10 Responses

  1. The Three Ds: Diabetes + Denial + Depression | Depression Knowledge Info Blog

    [...] Go here to read the rest:  The Three Ds: Diabetes + Denial + Depression [...]

  2. Lee Ann Thill
    Lee Ann Thill October 24, 2008 at 9:12 am | | Reply

    Amy, THANK YOU for posting this. I feel like I’m constantly jumping up and down, waving my arms in vain trying to get people to recognize that denial and depression are not choices people make – it’s a deadly combination which too few professionals are trained to manage and treat. The DOC is filled with people who have found their way with diabetes, but those who are depressed or in denial fall under the radar. The forums and online communities are a great resource, but if you’re someone who’s checking your BG once a month and you have an A1c of +10%, there’s nothing like virtually hanging out with people who scoff at bread and tout 5% A1c’s to verify that you’re a failure at diabetes. As grateful as I am that BDI exists, I’m utterly frustrated and heartbroken that there isn’t some version of it in all major cities. As someone who’s been treated for depression for 19 years and who lived in denial for 18 years, I know that those who struggle with it don’t have the resources or energy to let it be known how much they need a resource like BDI, so I feel it’s the responsibility of those of us who’ve found a way to live well with diabetes to advocate for them and reach out to them. One of the problems that I’ve seen is that the medical community is quick to write off those who are depressed and in denial as just being non-compliant. When my A1c’s regularly sat around 15%, no one wanted to help me because it’s just easier to work with patients who’ll do as they’re told. Once I understood the connection between my depression and my diabetes, I was in counseling teaching my therapists about diabetes and how that had contributed to my depression (and my eating disorder). It’s an absolute disgrace that there aren’t more resources, and people are developing complications and dying while the medical community continues to think it’s just a matter of throwing more diabetes education at people. I’ve wanted nothing more than to be part of the solution because creative expression can facilitate self-knowledge and healing like few other interventions, but the opportunities don’t even exist, and I’m finding that creating the opportunities is a challenge as complex and baffling as the problem. I would like nothing more than to see BDI and it’s programming expand across the country, but in the meantime, people will continue to suffer because the people who are knowledgeable enough to help them are too few and far between. It’s the unseen tragedy of the diabetes community.

  3. Mike Black
    Mike Black October 24, 2008 at 6:59 pm | | Reply

    I am 39. I have had type one for eight years. I was in a constant state of depression followed by constantly trying to beat it. I went through a year of BGS going up and down and up and down. My A1C’s wern’t that bad, but my numbers were all over the board. I fell into O.C.D. about my Diabetes. Had Thearpy, took anti-drepressants… I get a chest pain, I see a doctor. I see a lump on my body, I see a doctor… I have gone to the Doctor so much it became a second hobby. I found myself looking at my body with every change and becoming obsessed with it. If I heard of an aliment, I was convincing myself I had it. Now I am trying a new approach. I have always tried to take good care of my Diabetes. I eat right. Count Carbs and inject. (I was on Omni Pod for a year and loved it but the skin rash was to much to live with for a year) We are all going to die. Diabetes just reminded me of that everyday (that was my drepression). I could get hit buy a bus tomorrow and all my fuss over Diabetes would seem a waste of time.

    Don’t waste time. Live each day as if it is my last. I’m not going sky diving, or living out a dream. I simply live in each moment. Happy, contented, enjoying each meal, counting each carb, injecting and checking BG’s. I’m at peace. If I have a bad BG I no longer get mad, I simply work it… I watch each step of life my family takes and enjoy the sky, the sun and the moon. I still have the crazy knocking on my door, I just don’t let it in. For eight years we have not had Diabetes in our home…We have always called it Live-abetes. Now my personal attitude is finally matching. It is hard. Some nights I’m too tired to get up and take my Lantus. Sometimes I look at old photos of myself and think about how carefree I was about my diet and my health…But I now look forward. My life is being lived right now. So I better start living.

    Thanks for letting me rant. I love this page. Thanks. It’s nice to know we are not alone. That also makes us all stronger.

    Mike Black

  4. Lauren
    Lauren October 24, 2008 at 8:25 pm | | Reply

    There is a lot of denial out there. I found this out when speaking to a type 2 diabetic coworker who had been on insulin for 12 years. She was giving me tips, blah blah, shortly after my dx. Then, when I’d gotten my first A1c post dx and it was in the 5′s, I told her. She said, “That’s good, mine was 12, down from 17.” What?! I couldn’t believe it. Personally, I would not be able to live with myself if my A1c were above 6.

    Lots of diabetics are defensive about their control. I don’t like to “talk numbers” with people anymore, including the abundant T1 diabetics in my own family. My sibling has been type 1 for 15 years and he scoffs at me when I say I feel low at 60. He has to be in the thirties to feel symptoms, and he regards this as a badge of honor. He’ll say, “Do you know how low I can get, and still be fine?” Jeez.

