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.

Here Comes Prozac

This is the story of a woman with recurrent depression and the bad habit of not taking her Prozac for as long as she should. Anyone who has suffered from clinical depression knows how the cycle goes: you feel like caca, you take the meds, you start to feel normal, you stop taking the meds, you feel like caca and round and round we go. That pretty much sums up my life for the last… I don’t know, 18 years? I talk about my depression as openly as I talk about my diabetes; for me, they are both chronic.

My last bout of depression hit as the days started to become shorter and no one needs to be a rocket scientist to know that winter time doesn’t help much when you deal with any mental issues. My problem is that I ignore things for too long until one day everything explodes (or should I say implode?). My home life starts to suffer, my relationships start to suffer and then I walk like a person with a death wish. It really is a time bomb, especially when I have to take care of my diabetes and that is a 24/7 job; I can’t slack.

So when I saw my endocrinologist yesterday and he saw my latest A1C the first question he asked was “How’s your depression?” and I answered “Rampant!” — I’m grateful that I have a doctor who knows I’m much more than just the test results he gets from the lab. And he was more concerned about giving me a referral to a good psychiatrist than doing any medication adjustments. He knows I will not be able to effectively manage my diabetes if I have this huge black cloud over my head making me feel like all I want to do is die because I’m overwhelmed.

Waking up is the hardest part. I look at the day ahead like a haunted forest and I have no map. But I realize that in order to keep going, I just have to keep going. Kind of like Albert Einstein said, “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.” And even though I don’t want to keep going, I have the right people in my life to remind me all this is worth it and things will get better. I have people to keep me in check, I have people to make me laugh, I have people to keep me busy.

And then I have my husband, who understands what I’m going through and doesn’t judge even if I become this ubber-bitch sometimes. A husband that asks me to look at the ornaments on my Christmas tree and reminds me that we’re together, that I have people who love me and that there are people I love.

So if Prozac is what I need, Prozac is what I’ll take.