Quick Poll: Is it important to you to talk about emotional stuff with your doctor?

Dr Gary
By Dr GaryCA Latest Reply 2014-10-06 20:55:48 -0500
Started 2014-09-21 12:35:30 -0500

Are you talking about your feelings with your doctor?

Some physicians are open to talking about emotions. They may be able to offer help or, if not, at least offer suggestions or recommendations. Maybe even a listening ear and some encouragement. Others don’t seem to be so willing to have this discussion. Or don’t feel it is their responsibility to help their patients cope emotionally with their diagnosis and its treatment.

I posted an article awhile back. Here is a link:

http://www.diabeticconnect.com/diabetes-infor...

I’m really interested in knowing about your experiences. Do you and your doctor talk about feelings? If not, is that your choice?

And is important to you to be able to discuss emotions with your doctor?


78 replies

valentine lady
valentine lady 2014-10-06 20:55:48 -0500 Report

Hi Dr. Gary, Great topic snd I want to offet my 2 cents in. I have
a great relationship with my Primary care Doctor. I am very blessed that I have a relationship with him like I do.

valentine lady
valentine lady 2014-10-06 20:42:35 -0500 Report

Hi Dr. Gary, Great topic snd I want to offer my 2 cents. I have
a great relationship with my Primary care Doctor. I am very blessed that I have a relationship with him like I do. Yes I have spoke to him about , my
depression problems and he has adjusted my medications and I left glad that someone listened to me.

ReaderReader12
ReaderReader12 2014-09-26 08:08:47 -0500 Report

My old Dr. was very good…but very fast in and out of the exam room. She saw a ton of patients in a day. So her time in the exam room was sort of in and out. She was great about hooking me up with specialists when need be. I moved out of one system and into another system and my new Dr. is young and I spend so much time with her each visit I sometimes run out of things to talk about. She seems to be a very good listener so I like that. There are so many resources at her finger tips I feel I am in good hands.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-09-26 21:44:34 -0500 Report

Hey ReaderReader,

Thanks for jumping into the conversation. Some doctors just seem to find more time to communicate with patients than others do. Glad to hear you have a doctor who is willing and able to spend more time with you. And a good listener! Excellent! I hope she continues to be so patient-focused.

Nice to see you!

Gary

Grandmama16
Grandmama16 2014-09-26 00:43:03 -0500 Report

Thank you for responding. I got a response from Amer Diabetes Assoc. and didn't get any information on a support group near me, just a phone # of an office in SLC. That's ok…too far to go tho we went that far to meet our newest Grt grand daughter on Sunday. I guess I'll ask Dr about that or a Diabetes educator. I asked my Dr if I could have 4, 30mg Cymbaltas instead of 3 for fibro and depression which I've had for many years. She said she was uncomfortable with that (never has been before)and said She could set me up with a psychiatrist. I panicked and said never mind. It may be because of taking Nuerontin and she still thinks I take 400mgs but I don't. I cut down to 100. It has helped with shooting pains in hands, numbness and even the itching on my ankles and feet…no rash…but taking too much at night makes me very sleepy in the morning. At an office visit the nurse types away but I don't think gets everything. So, things are kinda mixed up. I actually did take 2/60 mgs of Cymbalta , one AM, one Pm, at one time and when I thought I might need more, it got lowered. That has happened with other meds.too. All of a sudden I got 2 doses of Ziac when it's always been one so I tested the results, ok with one. I take Norvasc at night. After some wrangling with Ins I've been allowed Nuvigil and take 1/2 a tablet when needed for day sleepiness. It helps with depression too so that'll have to do. Depression sneaks up on me and so hard to explain. I'm required to have a physical soon so I'm going to get the meds straightened out then. …writing it out myself. Too many things to deal with. I have a sleep Dr too but I just can't stand the CPAP mask and I've tried plenty. The wheeze, whoosh and whistle doesn't help me sleep. Even waking my husband up. . I've had 3 overnight tests and I have severe obobstructive apnea. But still sleep better without it. It was supposed to relieve fatigue. It hasn't in all the years I've had one. Thanks again for answering.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-09-26 21:42:35 -0500 Report

HI Grandmama16,

Thanks for getting back to me with all that's been going on with you. Wow.

