When you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, you normally go through the normal emotions of denial and anger. Unfortunately, for many, long term depression sets in. In fact, diabetics suffer from depression at a rate of 2 to 4 times the non diabetic population. And anxiety is also an issue – diabetics are 3-5 times more likely to suffer from it.
It’s easy to understand. While you likely know that you’ve still got plenty of time left to experience many of life’s great experiences, you are probably pretty overwhelmed. All the discussion of changing your lifestyle, taking medications, possible complications, blood tests, and taking insulin shots would be enough to bring even the most peppy and upbeat people down.
You know, it’d be easy for you to feel that your diagnosis is going to create huge problems for you going forward and that you have a right to be depressed. You may attempt to rationalize your feelings in some or all of these ways:
1. You feel diabetes will be problematic when you try to make new friends
2. You may be under the impression that you are now limited when it comes to sports or other activities you currently enjoy or wish to take up
3. You think you are too exhausted to battle difficulties brought on by diabetes
4. You are concerned about the potential complications your doctor spoke about when he or she gave you your diabetes diagnosis
5. You are upset that you no longer have the freedom to load up on junk food or to eat whatever you want to eat, when you want to eat it.
6. You continually focus on the minor hassles of having to deal with diabetes.
Hey, all of these concerns are certainly legitimate reasons to be concerned. But you have to realize that every single one of them can be overcome and dealt with reasonably. Many have done it in the past and many more do it today. You’ve simply got to get into the right frame of mind.
Here are some tips that can help keep you out of a depressed state:
1. Do your best to get your blood glucose under control. You don’t want to become obsessed with it, of course, but learn how to get it under control and monitor it regularly. If you are able to do so, this will be a major positive for you.
2. Develop a habit of exercising regularly. It’s not hard to do, even if you don’t think you can find the time. I walk my dog for 2 miles every morning – rain or shine – and then again in the late afternoon. Went from taking me 45 minutes to just over 30 minutes in less than a month.
3. Talk with a co-worker, friend or family member about how your are feeling. Getting the thoughts out there – don’t keep them inside. You’ll be amazed at how much better you will feel.
4. By all means, understand that your blood glucose level will fluctuate from time to time and that it’s not your fault if the number bumps up once in a while.
I know that depression can be and is a major issue for those suffering from diabetes. Know it very well. But I’ve had first hand success in dealing with depression issues by using these methods. Sure, there are still some down days, but whom amongst us doesn’t have a down day now and again – diabetics and non diabetics alike?
I can’t stress it enough. There are a lot of reasons to maintain a positive attitude along with a good sense of humor. It’ll make your diabetes easier to deal with on so many levels.
Diabetes is far from a death sentence. Go out and live your life to its fullest!