The DSMA Blog Carnival this month is about what can we do to help stop depression from hitting our community during the winter months.
Believe me, it’s not easy battle. Depression can undermine even your most minimal efforts to keep your diabetes in check. You lose motivation, you lose self-esteem, you stop caring. With that comes not checking your blood sugars, not eating well, not taking your medications and consequently you can end up like me, with an A1C of 8.6% — How did I get there? I don’t care. What I care about is the fact that I did what I was advised to do and I’m here waiting for my latest A1C result, which I’m convinced will be much better.
So, what can we do to help?
- Listen. Actually, ask! In my opinion, when you’re in a community where you get to know people well, you can tell when something is out of place. There are keywords that we can learn to identify to realize someone is having a hard time with depression. So yes, don’t be afraid to ask someone if they’re doing OK. Most of the time just having someone who cares is enough to makes us do something about our condition.
- Remind the people in your community of all the good things they do and how much you admire them. I can tell you for a fact that when depression hits, it’s very difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel, but it is there. And just a few kind words can help you see it a little bit better.
- Tell people it is OK to ask for help and advise them to do so. I believe in doctors, I believe in psychologists, I believe that sometimes medication can at least help you bounce back so you can take the reins of your life and do what will eventually get you on the right track.
- Don’t dismiss people’s feelings and don’t think that it’s just a matter of forgetting about it and do stuff. Depression means you’re so out of motivation than when someone tells you to just get up and get going feels like a huge slap in the face. Ask how can you help, and react lovingly. Most of the time we know what to do, we just don’t know how to. Offer your advice with compassion.
- Just be there. Support, comfort… that’s what we need. No pity, no validation of negative feelings, just a kind word to remind us there is a way out.