I hope you will keep trying to find some kind of a support group. You never know what you might come up with.

You have certainly had some challenges with your medications. It's good to know you are so on top of your dosages, and that you are so aware of how your medications are affecting you. That's so important with medications that affect you emotionally.

I have had other clients with the CPAP machines. Some do well with them but others have experiences similar to yours.

You might want to make a list of your meds, dosages, when you take them, and how you are feeling, and take it with you to your doctor's appointment. I am sure I am preaching to the choir here, but it's really important to make sure your doctors are aware of everything you are taking.

Take good care of yourself. And please keep us posted!

Gary

Grandmama16
Grandmama16 2014-09-25 01:21:33 -0500 Report

My Dr is open to talking about emotions and I like that but the scheduling of appts makes it almost impossible to have much time to do so. My husbands Dr for his Parkinson's is open to talking anytime tho it hasn't been necessary. We go to a support group which helps. I wish there was one for Diabetes or Fibromyalgia around here. I'm checking it out. Conversely our daughter who was going thru Chemo for breast cancer for 4 years,plus surgery and radiation did not want a support group but her Dr gave her a lot of time to talk, as did nurses. I wasn't able to give that to her and I don't think she wanted to give in to it so I didn't press the issue. We were with she and her family to help keep them on an even keel…for 1/2 years. Strength is what she wanted to show her girls. She died with us there in 2006 at 41. I think we all need it but some back off, not wanting to whine about their conditions or being afraid to let go of emotions as I am…even when she died, and when my mom died years before that. I just don't show emotion fearing it will be wrong. I am feeling like the antidepressants I take dry up my emotions. What do you think?

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-09-25 20:43:43 -0500 Report

Hey Grandmama!

So good to hear from you. I am glad you have the support group for you and your husband, along with his supportive doctor. That's great. I hope you find groups for diabetes and fibro.

That is such a heartbreaking story about your daughter. Very sad! I think each person is unique in terms of how much the want to talk about their condition and who they want to talk to about it. Sometimes, patients open up to professionals but feel they need to be strong for their families. I respect their decision, but always encourage people to have some kind of safe place to talk.

I think showing emotion, and getting support, can be a very brave thing to do. It is my experience that, with antidepressants, people don't experience the highs or the lows of emotions. The medication keeps them more even. So they may feel less emotional.

Thanks for sharing this, my friend.

Gary

Stuart1966
Stuart1966 2014-09-24 17:27:08 -0500 Report

Dr, Gary, fundamental question please???

As a mental health professional, do you believe behavior, can be separated from emotion(s)?

If not doctors MUST be concerned with behavior and the emotions which cause them. Behaviors are critical and the fundamental aspect of our disease.

No, sorry the white-coat MD's I've dealt with in the last five decades were interested SOLELY in things they BELIEVED they could treat or merely futilely crush the symptoms of… but never remotely approach the source(s)

Emotional whack-a-mole.

Wish any doctor was daring enough to kick these doors in. It is a serious field with endless work.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-09-25 20:36:05 -0500 Report

Hi Stuart,

That is an interesting question. I think a lot of our behavior as humans is hard to separate from emotions. The way that I was trained, our thoughts lead to emotions which in turn to lead to behavior. So if you change the way you think, you can change the way you feel and behave.

So trying to separate behavior from the emotions behind the behavior is missing half of the picture. It's just not that simple. Whack-a-mole is a good term.

I do understand that doctors don't always feel comfortable opening the emotional door, but being aware of the emotional component is part of treating the whole person.

Thanks for this great question.

Gary

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-09-24 07:19:33 -0500 Report

Hi Dr. Gary,

Yes you should speak to your doctor about medical concerns especially any emotional problems you may be having. I can't stress how important it is to speak to a professional.

Friends and family can be an ear but they are not the best source for giving you the help you need. They don't have professional training and my brush off your problems due to lack of understanding or they may not see it as a problem.

