Is diabetes causing depression?

By Chelly82 Latest Reply 2014-01-06 15:00:57 -0600
Started 2014-01-03 10:35:30 -0600

I just turned 31 years old, and about 8 months ago I had the whipple surgery and my whole pancreas was removed, which left me a type 1 diabetic literally overnight. I have been having trouble with choosing my meals and insulin dosage since I got out of the hospital. Over the last couple of weeks I just got to the point where I don't eat for days because besides the fact that since the surgery I have horrible gas pain after I eat or drink anything, I hate sticking myself with the needles. Some days its fine, but there are only a few spots on my body that don't really hurt when I have to inject myself, and after a while of using the same spots they become sore so it hurts anyway. I stopped eating because the last couple of times I had to inject myself I was literally in tears. I'm sick of this already, and it's never going away. Has anybody experienced this?

21 replies

EJMac 2014-01-06 14:52:17 -0600 Report

My dear-I had the whipple about 10 yrs ago. It's a big deal. Everything changes of what & how you eat. I had the head of the pancreas removed and ended up using insulin about 2 yrs after the surgery. I give myself the shots in the stomach. I get tired of it too at times, but you just keep truckin. Are you taking the prescribed pancreatic enzymes ? They make a huge differance as long as they are strong enough. Eating large meals or fatty meals still gives me problems. It's true that eating is not as fun as it used to be. As the years go by (thank God I'm not dead) I have to monitor BG more and more. It does get better after awhile, but as I age it needs more attention again. Congrats that you were one of the lucky ones that could have a whipple, Best of luck and health to you.

Chelly82 2014-01-05 17:28:32 -0600 Report

Thank you everyone for replying. I guess the insulin pump would be a good solution to the problem I have with the needles, but I'm not sure if it would work for me right now because my diabetes is not controlled. I am having a lot of trouble trying to figure out what to eat and how much insulin to take. I sometimes take too much insulin so I don't have to stick myself again if my bs goes too high after I eat, and because if it goes too low I can always tell and I know what to eat or drink bring it up. I have an appointment with my dr in a couple of weeks, so I will definitely talk to her to see if she can help. I've always been a happy person, but now I'm so sad all of the time. I sometimes wish I never had that surgery even though I know it may have saved my life. I just hope that this feeling goes away soon, and I can feel like a normal person again.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-01-05 16:41:55 -0600 Report

Hi Chelly,

Glad you checked in here!

And as others have suggested, it might help to first tackle the issue of how to deal with the needle in a way that you can tolerate better.

But the words "depression" and "never going away" raised a flag for me. People who are living with diabetes are at risk for depression. It sounds like you are feeling pretty low, and as you said, not seeing how things are going to get better. That can be the depression talking.

Here is an article I wrote awhile back that you might find helpful:

What you are experiencing is treatable. I encourage you to talk to a counselor about what's going on in your life. Just having someone who is a good listener, and who can help you to learn some coping skills, maybe a new perspective on what's possible in your life, could make a big difference.

Don't go through this alone. Reach out for help -- both with the needle as well as with your emotions. Support is power!

And stay in touch with us.


melissa1987 2014-01-04 17:49:58 -0600 Report

I get depressed all the time… So your not alone n yes needles suck n I wish I could afford to get the insulin pump like others can

msann 2014-01-04 16:48:38 -0600 Report

hi hope you will be better what is the whipple surgery take care!!!

Chelly82 2014-01-05 18:06:09 -0600 Report

Thank you. The whipple procedure is used to remove pancreatic tumors. I had a large tumor on my pancreas. My surgeon originally thought he would be able to save at least a small piece of my pancreas, but in the end had to remove my whole pancreas, part of my bile duct, my spleen, my gallbladder, and had to remove a vein from my neck to replace a vein near my heart ( I can't remember which one I believe it was the portal vein) because the tumor was wrapped around it.

dagger1234 2014-01-03 22:56:11 -0600 Report

I've been on insulin too but I inject myself in the stomach on each side every other day. Try that and pay attention to where you inject and inject yourself all over. Take pics if u don't remember. Ask your doctor to see elsewhere, where u can prick. Good luck.

Jennieetch 2014-01-03 19:46:26 -0600 Report

Yes to a point. Unfortunately not eating will cause your sugars to go higher and you will end up hospitalized with ketoacidosis, cause your body goes into starvation mode. A huge stress on your body. Trust me you feel like crying a hundred times more with DKA. I've started using multiple sites for one injection. I take 45 units of lantus (which seems to hurt the most) but I was only told this in nursing school never by any doc that you're only supposed to inject I think it was no more than 15 units in any site. It hasn't been so painful. By doing this I'm not so sore. I also noticed I was injecting myself on an angle. I've been mindful to inject straight in instead of on an angle. I have finally realized not eating is the enemy. Try to eat something. Drink a lot of water that helps with your numbers also. Stay strong!! Stay positive!! Diabetes is a huge downer..I'm learning only if you let it. One of my goals is to get off of my anti-depressants and anti-anxiety meds.

Jennieetch 2014-01-04 07:10:56 -0600 Report

I just assumed you are on the pen. If you're on regular syringes where u have to draw the insulin into the syringe ask your doc about the insulin pens. All u do is dial in the number and they have different size needles for them so u can try different sizes and find what's most comfortable.

