Written by Hildegunn Fossheim
It’s natural to experience times when managing your diabetes feels extremely difficult, at times impossible.
The diabetes is always there. Not a moment’s peace to get.
You would have to search a long time to find a person with diabetes that hasn’t felt that way. But what if it’s not a diabetes burnout you’re going through, but depression? What is the difference and how do you get out of it?
Diabetes burnout vs. depression
While “diabetes burnout” is specifically related to behaviour around diabetes management, depression affects behaviour in many or all aspects of your life. Common symptoms are that you no longer find joy in being social and active. You struggle with sleep, concentration and changes in appetite. Guilt, nervousness and irritation fill your days. In other words depressions disturbs your daily life and reduces the quality of your life.
Many experience that the changes in behaviour has serious consequences for their diabetes management, as higher glucose level is a common consequence of depression. It’s a vicious circle that is very difficult to get out of; difficulty accepting or manage your diabetes leads to depression, and depression leads to a even more uncontrolled blood sugar. People with diabetes are 3 times more likely to be diagnosed with depression.
Depression – to ask for help is a strength
It’s important to remember that emotions are not a sign of weakness. Emotions are supposed to be felt, even the unpleasant ones. We tend to look at emotions as either negative or positive. It’s more useful to look at emotions as information about how things are with us, and pay attention to them when we make choices. Although it tends to not feel like it, everything we do is a choice.
If you think you are experiencing depression, it is important that you confide in a trusted friend or family member. The feeling of not living up to the requirements you think your loved one has to you makes it difficult for many to be open about their problems. Remind yourself that they love you, and want to know about your troubles so they can help you. Remember that asking for help is a sign of strength!
For some it might be easier to go directly to a physician or psychologist. The important thing is that you open yourself to someone – anyone.
Once you have taken the step of saying it out loud it will not all seem equally impossible anymore – it’s suddenly a tiny light at the end of the tunnel.
The good news is that depression and diabetes burnout can be treated!
Symptoms of depression:
- Changing sleep patterns
- Increased or decreased appetite
- No longer interested in normal activities
- Problems with concentration
- Inferiority Feeling
- Suicidal Thoughts
- Unexplained physical problems like back pain and headaches