Your ! Oct or can give you medication if needed or refer you to a therapist. Never be afraid to ask your doctor for the help you need and don't be too concerned with what people will say or think. Get the help YOU need.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-09-25 19:29:14 -0500 Report

HI Joyce,

Thanks for this. I agree. Reach out and let your doctor know what you need. Hopefully, your doctor can at least listen and make a suggestion, even if this is a discussion he or she can't have. Most doctors are at least aware of the options for emotional support and treatment.

Gary

dorita1537
dorita1537 2014-09-24 02:35:36 -0500 Report

I talk to the social worker at my clinic, my doctor and nurse. They are all very supportive and understanding

Jamie Emma
Jamie Emma 2014-09-23 20:25:28 -0500 Report

Hello Dr. Gary. First a moment to say hello since I am new here. I've had type 2 diabetes since 5/5/05. It wasn't any shock to deal with for me since I had already been diagnosed with many chronic illness such as SLE (lupus), PsA (psoriatic arthritis), adrenal insufficiency (from taking steroids too long, such as an my gastroenterologist giving me Asacol for 3 years rather than 3 months, plus the same doc diagnosed me with autoimmune hepatitis and put me on prednisone 20 mg TID for 3 months. I believe I had NASH instead, especially from what they saw when they needed to remove my gallbladder which was full of stones (rapid weight loss of 50 lbs)m hypothyroidism, and more. In any case, YES, it is incredibly important that you talk about emotional issues with each and every one of your docs. Some are good are listeners; some suck, some vary from visit to visit. I've found with my endocrinologist that I can tell him anything, and he will sometimes sit quietly, thinking, and come up with a solution to a problem. We finally figured out my double vision and blurry vision this way after I kept looking for 3 years. I ended up with a neuro-opthalmologist who figured things out, but not until the second vision. When I went the first time, he had me have various testing done, finally ending up in his office. Just before my hubby and I entered his office, we were handed flyers on Graves disease. I began to read it and it referred to the patient having hyperthyroidism, but I'm hypothyroid. As soon as he said I had Graves, I told him that respectfully I believed he was wrong. He said in rare cases, some people who are hypo also have Graves. He was nice but far too brief. In the meantime, my endocrinologist ran the appropriate blood work to test for Graves, and it was negative. Bloodwork for Hashimoto's was negative. But then my endo did his deep thinking. He realized that even tho he'd told me there was no way I could have either, he was going to change his mind because I was already being treated for autoimmune diseases so the antibodies for Graves or Hashimoto's would not show up! Ahha! I went back to the neuro-opthalmologist with the story and apologized for my behavior the visit before. He had been shaking his head and agreed with the endo's hypothesis, and then he said my apology wasn't necessary but he appreciated it.

That was a relationship that was lost, but being as specialized as it was, I wasn't going to find another specialist easily. If we hadn't talked, we wouldn't be working together again. It was crucial. So to answer your post, I put in a big YES!

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-09-23 21:54:25 -0500 Report

Hey Jamie Emma,

So glad you found your way to us. Welcome! And great to meet you.

Your post is an excellent example of why patients can benefit from expressing how they're feeling with their physicians. As well as why it's important for patients to do their own research. Doctors can learn a lot from their patients if they are willing to listen, with an open mind, and not be defensive. Everybody benefits.

I also noticed you used the word "respectfully." When we treat other people with respect, even when we're disagreeing with them, they are more likely to be open to what we have to say. And we are less likely to create rifts in the relationship that can't be mended.

I really appreciate that you shared your story. Wow, you have been through so much. I hope you are feeling better, and getting the care and treatment that you need.

I hope you will stay in touch!

Gary

lowney13
lowney13 2014-09-23 16:25:57 -0500 Report

Dear Dr. Gary,
I am a clinical child psychologist and have had Type 1 Diabetes for 17 years and I cannot stress enough the importance of talking about the emotional experience of living with diabetes. As I have had many physicians I have seen the gamut of will ones to talk about emotions, but overall it is downplayed. We know now the physiological impact of emotional states and it can negatively affect your A1C which leads to further stress, anxiety, and depression. One thing that I would encourage everyone to explore is the sense of loss that transpires when someone becomes diagnosed as you no longer can be considered healthy. I have also felt since being diagnosed the tendency to minimize the emotional impact of having diabetes to not burden others or to not have to explain or elaborate. Emotional health is extremely important and often under recognized in the treatment of diabetes.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-09-25 21:33:02 -0500 Report

I never experienced a sense if loss when I was diagnosed. I am a person with diabetes. I also don't stress out over what my Arc is any more than I care who knows I am diabetic. My life does not revolve around being a diabetic. It revolves around doing things I enjoy., being as healthy and happy as possible.

