Diabetes and Mental Health


(mcmermand) #1

Hey guys, I've been rolling this thought around in my head for the past couple of weeks, and now that I'm getting deeper and deeper in to my med. classes, it's time to come out with it. All of my professors keep talking about mental and physical health when caring for a patient. But all I ever hear any of us talking about is how we were offered no mental support through our diagnosis or life with diabetes. What's the deal? There's got to be someone out there who had and has a good experience coping with diabetes on a MENTAL level. We all know how it effects us physically, and how to work with it, but what about in our hearts and minds? I know I sure was never offered any therapeutic help. Thank god my mother is a mental health therapist and had the sense to get me in to therapy after I was diagnosed. But the stories I have heard, I have come to understand that rarely are people so lucky. I'd love some feedback and some ideas from you fine folks. I think I've got some programming to start work on.

-mandie


(MaDEvans) #2

I have no stories.  Although monthly I find myself giving the advice, "I think everyone (mentally healthy or not) should see a therapist every once in a while just to talk things out".  Sadly, it's easier to preach 10 sermons than to practice 1.  I've still never seen a therapist for my T1DM.  I want to, but I just haven't for a multitude of silly excuses (too busy, don't have proper insurance coverage, etc).

But, your post did remind me that I had been pondering about a new post recently as well...


(katie.clark) #3

[quote user="Mandie"]There's got to be someone out there who had and has a good experience coping with diabetes on a MENTAL level[/quote]

Hmmm.... I think diabetes makes such a huge impact on those who live with it that it molds who they are and how they think.  It could be just that I was diagnosed so young (at age 2 - 32 years ago this week), but I know for a fact diabetes had a huge influence on who I am, how I cope and my mental state of being.   I think it makes us more caring of others & their differences, it makes us more organized, more detail oriented.   Of course I don't know what I'd be like if I hadn't been diagnosed, but I'm sure diabetes affected who I am and how I relate to others in my world quite a bit.

The teenage years are hard.  I saw a counselor for a year or two at that point.  I do recommend all teenagers see someone to work through how to cope with grasping that responsibility and actually living with diabetes and making good choices.

I can also tell you, that living with type 1 was not much of a mental issue for me once I got into adulthood.  I had no anger, no "whoa is me", none of that.  It just was a small part of my life.   And then Ellie was diagnosed:  my mental state of well being was affected.   Now I'm constantly battling those deamons.


(Gina) #4

I have been battling the mental side of  diabetes for 8 years. I think when people are diagnosed that they should also get recommended to a pyschologist as well.

 

I have written about this very subject on my blog before called A Missing Diabetes Team Member


(Anonymous) #5

Really, I just suck at talking to people. I don't think a therapist would work for me... I would just stare at them. For hours. They'd probably be scared.


(katie.clark) #6

[quote user="Gina"]I have written about this very subject on my blog before called A Missing Diabetes Team Member[/quote]

That is a great post, Gina.  I agree that is a good idea to have access to a psychologist as a part of a diabetes care team.   Maybe you'll never need them, but, you might.   I HIGHLY recommend one for all teens... there's a whole lot of stuff you "can't" tell your parents and your friends are not going to understand.  It's a really stressful time without diabetes, it's a ton harder with type 1.


(joe) #7

[quote user="Mandie"] Thank god my mother is a mental health therapist and had the sense to get me in to therapy after I was diagnosed. But the stories I have heard, I have come to understand that rarely are people so lucky. I'd love some feedback and some ideas from you fine folks. [/quote]

HI Mandie,  There are stats that indicate that depression and diabetes are related.  I am somewhat practical =) so it's pretty obvious to me  that a chronic illness can really cause clinical depression.  Here's what I have found that wasn't so obvious:  Talking about it really helps.  Therapy really helps, going through and experiencing all of the things associated with grieving the loss of good health really helps, and that grieving is a process, and that it is cyclic and just as chronic as diabetes.

I am also very stubborn and didn't realize I needed help until I was in agony.... being "too tough" doesn't help, being strong all of the time with a sticky sweek ... "No I am super fine all the time and happy A-OK" doesn't help, me, at all.  I have had T1 for 31 years, and have had many years of untreated depression.  Talking about it and therapy was a massive help.

thanks for posting this

Cheers