#DSMA Recap: Diabetes/Depressive/Depression

I don’t do this often anymore, but I wanted to touch on last night’s #DSMA Twitter chat. The chat was all about diabetes and depression, how we recognize it, how we treat it, and what kind of resources we lean on when we’re in need.

I learned a lot.

First, some facts. According to a study published three years ago by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in ten American adults report depression. The first paragraph of the web page devoted to it tells the story:
”Depression can adversely affect the course and outcome of common chronic conditions, such as arthritis, asthma, cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, and obesity.”

The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance cites a statistic that says that 8 ½ percent to 27 percent of people living with diabetes also experience depression.

An article published on diaTribe earlier this year takes it a bit further, noting that:
“Diabetes distress is much more common than clinical depression and affects up to 39% of people with type 1, and 35% of people with type 2.”

So depression, or diabetes distress, actually, is a common occurrence among people living with and affected by diabetes. At the same time, there’s a lot of hand-wringing over why we don’t know more about it, and why don’t we reach out more often to those who are feeling this way, and how do we solve this problem?

I’m obviously not an expert, though I can claim to be one of those people who have suffered diabetes distress off and on throughout my 23 years living with Type 1. My biggest problem was that when these moments occurred, I didn’t know where to turn or who to reach out to. And I have to admit to worrying about who to reach out to, because I didn’t want to be seen as a crazy nut, or have my symptoms advertised to the world. I was lucky enough to get through these times with a minimum of help and family and friends who helped me find perspective.

But as in many things, I think the solution begins with ourselves.

We need to make it okay, normal, to recognize the need for good mental health. We need to stress that seeking help when we need it is a normal thing, and it’s a vital part of managing our diabetes. We need to be willing to state this over and over again to people inside and outside of our community. We need to affirm the notion that relying on the resources we need to help us feel better makes us strong, not weak.

And when we see someone who is suffering, we need to hold their hand, look them in the eye, and if we can, help them find their soul and their dignity. This diaTribe post has some great pointers, and links to a number of resources that can help you begin coping right now:

http://diatribe.org/issues/65/learning-curve

If that doesn’t do it for you, and you still feel you need help, please reach out to me and I’ll try to point you in the right direction. Know that if you are living with diabetes and depression, you are not alone. You will never be alone.

I support you… no conditions.
 
 
 

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Comments

  • Karen  On December 4, 2014 at 12:08 pm

    I often experience diabetes distress, diabetes burnout, and depression. Sometimes just slightly and sometimes very severely. I’m sorry I missed last night’s chat (between traveling and Thanksgiving I still don’t have my days of the week straight and I forgot it was Wednesday!!) But I’m very glad to see more discussions about this happening!

    Like

  • cdlefevre85  On December 5, 2014 at 9:11 pm

    Great post! The ‘me too’ factor has been huge for me with both diabetes and depression so I am always willing to be an ear for those who need it during tough times

    Like

  • Scott K. Johnson  On December 5, 2014 at 9:22 pm

    Thanks for sharing this, Stephen, I’m bummed I couldn’t make it.

    I have also dealt (and deal) with depression and it is a difficult thing to wrestle with. I agree that we need to do anything and everything we can to help those who need a hand to hold.

    Thanks again for bringing it up.

    Like

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