If you think it often enough you begin to believe over time you become what you believe. If you think you suffered a loss when diagnosed or stress out because your Arc isn't what you thought it should be and then add depression to it, you become an unhappy depressive person.

I am stronger and bigger than that. I a positive out look on life. I don't worry about a cure. It may or may not happen in my lifetime. I don't spend time discussing diabetes with family and friends who are diabetic. We have to many other .things to talk a out and do. I control my diabetes it does not control me. I have diabetes it does not have me. Life is too short to spend it I in denial or grief because I got diagnosed. I house to live and enjoy life.

lowney13
lowney13 2014-09-26 13:23:04 -0500 Report

Dear Just Joyce,
I am glad that you feel that way and do not experience stress related to your diabetes control. However, I do not think that is the norm and Diabetes especially Type 1 has a significant emotional impact on people's lives. Everybody's situation is unique and my point was that being diagnosed with a chronic illness is a loss and a life changing event. The healthy thing is to process the emotional impact and accept our situation moving forward. I did not do this when I was diagnosed at 15 and it has taken me longer to accept help and support from others as I did not want to be less than or different. Our situations were most likely very different, but seeking support and help from others and talking about Diabetes is a positive thing. Denial and grief are normal and appropriate responses to a life changing event and I don't want others here to feel bad about those feelings. Also worry and stress about control and guilt about high blood sugars is also normal and being able to share that with friends, family, and our physicians can help us feel understood and validated.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-09-25 21:32:50 -0500 Report

I never experienced a sense if loss when I was diagnosed. I am a person with diabetes. I also don't stress out over what my Arc is any more than I care who knows I am diabetic. My life does not revolve around being a diabetic. It revolves around doing things I enjoy., being as healthy and happy as possible.

If you think it often enough you begin to believe over time you become what you believe. If you think you suffered a loss when diagnosed or stress out because your Arc isn't what you thought it should be and then add depression to it, you become an unhappy depressive person.

I am stronger and bigger than that. I a positive out look on life. I don't worry about a cure. It may or may not happen in my lifetime. I don't spend time discussing diabetes with family and friends who are diabetic. We have to many other .things to talk a out and do. I control my diabetes it does not control me. I have diabetes it does not have me. Life is too short to spend it I in denial or grief because I got diagnosed. I house to live and enjoy life.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-09-23 21:42:41 -0500 Report

Hey lowney!

It's great to meet you. I'm glad you're here!

Thanks for jumping into the conversation, and for saying it so well. I am always so surprised when doctors don't want to talk about stress and emotions with their diabetic patients when, as you said, emotions have a direct impact on diabetes. And I agree that a diagnosis is experienced as a lot. When we have a loss, we go through a grief process. Hopefully with emotional support.

It's always sad to me when clients talk about how they hold back on asking for support for fear of being a burden to others. And I hear it so often.

Gary

Hops
Hops 2014-09-23 12:27:42 -0500 Report

It does help talking about my emotions with my doctor. When we talk about my emotions we move beyond all the medical data, A1C, LDL, blood pressure, creatinine, and he understands I am a human whose health involves a great deal more than managing diabetes. The negative side of always focusing on the data is that doctors will always find something that is worrisome. Sometimes all it takes to get a conversation going about my emotions is to read a book waiting for my doctor.

walks in, sees the book

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-09-23 21:33:10 -0500 Report

Hi Hops!

Good to see you.

Well said!!! Managing diabetes is about a lot more than managing blood sugar levels and symptoms. There is a whole emotional aspect to diabetes, as with any chronic condition, that affects symptoms, self-care, compliance. It's so important for doctors to treat the whole person.