Chelly82 2014-01-05 18:17:25 -0600 Report

Thank you I didn't know about the body going into starvation mode. When I don't eat I don't have to inject any insulin and my bs just stays the same, so I didn't realize it would be a problem. I do eat but its usually when I haven't eaten in so long that I am literally starving. The more than 15 units at each site really makes since to me now, because it definitely seems to hurt worse when I have to inject a lot of insulin. I am supposed to take Humalog before every meal, which I have the pen for, but I also have to use syringes to take 36 units of lantus.

jayabee52 2014-01-06 11:43:12 -0600 Report

When your body goes without food for 8 to 12 hrs you will undoubtedly get a "liver dump" of glycogen (a stored form of glucose) That is a way your body has of keeping you safe and conscious. Even folks who don't have diabetes have this reaction, but because their pancreas' actually work, they produce insulin to cover any overage in output by the liver.

RE: the insulin hurting, do you take the insulin straight from the refrigerator? If so rotate the syringe in your two hands (rubbing them together) for a couple of minutes. (You can leave the vial of your Lantus unrefrigerated for 28 days) Then inject the insulin s l o w l y. That may help the injection not sting so much.
Also re injection sites: When I injected my NPH I typically used my belly fat roll and I rotated the sites with every injection. I stayed 2 " away from the belly button (umbilicus) and would inject on opposite sides of my belly. I had little problem with scar tissue buildup. (of course I only injected 2x/day it may be different for you)

Praying God's best for you and yours Chelly

James Baker

EJMac 2014-01-06 15:00:57 -0600 Report

James, how are you?I lost touch during the lack of internat over the summer. Are you still on dialysis? Drop a line with an update. I still don't get this new format. I liked the old one batter.

pt hair
pt hair 2014-01-03 19:14:42 -0600 Report

Go on a pump much better. N go talk to diabetic educator. They will help u. Hope your feeling better:)

GabbyPA 2014-01-03 15:46:52 -0600 Report

Yeah, we all do to some degree. It's one thing to be sick for a short time and get better....but this is for the long haul and there are days when that seems like a prison.

So first off, you're not alone in that feeling. It's pretty normal. And equally so, it will get to be more routine as you go. Things do become second nature as you practice and it doesn't seem like such a chore.

As Jaydoubelyou23 said, the pump may be your best friend in overcoming the injection issues. I have found that my outer thighs, tummy near my belly button and then way over on the sides work best for me. There are places where when the needle touches me I know it's going to hurt, I just move it over. I only have to inject twice a day, so I know it's not the same, but those spots help me out.

Right now, diabetes is in the front of everything. Once you find a way to make it part of your life and get a way from it defining your life, it gets easier. Hang in there. We are here to help you through those rough times.

jaydoubleyou23 2014-01-03 14:22:47 -0600 Report

Definitely try getting a pump. It makes life a lot easier! And yes diabetes is linked to depression. You just got to find hobbies to get your mind off it! :) I'm so sorry to hear about your situation. But I have to tell you, definitely do your best to keep three in schedule meals a day. It makes you feel better and it's crucial expecially while you're on syringes.

denipink57 2014-01-03 14:13:36 -0600 Report

my dear, you have been thru so much — no wonder you are depressed. it is time to regroup and rethink. first of all if a pump could help why not at least look into it? yes, it is another change but at best it would get rid of all those nasty needles. try to think about your life as a whole and not just as a diabetic. what are some of your goals? your dreams? what are you looking forward to? what interests would you like to start up? when you think about it being diabetic is only one small part of the whole. you want to better your situation so that you don't hurt and so that you will be eating. eating in itself is a wonderful experience. we are so blessed to have the food we need to nourish our bodies when everywhere people are having to do without. you need to eat to keep up your strength and so that you can control your diabetes. maybe go the library and borrow a new cookbook full of great ideas for different kinds of meals you can prepare for yourself. i just bought one off amazon and i just finished making my grocery list. we (my son and i) will eat two new meals this week, a Chinese stir-fry and a beef shish-ka-bob. the book is for diabetic diets and is chock full of yummy meal ideas.

hon, don't despair. this is hard and you had to go thru that surgery leaving you diabetic but honestly you can just pull yourself up by the boot straps and be the trooper than you can be and make something wonderful out of this new chapter of your life OR you can feel so poorly and so sad all the time that you can't even eat which will make you sick. it is your choice. do something to help yourself and do it today. i am rooting for you :)(

ashley50 2014-01-03 14:02:27 -0600 Report

I also found when i was doing shots to give them on my inner thigh that is a really fatty part of your body. I liked it there better than my stomach.

ashley50 2014-01-03 14:01:28 -0600 Report

I would try to see if you could get on a insulin pump. Then you wont have to do the needle injections. I did that for 2 years, now i am on a pump & it was the best decision ever. Don't give up, we all have our moments. I recommend changing sites on your body every time you give your self a shot, my doctor said its never good to stay in one spot. Hope this helps a little?

Harlen 2014-01-03 13:11:59 -0600 Report

You may wish to think of getting a pump
Saves a lot on needle sticks
It can get us all down from time too time
Best wishes

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