Diabetes and depression

By DaveTheCompGuy Latest Reply 2009-06-07 10:09:52 -0500
Started 2009-05-29 19:55:43 -0500

I'm new to the group, and this has likely been discussed before - but I'm wondering what people's experiences have been with depression and/or anxiety disorders.

My backstory - I've had diabetes about a dozen years or so, I'm over 50 and overweight. I'm type-2 and insulin dependent. Recently depression got the better of me, so much so that I lost my job and have been going to an outpatient group-therapy program for it. I'm also on an antidepressant and that just got bumped up some. My symptoms have shown up as what seem to be panic attacks, where I just have no motivation to do anything other than curl into a ball and 'go away'. I'm getting a handle on it now - but I've been told, more than once, that depression is common among people with diabetes. Just wondering how wide-spread it really is… and what hints people might have for how to deal with it.

19 replies

DaveTheCompGuy 2009-06-06 12:10:27 -0500 Report

Well… I'm almost finished a six-week course of group therapy around my depression and anxiety. It's really helped. Not sure it's helped my relationship though… I'm looking at things differently, and where it was a bit rocky before it may be getting worse as I'm more assertive now (not aggressive).

I'm now looking for other groups, for friends and a sense of belonging. Tried meetup.com and some other sources as well… and I hit the job boards this week too.

cakeybakes 2009-06-06 23:59:30 -0500 Report

Dave, I was diagnosed with depression 17 years ago (had it longer than that) and the meds saved my life. I went through a little counseling and my doc and I have a VERY GOOD relationship. I tell her if I'm having problems coping, she adjusts my dose if necessary. Anyway, I've never had the panic attacks, but I know what it's like to curl up in a ball and wish the world away.

Right now, we're dealing with the possibility of my meds causing a whole other issue and I am being weened off of it and being put on another one that causes a whole different batch of concerns.

I know that the key to getting through the depression part of it is a lot of support—from family, from your doctor, from your group therapy, from your church—whatever and wherever you can get it. The most important thing I learned was repeatedly telling myself (sometimes out loud) that this will pass, think logically and ask myself if my action or reaction is not only justified, but logical. It is EXTREMELY difficult to do this when you are unable to think clearly from the depression. So, counting to ten and forcing yourself to THINK, not ACT is very important.

Sit down with your loved-one and CALMLY talk about how you are feeling and WHY you are feeling this way. But you have to be honest with yourself, if you're feeling the way you are because of the depression or because of your reaction to how your loved-one is treating you. Nine times out of ten, it's the depression. Believe me, my husband still doesn't get it, but he knows what to do when I'm in a funk. I tell him when I am acting irrationally that it's NOT him, he doesn't have to fix anything, just say "yes, dear" and smile. I let him know when I need a hug or when I need space. It has helped us get through a lot of years together.

Good luck, and don't get discouraged for this, too, shall pass!

Praying for you,

lipsie 2009-06-07 10:09:52 -0500 Report

You make some great sense..my fiance and I BOTH have mental health issues…so we both talk to one another … if we see signs of something, etc. Communication…and stop and think before you do…that's a hard one for me. lol Not funny when its the moment though.But we are making it thru great! Sheila

Antique-Dave 2009-06-04 09:16:39 -0500 Report

7 Years ago I went through a lot of what you are talking about with depression, job loss etc. Panic attacks were nasty, never knew when they were going to hit.

That was before diabetes. I was however quite depressed this last winter, I told my wife it was the worst it had been in years. Winter is bad for me, probably low D3 but like I said the Depression was very bad.

Once I changed my diet around my D3 levels are good, I also started super B and I think those things made a difference because I felt better immediately my BGL's didn't drop into normal levels for about 6 weeks so I attribute the depression improvement to diet and vitamins.

As far as the anti depressant meds, the only time in my life I ever gained weight was when I was taking those meds, they added about 40 pounds and when I went off them the weight just melted away.

I too lost my job, which was my identity, had to reinvent myself and while I now make about half of what I did I'm much happier with much less stress

lipsie 2009-06-04 04:12:49 -0500 Report

All in all said I feel everyone is different to handling stress in life. Some get depressed over Diabetes (and other medical issues, some over relations, finances, and some over the whole picture! Me, I am the whole picture I guess…just a matter of learning how to handle that depression, if its with pills, exercise, both..whatever. But please stick with you pills IF they help, cuz many stop them when feeling better just cuz they feel better and end up right back where ya came from…believe me .. I know! lol Good luck!! *Hugs* Sheila

DaveTheCompGuy 2009-06-06 12:11:33 -0500 Report

Thanx Sheila - no, I know not to stop the meds. I've done that before, a few years back - after a month ended up in a hospital bed.