I like that book idea. It's a good conversation starter.

Thanks for sharing this!

Gary

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-09-23 21:33:02 -0500 Report

Hi Hops!

Good to see you.

Well said!!! Managing diabetes is about a lot more than managing blood sugar levels and symptoms. There is a whole emotional aspect to diabetes, as with any chronic condition, that affects symptoms, self-care, compliance. It's so important for doctors to treat the whole person.

I like that book idea. It's a good conversation starter.

Thanks for sharing this!

Gary

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-09-23 21:32:39 -0500 Report

Hi Hops!

Good to see you.

Well said!!! Managing diabetes is about a lot more than managing blood sugar levels and symptoms. There is a whole emotional aspect to diabetes, as with any chronic condition, that affects symptoms, self-care, compliance. It's so important for doctors to treat the whole person.

I like that book idea. It's a good conversation starter.

Thanks for sharing this!

Gary

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-09-23 21:32:26 -0500 Report

Hi Hops!

Good to see you.

Well said!!! Managing diabetes is about a lot more than managing blood sugar levels and symptoms. There is a whole emotional aspect to diabetes, as with any chronic condition, that affects symptoms, self-care, compliance. It's so important for doctors to treat the whole person.

I like that book idea. It's a good conversation starter.

Thanks for sharing this!

Gary

robynkayc
robynkayc 2014-09-23 10:22:29 -0500 Report

I also have a great psychologist and attend 12 step meetings because I am also a recovering alcoholic so that qualifies me. Wish there was a 12 step for diabetes- the sharing and love help somuch.

robynkayc
robynkayc 2014-09-23 10:16:25 -0500 Report

It is very important and she is a wonderful listener, but time is limited, so I also have a diabetic counselor/advocate I can see or call any time!

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-09-23 21:29:03 -0500 Report

Hi Robyn,

Nice to see you.

Glad to hear your doc is a good listener. That is itself a gift! But it sounds like you have a great support team in place, with a diabetic counselor, a therapist and 12-step support. Excellent! 12 support for diabetics -- what a great idea!

Gary

rolly123
rolly123 2014-09-23 07:56:38 -0500 Report

Dr Gary
Thats good topic my doc dont have time most we spend in office is 10 to 15 minuets! She feels i c therapist that she should handle that and therpist think something doc should know she tell doc! I like it like that way going c doc friday my sugar log is very high so we might have time go over few things!
Valerie

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-09-23 21:25:28 -0500 Report

Hey Valerie. I see what you mean. When you only have a few minutes with your doctor, you probably have a lot to accomplish in that short time. I hope you have a conversation with your doctor about that high blood sugar level on Friday. That's an important discussion. Let us know how it goes! Gary

Lucy 57
Lucy 57 2014-09-22 20:34:58 -0500 Report

I have a new Dr. The one I've been seeing for over 20yrs. retired. I'm happy for him but sorry to see him go. My new Dr. seems very good but I can't discuss feelings with him yet.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-09-23 21:23:33 -0500 Report

Hey Lucy, hopefully you can become more comfortable with each other over time. And I suspect those visits are pretty short. So it may take some time. Gary

ladybugsluck9
ladybugsluck9 2014-09-22 15:09:13 -0500 Report

I see several specialists because of the different diagnosis' I have & out of all the Dr.'s I see I only feel comfortable talking to 2 of them about feelings. And 1 isn't even my family physician. I am closer to my Gynecologist, but only see him every 6 months. I'm also close to my Epileptologist but I only see him every 8 months. I feel open to talk with my radiation oncologist, but thank God I don't see him until next year! So all in all, I think as long as you can talk openly with your Dr. whether it's about feelings or not. just be honest about how you're feeling, that is the key! They can't help if you're hiding things.
Darlene

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-09-23 21:22:33 -0500 Report

Hey Darlene!

That was very well said, my friend. Some doctors can have those discussions, some can't. Sounds like experience has taught what you can expect and what you can't expect from each one in terms of talking about feelings. But you bring up a good point, you can still have an open discussion, starting with being upfront.

Thanks for checking in.

