Help is all around

Last night’s DSMA chat on twitter was about dealing with other chronic conditions related or not to diabetes. At the end of the hour everyone was talking about depression and how difficult it makes to manage any condition that requires us to care about ourselves and keep some kind of discipline. The biggest question was if we thought mental treatment should be required for people who have to live with a chronic disease like diabetes. And this is what I think…

While I don’t think mental help should be required for people who have diabetes (and other chronic conditions), it should be greatly encouraged by health professionals. I understand that not everyone wants to be open about depression because it’s so stigmatized, but in my personal case I thank my endocrinologist for making treating my depression a priority. Let’s go back to November and we can see a big 8.6 A1C result because I was in such a rut I just didn’t have the will to live. Forward to now, after I listened to my doctor and went to seek for help (again… because my depression is recurrent) and my A1C last week was 6.4.

We all need motivation to accomplish things in life. Now add to that the fact that you have to live and deal with an illness every single day… you tend to fall off the wagon quite often (at least I do). Imagine all your motivation just goes down the drain and it’s so much more than just a bad day. Weeks pass and you don’t feel better, your whole body aches, all you want to do is crawl on the floor and you feel like you simply don’t belong. Imagine the impact that kind of episode can have in the management of a condition like diabetes that requires so much discipline?

I for one I’m glad I listen to my doctor. And I’m glad that my psychiatrist told me my antidepressants are just another medication for diabetes. I’m glad that I started doing something for myself because now I have the energy and the motivation to do what I’m supposed to do every single day. And the most important thing is that I have a clear head to understand that I don’t have to be perfect to take care of myself.

So if you’re dealing with depression, please share it with someone who can shed some light so you’re not so lost in the dark. More often than not other people will tell you they’re going through the same thing. If you are capable of being outspoken about depression and chronic diseases, then speak out loud for other people to understand they’re not alone. And if your doctor recommends you to look for help, just do it… you’ll be grateful.

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6 thoughts on “Help is all around

  1. Great post! I agree completely that people need to be aware that they have options to deal with their depression. You’re lucky to have a doctor who understands that. Thanks for the nice comment on my post….it led me here and now I have another awesome T2 blog to follow!

  2. What a terrific post, Bea. I agree 100% – I don’t think mental help should be required but I do think it should be strongly encouraged and that it should not be stigmatized. Thank you for writing this!!

  3. What a great post, Bea! I completely agree. Don’t think mental health help should be required, because that’s almost to the level of discrimination – maybe. But possibly at least an initial screening could be done, and the patient could be left to choose whether they want more assistance (if needed) or not… Who knows. Anyhow, thanks for writing this, my friend.

  4. If it were required, you’d have lots of less-than-stellar therapists taking advantage of an expanding job-market, and lots of PWDs who are grudgingly spending valuable time sitting on their couches.

    Let’s keep it the way it is. When both people in the room really – really, in their hearts – want to be there, the quality and the effectiveness will remain high. Otherwise, it will be reminiscent of visits to my high school guidance counselor.

  5. Bea,
    Thanks for this post. As a diabetes educator and having discussed with several others in the past, we routinely do screen for mental health issues. It’s a fine line, because not everyone wants to disclose or discuss, yet sometimes from the responses to screening questions, it is clear. Without addressing the mental health side of things, it’s often impossible to manage the diabetes side of things. Yet it is ultimately up to the person living with these, to want to be in the room, as Scott said.
    As someone with diabetes, I don’t think I mind being asked about my mental health (although I’m racking my brain and don’t think anyone has asked in a very long time), but would definitely not want to be forced to have “treatment.”

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