Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Other D in My Life

Since this blog's inception, I have known that I needed to write this post. I believe that talking about issues (like diabetes) can help spread accurate information and help to reduce stigma. Not only do I struggle with the stigma of being diabetic, but also the stigma of having depression. I also have anxiety, but that can be its own post.

The first reaction to hearing of my depression is usually disbelief. The next reaction is that it's not so bad. Life is great. The conversation usually goes something like this: "No! You don't seem depressed. You just need to cheer up and see the positives in life."

The common assumption seems to be that depression is a personal weakness. I'm not strong enough to deal with the realities of life. Another assumption is that I choose to be depressed. Why I would choose depression is completely beyond me.

I don't seem depressed to outsiders. That's a big problem with these "invisible" diseases. You can't see the pain I'm in because I've left my infusion set in too long, just like you can't see  what's going on inside my head. That doesn't make it any less real to me.

I received my official diagnosis in 2010, and I started medication shortly after. I wish I could say that everything got better and it's all sunshine and rainbows now, but it's not. I started taking medications in 2010, and I haven't stopped. They have been working (mostly). These days, my depression is manageable. I can deal with it, and push through the fog. Sometimes I have to work a little harder to see the sunshine, it's true. The point of medications is not to make me happy; the point is to bring me back to even, so I have the same opportunity to be happy as everyone else.

Does depression affect my diabetes? You bet your behind it does. On the bad days, the days when it's hard to get out of bed, I force myself to do the things I need to do to stay healthy. I know everyone has bad days, so this isn't unique to someone with depression. Some days I need to remind myself to take it one blood test, and one bolus at a time.

In general, my body is extremely sensitive to stress. Having depression/anxiety issues does not help with that. The stress induced by my chemistry lab made my blood sugar rise 200 points during the first two labs, and then I got smart and increased my basal rate during lab. Performances, (watching) sporting events, and the most random sources of stress make my BG soar.

I know there are more people out there like me. I know there are other diabetics, maybe some reading this blog right now, who also have to deal with depression. If you aren't comfortable speaking about your depression, that's fine, not everyone is. I do hope that by putting this out there I can spread a little bit of information, or reduce the fear around the D-word. Maybe I can allow someone out there to know they aren't alone, that they aren't the only one trying to slay more than one dragon.

If you think you have depression, you need to find someone to talk to. The first steps are the hardest, but in the end you'll be thankful you took them. 

1 comment:

  1. This post is pretty timely for me. I was misdiagnosed Type 2 about 2 1/2 years ago and started on anti-depressants a little over a year later, followed not long after a change in diagnosis to Type 1. I was finally addressing a problem that I think existed for a while before that. It has been an up and down ever since but more recently a lot more down than up and I have just begun therapy sessions. It seems like each of the D's makes the other harder to manage at times but getting help, rather than trying to handle it alone, is definitely a necessity.