Gary

ladybugsluck9
ladybugsluck9 2014-09-23 21:52:02 -0500 Report

Hey Dr Gary, You always seem to bring up those important topics that need to be talked about, but never are! Thanks so much for providing us the space & time to vent & be open & you listening! You are very much appreciated! :)

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-09-26 21:25:49 -0500 Report

Thank you for your kind words! I appreciate you!!! So glad you are here, and always look forward to hearing from you!

Jan8
Jan8 2014-09-22 11:02:53 -0500 Report

I have a psychiatrist for any emotional problems so my Endo automatically refers me to her. He's great at endo problems.that's fine with me.

Gabby
GabbyPA 2014-09-22 06:32:52 -0500 Report

My doctor doesn't want to hear about emotions. He really only cares about the A1c and nothing else. Not even my other notes. Diabetes along with other chronic conditions takes an emotional toll on us. I kind of get it, he's a primary care, not a specialist, but where is that empathy?

I don't share emotions to get a free pass, I do it to help him understand that there is more to me than diabetes. But he doesn't really care. I had to even get a second opinion to diagnose the neuropathy in my feet. After I did that, it was kind of down hill from there in our relationship.

Pegsy
Pegsy 2014-09-22 19:48:19 -0500 Report

That is sad Gabby. Of course there is more to you than diabetes. And diabetes affects the whole person. I wish more doctors would pay attention to that. We do need that empathy from our care providers and it needs to be about more than A1c and meds. My doctor will listen but her solutions don't suit me. She's always offering prescriptions for everything, antidepressants, sleeping pills, etc. I don't want to be a walking pharmacy.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-09-22 16:15:23 -0500 Report

Hey Gabby,

Thanks so much for jumping in and offering your wise perspective. You said it so well. How about some empathy? If doctors have such narrow boundaries about what they will listen to and what they won't listen to, and where their responsibilities to their patients lie, then something is bound to fall through the cracks. Concern for the patient's welfare, and willingness to listen -- even for a minute or two -- can make a big difference. Our emotions and our physical health are so closely connected. I wonder if doctors are hearing enough about this in their training.

I once had an anesthesiologist tell me that he chose his specialty so he wouldn't have to listen to patients "belly aching" all the time. I said to him, at least you are honest. And I thought, you made the right decision on that one, buddy.

Gary

Gabby
GabbyPA 2014-09-23 10:36:00 -0500 Report

Wow, that was brutally honest and you are right, he chose well. I think there is a balance. I know if we whine and moan every visit, it gets to wear on them as well. But empathy is vital. Not sympathy...I don't want that. I just need those who are caring for me to try to understand who I am as well as what I need.

Brenin
Brenin 2014-09-22 09:57:11 -0500 Report

I have been dealing with a doctor that isn't qualified to be treating my diabetes. I'm very sympathetic to what you're going through and dealing with. Our doctor/patient relationship has also suffered and I'm in the process of looking for a new doctor.

teacherspet
teacherspet 2014-09-21 20:00:25 -0500 Report

I am currently seeing a therp and a pyschiatrist. So my PCP doesn't usually get involved in my emotional well fair. But stress is a horrible thing for me…worse than eating a bag of peanut MM"s as far as numbers are concerned. Yet she doens't really have time or seems not to have time to know what the stress is, or just listen. Sad that they book them so close that you don't have that help.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-09-22 16:04:12 -0500 Report

Hi teacherspet,

Thanks for your reply. I wish more doctors would at least have the stress conversation with their patients. So many people are living with stress and have no idea what they can do. A physician doesn't have to be a counselor. But he/she can listen, encourage the patient to get support, offer encouragement, talk about whether their regimen may be adding to their stress in some way, e.g. an exercise plan that isn't realistic, and point them in the right direction. I worry about patients who don't know what mental health resources might be available to them, and their physician might be the one who could have pointed them in the right direction.

Glad you are getting the help you need!

Gary

Brenin
Brenin 2014-09-21 18:51:19 -0500 Report

My PREVIOUS doctor wasn't qualified to even be treating this disease, let alone offer emotional advice or help regarding my diagnosis.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-09-22 16:00:07 -0500 Report

Hi Brenin,I hope you found your way to a better doctor!

