Does every diabetic have depression? Well, no, of course not. But I'll have to tell you it's pretty damn easy to feel depressed, angry, annoyed, frustrated, *insert emotion here* with diabetes. Diabetes isn't always kittens and lollipops. Most of the time it's four-letter words the public general public disapprove of.
Too many times depression is missed in people with diabetes. I can't tell you how many times I've wondered aloud why counselors and therapists aren't introduced at the diagnosis of diabetes. Why aren't they included as part of a D-healthcare team? You may never have need of one, but isn't it nice to know they're there just in case?
Depression is kind of like the naughty relative no one wants to talk about. He doesn't quite fit in and has a tendency to get himself into a bit of trouble. Maybe if you don't acknowledge him, his "issues" will go away. Only his issues don't go away. He wants your attention REALLY bad, so the more you ignore him the worse he gets. Until finally, something happens. Either the family stops ignoring him and gets him the help he needs, or Depression wins. When Depression wins, everybody loses.
I spent many years battling with my own depression demons. Depression came too close to winning. When I think back on the years it was at its worst, I close my eyes and shudder as if to try to shake the memories out my ears. There are many, many things I'd rather not remember and quite a few things I'm glad I can't. I had intentions of harming myself and was in the hospital more than a couple times. I was pretty good at acting normal. Everything was great, grand, and wonderful. ...Then I was in the hospital lying in a coma and no one could quite figure out what happened.
Can I blame my depression on diabetes? I'm not sure. Maybe I was prone to it anyway. But I suppose the cause of depression really isn't the point. The fact is I had (have) it. For quite some time, too, before something was finally done about it. Now that I've actively treated it in the past, I recognize in myself when I'm slipping back into that blackness. I understand when I need help, and now I know where to get it. Maybe Dungeons and Dragons do apply here. The dungeon is that dark place inside my head I vainly struggle against. The dragon is that dastardly beast Depression. Much bigger and stronger and a whole hell of a lot scarier than I am. Only those magic wizards therapy and medication can save me.
For whatever reason, depression seems to be a taboo subject. Someone asks "How are you doing?" and they fully expect to hear "Fine" or "Good." If you answer in any other fashion, they become confused and aren't quite sure how to respond. Oh, awkward moments. I am exceptionally good at creating those...
Except I am one of those people who will always answer "I'm good" to the "How are you" question. Even when my life is falling apart, my heart is breaking and I'm all out of superglue, I'll never tell you things are going pretty shitastic. It's generally not socially acceptable to blurt out all your problems. But don't get me wrong, I do have friends I feel very capable of talking with. I am lucky enough to have great people surrounding me both in real life and on the internet who care enough about my feelings to listen when I have something to say. I just find it interesting how the subject of depression is typically avoided, when it should be anything but.
I know this is Diabetes Awareness Month. Along with diabetes, I think it should also be Depression Awareness Month. If you have a problem, I won't ignore it. I won't push it aside. I want to hear your problems; I want to help you with them; I don't want you to fall into that abysmally dark and empty place I found myself in. The most important message I can convey in this blog is: You are not alone. I am here to help you. Depression hurts and I'm more than willing to provide some pain relief.
A side note: TWLOHA (To Write Love On Her Arms) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping those struggling with depression and addiction. I discovered TWLOHA when I was submerged in the depths of both. If you or someone you know or maybe even someone you suspect may be hurting from depression, I encourage you to check out this organization and pass it along. You can read more about TWLOHA at: http://www.twloha.com/vision/.
"The old grey donkey, Eeyore stood by himself in a thistly corner of the Forest, his front feet well apart, his head on one side, and thought about things. Sometimes he thought sadly to himself, 'Why?' and sometimes he thought, 'Wherefore?' and sometimes he thought, 'Inasmuch as which?' and sometimes he didn't quite know what he was thinking about." ~A.A. Milne