits me from eating out as cross contact with gluten can mean months of setting off not just celiac disease but aggravating my other autoimmune issues. I exercise. Feeling bad? I head out outside to walk or run. I ride my bike and I hit the pool. I swim and teach a water aerobics class one day a week. The comradery I experience in the class is uplifting and fun. We even meet for coffee afterwards.

It is great that you are dealing with diabetes now, before it causes damage. You will fall off the wagon, but that is okay. Just get back on it. Forums like these help me to stay on track. I also team up with friend who is prediabetic and will walk and talk at a moments notice.

Hang in there. You will figure out the best coping methods to help with depression!


#13

In diabetes, we are trained by books, television, doctors, parents, and friends that we shouldn’t eat candy, birthday cakes, ice cream, pizza, and chips.

This is a quiet but significant conversation you have with yourself over and over, perhaps before every single meal you eat. And it doesn’t help you. Instead, it might be making you feel as though the disease is trying to control you, limit you, and deprive you. You want to fight it. Gain control. Gain power over the disease by saying, “Shut up! I’m gonna eat whatever I want.”

But you pay the price in guilt, denial, high blood sugars, and weight-gain. You abuse and overeat the food simply because it is “off-limits.” In the end, your actions are still being controlled by food.

Imagine, instead, if you told yourself, “I can actually eat whatever I want. This is my body. I choose. I’m the one who puts the food in my mouth. No one can stop me.”

Instead of feeling limited, you have every option, and every choice. You choose to respect your body by not overeating. Even when you choose candy, you are in control, not fighting. Instead of choosing candy with shame, in an attempt to fight against the reality of your life with diabetes, you are choosing it proudly, with awareness of your diabetes management. You take your insulin, and enjoy the food.
https://hghtherapydoctor.us/hormones/endo


#15

to Charlotte001

This is my first post to these forums, I have been T2 for 21 years, I have always had this dark cloud of being sick hanging over my head. I was diagnosed Bi-Polar in 2001, manic-depressive with a rage disorder. I had 9 months of therapy and am now and will be taking meds for this condition for the rest of my life. The meds actually do a good job at leveling me out, but there is this quiet defiance towards the diabetes (I have never skipped meds, but have gone months with out testing, and eating what I want). At this time I am happy to say I have cracked down and my A1C has hit the low 7s, this is down from 11. Your reply has opened some new windows and maybe a new coping mechanism for me. Thank you.

I have read and heard this all the time.

> "In diabetes, we are trained by books, television, doctors, parents, and friends that we shouldn’t eat candy, birthday cakes, ice cream, pizza, and chips."

it doesn’t help to hear this or see it, it just fuels my defiance.

This is a quiet but significant conversation you have with yourself over and over, perhaps before every single meal you eat. And it doesn’t help you. Instead, it might be making you feel as though

> the disease is trying to control you, limit you, and deprive you.

You want to fight it. Gain control. Gain power over the disease by saying, “Shut up! I’m gonna eat whatever I want.”

This is exactly where I sit, a lot of the time.

But you pay the price in guilt, denial, high blood sugars, and weight-gain. You abuse and overeat the food simply because it is “off-limits.” In the end, your actions are still being controlled by food.

Imagine, instead, if you told yourself, “I can actually eat whatever I want. This is my body. I choose. I’m the one who puts the food in my mouth. No one can stop me.”

this is where I go… but I have no control the urges are still controlling me.

Instead of feeling limited, you have every option, and every choice. You choose to respect your body by not overeating. Even when you choose candy, you are in control, not fighting. Instead of choosing candy with shame, in an attempt to fight against the reality of your life with diabetes, you are choosing it proudly, with awareness of your diabetes management. You take your insulin, and enjoy the food.

I wish the books and people around actually knew this, your comments have helped me understand a little more.
I also believe that me being able to “talk” to someone will help too.


#16

Charlotte, what a beautiful response! It’s interesting that when I do tell myself I am going to eat a certain food, maybe higher in carbs and/or fat, I declare I am going to enjoy it and make the necessary medical adjustments, either through insulin dosages and/or exercise. Those moments are when I feel more in control of myself, instead of when I have low moments and seek solace in food. That’s when the guilt sets in. It’s an ongoing battle and my life as an emotional eater.

Your response really spoke to me. Thank you.


#17

Thanks CyclingLady!! You’re right – we all fall off at times, and we can get back up or find ways to manage diabetes that work for us. If things get too hard w/ my management and if that leads to depression, then something is wrong, internally, and usually signals that I need to make an adjustment that will make me happy.

How do you deal with meal prep being overwhelming? I used to be a strict meal-prepper and would prep meals days in advance, but it got to be too much and now I just make batches of certain foods and cook a couple of times a week.


#18

I do food prep on certain days (like when I have lots of energy). I freeze a lot of items and base my meals on what is either in season or on sale. I have to cook because it is really hard to eat gluten free and avoid cross contamination. I also sit down and take 10 minutes to make a shopping list and plan meals. This helps a lot!

To offset meal prep, I do no cooking on Sunday. It is my day to relax, ride my bike or take a nap. We usually eat soup, salads, stews or tacos on my day off.


#19

I have always cooked fresh everyday, I learned from an old Italian woman, she showed me how to shop fresh each day. so food prep is just part of life. I am not sure what I would do if I did not fuss with pots and pans before Dinner
I had dinner with an old group of friends 30 years plus, I was surprised they said I taught them how to eat fresh veggies.
Even now each night I still steam. Veggies, cook some protein and make a fresh salad with a bit of cheese. /Although some of the ingredients have Changed since becoming a T2


#20

I also plan my meals,eat as fresh as I can. I feed my husband also , so what he eats plays into account. I try and enjoy my food. I have oatmeal,nuts,berries every morning . By night it is vegetable and protein. I also eat a small snack before bed,15 carbs. It is just my routine now. Nancy50