Brenin
Brenin 2014-09-23 18:13:26 -0500 Report

I'm working on it slowly…I'm taking more care this time around to find a doctor that appreciates a patient that advocates and knows more than "just general knowledge" regarding diabetes. I think I've found who I'm looking for and I hope it's a better fit than what I had.

Pegsy
Pegsy 2014-09-21 18:36:50 -0500 Report

I haven't felt that I needed to discuss emotional issues with my doctor other than to make sure she knows when I am experiencing high levels of stress. We both know that stress drives my glucose up. We have discussed some of my frustrations with diabetes but I prefer to speak with a family member, friend or professional counselor if I need help with emotional issues.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-09-22 15:59:44 -0500 Report

Hi Pegsy,

The stress discussion is an important one to have. Stress affects us physically. And I your doctor is aware of your stress, he/she can then evaluate any adjustments that may need to be made in your self-care regimen to help you better manage your stress. Support is so important. Hopefully, when this comes up, your doctor also points you in that direction.

Gary

jayabee52
jayabee52 2014-09-21 17:15:58 -0500 Report

Howdy Dr Gary

I am with Steve and Roberto below,

I barely have enough time to discuss my physical ailments, and while my Dr may be a knowlegable man about many things he may be simply a educated ametur about mental health. Should I feel the need to discuss emotional issues, I will seek a mental health professional (Like you) to help me put my emotions into better perspective.

I have used the services of several therapists throughtout my life and will do so again should the need arise.

Thanks for asking

James

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-09-22 15:57:49 -0500 Report

Hi James,

I agree that your doctor's job isn't to be a mental health professional. We have therapists for that. Absolutely.

But I am still hoping that if you wanted to mention some fears or frustrations with your doctor, he or she would be willing to have that conversation, however brief. Treatment regimens, medications, and concerns about the future can bring up a lot of feelings in patients. Being willing and able to listen, to evaluate, and to make suggestions, especially if the treatment regimen is being impacted, is hopefully something physicians are able to do. Doctors don't have to treat depression, but if a patient mentions symptoms, hopefully the doctor would be able to listen. Offer counseling? No. But listen and evaluate whether a regimen is causing stress, yes. Offer additional clarification, or consider adjusting the regimen, yes. Answer questions that might address concerns about the future, yes. As well as to make a recommendation to a mental health professional. Unfortunately, patients aren't always aware of mental health resources and their primary care doctor may be the one who points them in the right direction. If their physician shuts them down when they talk about feelings, then the patient is left in the cold.

I recently had a client, a young woman with a debilitating condition, who first reported symptoms of depression to her physician. Or tried to. Her doctor cut her off and essentially told her to stop whining. He told her she would adjust to her diagnosis over time. But my client was seriously depressed. Fortunately her mother helped her to find her way to a mental health professional.

So that's my concern. I may not have been so clear in my discussion. I hope that makes sense.

Thanks a lot for jumping in here, as always!

Gary

robertoj
robertoj 2014-09-21 16:59:14 -0500 Report

Emotionally I've been on an even keel for a long time. If something comes up, yes I would. Stress complicates every issue

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-09-22 15:38:31 -0500 Report

Hi Roberto. As long as you know your doctor can have that discussion if you need to, then that's a lot. I know what you mean about stress. We all need to do what we can to stay ahead of the stress curve. Gary

Type1Lou
Type1Lou 2014-09-21 14:54:55 -0500 Report

Other than a thankfully brief bout with depression several years back, I haven't felt the need to discuss my feelings with my physician. An empathetic physician is certainly to be preferred above one who is not.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-09-22 15:36:43 -0500 Report

Hi Type1Lou, I agree. Empathy is a nice to have, but not always possible. I hope your doctor was there for you when you needed him/her. Gary

elizag1
elizag1 2014-09-21 14:50:26 -0500 Report

I think it is good to ask for a referral to a psychiatrist if you feel you need emotional help..but on the other hand talking with your doctor is possible, do it.
Usually there is lack of communication in many situations, unfotunately.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-09-22 15:35:41 -0500 Report

Hi elizag,

You are being very realistic here. If your doctor is open to talking about emotions, then great. But that's not always the case. Very good point.