  5. LindaB
    LindaB October 24, 2008 at 10:15 pm | | Reply

    Ah yes the other “d” word. Such stigma is placed on mental health issues.depression with any chronic disease is dismissed by many as a personal defect. it is bad enough dealing with people who are ignorant about the differences between type 1 and type2. You are somehow to blame for your bodies malfunctions. People are quick to judge without learning about the issue or illness.As with past stories you have done, educating both diabetics and people in general seems to be the only solution,I find that may make a difference.
    I have been diabetic since the age of 9, my husband was diagnosed type 2 about five years ago. He is doing quite well. Me not so good. It can be depressing to hear well, if you would just stop eating sugar you will be fine, What did you do to yourself to make you diabetic.
    Doctors using scare tactics, or blowing you off when you try to talk to them about your illness.
    I wish there were more diabetic support groups, for people who are diabetic talking to other diabetics about all the junk we deal with, like a diabetic one on one. Over the years I have been to CDE’s, endo’s, nutritionists, etc. The majority of them aren’t diabetic. All their book learning will never give them a true idea of the day to day we all go through.helping each other through the ups and downs of diabetic daily life. I have been blown off,preached to, and ignored by many in the healthcare profession who feel they know what its like cause they have a degree to back them up, therefore they know all the ins and outs.There is more to diabetes than the diet and testing and carb counting. There is also the fear of the unkown, the fear of the known, and the non-education or miseducation of alot of people with diabetes. I was in ignorance at first due to my age at diagnosis in ’79, went through my teenage years livin it up like I wasn’t diabetic at all. The depression really got bad when in my mid twenties the complications set in.Alot of complications. Angry for years. Not knowing what to do, I finally got a doctor to listen. Now I have been on anti-depressants for close to 20 yrs. This has helped me to deal with the reality of my life.I also sought ought counseling for a few years, that helped quite a bit. I feel better, in my head and in my heart and about my diabetes. I talk to people who ask, and I live every day to the fullest. This disease can take my vision, my kidneys and destroy all my nerve endings, but, I have found out it can’t destroy me.

  6. Windy
    Windy October 25, 2008 at 6:39 am | | Reply

    Amy, thank you for this post. It is evident by the length and honesty in the comments above that there are many women who NEED someone to talk to and to share their struggles. The sites you listed are so great for support. Keep it up! =)

  7. Anita Musser
    Anita Musser October 25, 2008 at 5:44 pm | | Reply

    I was diagnosed at 28 with type 1 diabetes. My blood sugars were really high anywhere from 300 to 600. Then they started dropping really low in the mornings like below 50. I would pass out, mess on myself, end up in the floor not knowing how i got there or where i was. I was so afraid to go to sleep at night for fear that i would not wake up. I was seeing an endocrinologist or about 8 years. He was a foreign doctor and i could not understand him at times. He would get very frustrated because i could not understand him. He quit practicing and i started seeing a general practitioner. But the thing of it is…she is diabetic and on the insulin pump just like me. She has helped me with depression also. I would get so depressed because i knew i was doing my best to control my diabetes but my blood sugars were still out of control and my family would keep telling me that i was scaring them to death. They felt like i was just not listening to my endocrinilogist. Now that i found a doctor who knows first hand what i am going through, i am not so depressed and i look forward to talking to her. I consider her a great friend.

  8. Rebecca
    Rebecca October 26, 2008 at 9:06 pm | | Reply

    I am a mom, I have a daughter with type 1 diabetes, she is 10 and was diagnost when she was 3.

    Sometimes I feel like I am the one who is living with the disease myself but I am not, I wish I could take diabetes from her and give it to me, I know that is silly but I am sure you all understand. Its been one of those weeks of not so good levels.Its exhausting trying to figure out the reasons why, is it sickness, puberty, activity, stress, and dealing with her emotions when she is low or high, I hate to see her like this and it hurts big time, Its funny because I think I can be going through depression and I do not even have diabetes.I can be to hard on myself thinking it is something I did or I was not keeping a closer eye on her levels, I am doing the best I can by weighing everything, keeping a log book and writing the different activity she does in a day to monitor why she is going high or low, changing her sites, seeing if I have to change her bolus or basal rates ect…. It is alot to handle. I am a strong person as well as my daughter and I am very proud of her, I love her very much.

    Its wonderful to listen to other people living with diabetes that they are going through the same things and that we are not alone.

    Thankyou Rebecca

  9. medical information
    medical information December 3, 2008 at 12:04 am | | Reply

    Thanks for sharing this great post! Very helpful.. :D

  10. NGJ
    NGJ June 17, 2011 at 4:42 pm | | Reply

    Thank you all for your info. It is soo helpful to hear your perspectives. I am 38 yrs old and my 42 yr old brother is a Type 1 diabetic and I suspect he has the 3D’s as you all described. He was diagnosed when he 10 yrs old. When we were younger my parents were always nagging him to take his blood sugar levels. Well after all these years he still doesn’t ever take his blood sugar levels but instead just blindly adminsters insulin shots. I just got home from taking him to the ER because he was dilusional and called me from work saying he was loosing his mind. When we got to the ER his blood sugar levels were 408. They gave him a shot of insulin and within a few hours his levels were back to 180 and he was back to his old angry self saying the hospital is wrong…..his sugar levels didn’t cause this problem that something else is going on. The trips to the ERs happen a few times of year. To complicate things, he also was diagnosed with epilepsy 3 yrs ago which essentially means he has seizsures while he sleeps (not low blood sugar seizures). My mother and I are sick over his situation. He is a smart and handsome guy but angry, depressed and in serious denial about taking his blood sugar levels. We are scared something really bad is going to happen. Does anyone have any advice? Are there any resources we can leverage? We are desparate to help him but don’t know what to do. thanks for listening. – NJ

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