In case you didn’t know, October is mental health awareness month, a time to promote awareness of mental illness and the effect it has on our daily lives. For people with type 2 diabetes, paying attention to your mental health can go a long way in helping you manage your diabetes.
Depression and diabetes
Depression is one of the most common forms of mental illness to plague people with diabetes. Depression is more than having the blues. If you experience feelings of sadness lasting more than a few weeks that interfere with your normal ability to perform your everyday duties, you may be depressed. Other symptoms of depression may include one or more of the following:
- loss of interest in things you once enjoyed,
- too tired to perform activities of daily living, such as brushing your teeth or taking a shower. You may lack the energy to test your blood sugar, take your meds, or even prepare a sandwich.
- difficulty sleeping (insomnia) or you may sleep too much (hypersomnia)
- feelings of hopelessness, guilt or anxiety
- aches and pains
- feelings of irritability
- thoughts of suicide or death
The mind-body connection
As you can see, dealing with depression and diabetes can be overwhelming. If left untreated, depression does not go away, it only gets worse and this makes it more difficult to cope with your diabetes. One affects the other; diabetes affects the way you deal with depression and depression affects the way you deal with diabetes. Someone said, where the mind goes the man follows. It’s called the mind-body connection.
If you have been suffering from diabetes for a long time, you may get tired of the hassle — the constant finger sticks, the doctor’s appointments, swallowing meds … this condition is called diabetes distress, and it can feel almost like depression. It can wear you down, but don’t give up. Your health is worth fighting for.
What you can do
If you suspect you are depressed, try the following:
- speak to your doctor, your pastor, or a trusted friend
- spend time with friends and/or family members. Do not isolate
- pray, read scripture, and meditate
- listen to relaxing music
- join a support group for people with diabetes
- ask your doctor to refer you to a mental health counselor who specializes in chronic health conditions
Depressive symptoms along with diabetes are serious and should be attended to without delay. Above all, you should not try to hide your feelings or pretend they don’t exist; they won’t get better if left untreated. Speak to your doctor, have him refer you to a mental health counselor, if necessary, and follow his recommendations. One of the easiest steps you can take is to join a support group for people with diabetes such as Type 2 Diabetics Network, and be on your way to managing this debilitating illness.
A diagnosis of type 2 diabetes can send your life into a tailspin. It can leave you feeling alone and overwhelmed, but it doesn’t have to. Join my type 2 diabetes network group and get the help and support you need.