Gary

lneider
lneider 2014-09-21 13:52:04 -0500 Report

yes I agree it is important to discuss what ever is on your mind in regards to emotions with your Dr. LNeider

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-09-22 15:34:18 -0500 Report

Hey LNeider, nice to see you. Being able to say what's on your mind is a very good thing. And a way to help manage stress. Gary

denipink57
denipink57 2014-09-21 13:45:53 -0500 Report

hi Dr Gary, thank you for your input and asking for ours. it is very important for me to be able to talk about my feelings and emotions about being diabetic and really about my whole person mind body and soul.

i have both a family dr and psychiatrist that are very supportive. in fact i attend psychotherapy several times each week altho right now there is no more group until Oct 20th when my psych returns from holiday.

my family dr is so interested in how i feel that he asks me to pray with him. he will also share God's word with me when he reads from the bible.

this kind of attention makes me feel very safe and so blessed because i know that they sincerely care about me. i have bipolar disorder and have to chase away very negative thoughts and feelings.

i am doing really good right now. my numbers are a bit high sometimes but mostly are in the zone. when i dont eat extra sugar i can keep well balanced. i still eat sugar now and then as a treat but i am fine with that.

i pray for everybody in this group and i thank you all for being here and sharing your experience strength and hope with me and others here.

my favorite prayer is:

God grant me the serenity to accept the things i cannot change
Courage to change the things i can
AND
the wisdom to know the difference.

Denise

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-09-22 15:31:21 -0500 Report

Hi Denise!

Nice to see you! And thanks for jumping in here.

I am glad to hear you are getting this strong support from your doctor and your psychiatrist. In my work, I hear so many stories from patients who aren't getting much emotional support from the professionals they work with. And yes, not even from their psychiatrist. It's good to know you are

Your family doctor really sounds like a gem. You have developed a great relationship with him.

It also sounds like you are taking good care of yourself, getting emotional support, staying complaint with treatment regimens, and watching your numbers.

I love the serenity prayer. I say it often myself.

Thanks, Denise!

Gary

RebDee
RebDee 2014-09-21 13:36:26 -0500 Report

I think that anything - physical, emotional, sexual, stress related, financial - that could help or hinder your health is important to talk about with your primary physician. Your doctor may point you in the right direction to help fix, change, or even just look at the situation in a different way that will make things better.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-09-22 15:03:37 -0500 Report

Hi RebDee! Good point. If you doctor is at least willing to listen and to point you in the right direction, and/or to give you some perspective, then that's a lot. Thanks! Gary

CaliKo
CaliKo 2014-09-21 13:21:36 -0500 Report

Hi Dr. Gary,

Good question. It's never been real important to me to be able to talk about my emotions to my doctors, even though I'm lucky enough to have good, caring doctors that do include questions in their checkups that might reveal depression or other medical conditions that have emotional symptoms.

I'm also lucky enough to have close friends that will laugh and cry with me when necessary, or just go have a drink and watch a movie. My husband is supportive also, but talking about feelings is not his strongest attribute.

Even when I was diagnosed with MS I was lucky enough to already have a close friend with MS that I could talk to. I was even put on the same therapy she is on. She made me feel normal again which made the shock of the diagnosis fade faster.

Short answer, I don't think I've ever needed medical intervention into my emotional state, but I know it's there if I need it. Having an outlet with friends for the common stresses of life takes the place of therapy for me.

Have a great week, Dr. Gary.

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-09-22 15:02:35 -0500 Report

Hey CaliKo!

Thanks a lot for checking in on this.

You bring up a good point. Patients don't necessarily expect, need or even want their physicians to interact with them on an emotional level. An emotional connection is more important to some than others.

And as you said so well, as long as doctors have ways of monitoring their patients' emotional state, so that they can intervene if necessary, then at least the basics are covered. Hopefully doctors are all doing this.

Having a support network makes such a big difference. And what a blessing to have people in your life who are traveling the same path. It's like having a mentor. Like what we have here on Diabetic Connect.

You have a great week, too!

Gary

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