Friday, May 25, 2012

The 4 D's

It started when I was in the 5th grade. I made a naive remark that grossed someone out, and they started avoiding me, or else tagged me and ran after the others screaming "I've got the cooties and I'm going to give them to you! Ha ha!" and it turned into a game of tag. For everyone else, not me. No one to eat lunch with, no one to walk home with, no friends to play with after school. I must have been acting badly at home, too, because my mother was always yelling at me as well. And I remember thinking to myself that the only time I was at peace (not happy, just not being tormented) was while I was walking between home and school.

Eventually, the other kids forgot about it, and we moved on, and I began to have friends again and became more content, but the experience seems to have scarred me for life, because I have had recurrent major depressions ever since then. Events that other people find stressful can throw me into a tailspin, and I have had as many as 5 suicide plans in my head at any one time.

And then diabetes came into the picture. I was 45 when I was formally diagnosed, and I was distraught. Blame and guilt and confusion, and poor medical guidance threw me for a loop. I spent many hours crying, alternately pretending it wasn't true, and frantically trying to get information and guidance. In the beginning, I didn't even know whether I had diabetes or not (my doc called it hyperglycemia), and even though it is beyond question by now that I have diabetes, my emotional self still wants to deny it, and I don't always take care of myself. And when I'm depressed, I really DON'T take care of it, and we all know where that leads!

So I call my illness the 4 D's: Diabetes and Depression, the Deadly Duo. Either one would be bad enough, but together they almost killed me.

I think mental health care needs to be a component of EVERYONE'S diabetes management plan. For me, the one makes the other worse. If my blood sugar is high, I'm more likely to get depressed, and if I'm depressed, I don't take care of myself, resulting in high blood sugar. Vicious cycle if I ever heard of one. So I would like to see more mental health professionals who are familiar with diabetes and what it does to a person's head, and better access to mental health care for people with diabetes.

And I am happy to report that I AM now getting very good care, both with antidepressants and talk therapy. I've been pretty stable for the last couple of years, and I now have a plan and a way to get help if I do get depressed. I wish everyone had that.

1 comment:

  1. I agree Natalie, they are a deadly duo. It is hard to take care of diabetes when you are depressed. When I am depressed, I turn to junk food and that isn't good for BS.