RaleTrail 2009-06-01 05:40:29 -0500 Report

I have been a diabetic for 55 years. I have always been on insulin. I feel you have more control taking it. You may need a diet for weight loss. For this you will probably need help. Carbs can put weight on. I belong to Golds Gym. You may want to try this also. As for the depression…don't blame it on your diabetes. We worry about our everyday control…but people of all ages live normal lives with diabetes. At times I get more disgusted with it, than depressed. I am prone to severe reactions, and that worrys me. I am healthy, and can say that diabetes has never stopped me from doing anything. Just carry food, insulin, orange juice, and go.

ali eletre
ali eletre 2009-05-30 09:59:20 -0500 Report

You have to control your Depression because it will not help you in your diabetes.. You have to be patient to continue your live and get back your work.. You have to know that diabetes.. Will be your close friend for the rest of your life.

lipsie 2009-05-30 08:18:57 -0500 Report

I am also very sorry you lost you job! Don't give up though. It's easy to sink in the depression and give up, I did and it got me so much worse. One thing I wanted to mention is I dunno when you started the medicine don't let it get ya down if you don't feel better right off, cuz those meds are tricky and can take weeks. Also a HUGE mistake many make is after they are on them and feel better they personally stop using them and end up back at the beginning or worse. Best of luck! Sheila

lois hutchins
lois hutchins 2009-05-30 11:37:17 -0500 Report

amen to that! I have both as well! There have been days when I just stayed in the bed and went to the bathroom
no water, no meds, no food, no phone, NO NOTHING
Thank God I wasn't working!! You can beat the depression, it's a hard and slow process but YOU CAN DO IT!!! and you have us on here! Vent if you must but don't hold stuff in.
Shelia gave good advice!
Please take care

P2putt 2009-05-30 07:37:54 -0500 Report

I am also taking meds for depression. It took some time to find one that was effective. Dosage also had to be modified.There are 2 BIG D's in many of our lives, Depression and Diabetes . I personally feel "different,cheated and angry"Wow I can't believe that came out. I guess alot is under the surface.All this aside I feel much better when my bs are in an acceptable range.Sorry to hear that you lost your job. This surely has to adversely effect you. Keep your appointments for Group and with your health provider. Inform them as to how you are feeling and inform your Diabetic Specialist about these issues. Best to you. Pete

DaveTheCompGuy 2009-06-01 00:29:12 -0500 Report

Thanx… well, I'm still in group for a couple more weeks, it has been helping quite a bit. I see my diabetic specialist in mid June (same hospital, so that's convenient). Some time soon after all that have to get back on the job hunt. I'll keep working at it…

Anonymous 2009-05-29 22:59:48 -0500 Report

I would have to say that I don't know which comes first for me, the depression or the out of whack blood sugars, but they certainly are common occurrences. The thing that helps the most with both is what is hardest to do: physical exercise. I swim because it is easiest on the joints and moving around in water gives me a sense of well being I don't experience with other kinds of exercise (except dancing). Best wishes in your experience with depression and overcoming it.

dyanne 2009-05-30 00:40:06 -0500 Report

I agree and do understand the feeling of depression. anxiety and the added problem of being overweight.It all plays a part of being diabetic for some of us. My only advise to you is also if you can is to exercise. I have just started doing aqua therapy and being in the water is the best to me… its freedom from the pains I have and it helps with blood sugars and the depression. I wish you the best and know that you are not alone in your struggles.
Take care dyanne

BeckyJ 2009-05-29 20:17:21 -0500 Report

Depression is a part of any chronic disease but diabetics seem a little more suseptible. I am in a support group for people with chronic illness and depression/anxiety. Half of the group are diabetic. I think a large part of that is that when your blood sugar is out of whack you are a victim of your hormones. Swings in BG (blood glucose) can cause swings in mood. Because of the variability of your bg's and the uncertainty of the disease you are constantly yo-yoing around mood wise. Add to that the trauma of loosing your job and it's no wonder you're depressed. I wish you luck in finding a workable solution for handling all the stress. I have found a lot of support here as well as with the group that I go to. Everyone has different experiences and advice to give. I have the additional strain of being bi-polar so I see a therapist every 2 weeks. Just being able to unload my frustrations and tweek my medications has helped tremendously. Good luck to you. As far as anti-depressants go I will say that there are many wonderful new ones out there and you will have to work to find one right for you. With the group that I am in we have all tried many different types, some winners, some losers. The only one that ALL agree is a no-go is Abilify…horrible side effects and it causes havoc with BG's for everyone that tried it. I currently take a combination of Cymbalta (which is also used to treat neuropathy pain if you have that) and Geodon. The Geodon is for my manic episodes but the Cymbalta has worked great on the depression. My mother has been on Zyprexa for a while now and her depression syptoms have improved amazingly. Don't be afraid to ask about new meds, everybody is different and what works for some may not work for you. It may take a while to find the right one but when you do…WHOO! Best of luck, I'll keep you in my prayers.

DaveTheCompGuy 2009-05-29 22:06:21 -0500 Report

Well… I'm in Canada so some of the names may be different. I've only been on this pill for the last couple months… Citalopram, which I believe is better known as Celexa. Just bumped up from 20mg to 30mg.

lipsie 2009-05-30 08:14:42 -0500 Report

Is you mother Diabetic? Just wondering cuz when Ty went on it he was NOT considered a Diabetic but that medication shot his sugar SO high it was scary. The MD says SOME people can use Zyprexa though with Diabetes, just depends on the person but that scared us.He's on Risperdal now. I take the Serqueol XR and Effexor XR, amoung MANY other drugs. Just was curious. Love yass hun. Sheila