Depression and not taking care of self

Hello, I’m a newly diagnosed type 1 diabetic. I think I’m getting to the point where I can’t say “newly” though. I was diagnosed about 10 months ago. I’m 19 years old. I’m ashamed to say that I am almost envious of T1Ds that were diagnosed at a younger age. I took my health for granted and lived 18 years without ever having to worry about my body and the other what feels like 8 million things that come along with being diagnosed. I do not know how to cope with this disease. I can’t stand to give myself shots because it sends me in a spiraling thought process that often leads to panic attacks. It just plays over and over again in my head that this is something I can not change and something I’m going to have to deal with for life. However, since I was diagnosed I haven’t been able to take care of myself. My BS consistently is in the 600 or 700s. Though I know this is taking a toll on my body it doesn’t compare to how I have mentally felt since diagnosed. I have become so extremely depressed. I feel so hopeless. I’m 19 and feel like my life has already been decided for me and that this is quite literally going to be the death of me. I now see a therapist which has helped minimally. Absolutely nothing that anyone has said to me has helped. So I’m turning to this to see if anyone is either going through this or has, and if so what did it take for you to start taking care of yourself. Right now I’m at a point where I don’t want to take care of myself, period. I can not bring myself to give myself a shot. it only feels like there is one solution to this and I know that isn’t the answer. I’m desperate for help

1 Like

Hang in there, Kristen. Just take things day by day, or moment by moment. I think sometimes it is tougher at about 10 months in to diagnosis than at the beginning, because a lot of people assume you can just get on with life. I would really suggest you write down all your negative thoughts- just to externalize them so that they don’t eat you up from the inside. Depression is about feeling helpless and hopeless. Please know both help and hope are available to you in large quantities… Keep connecting with other people. If you empower yourself and acknowledge that you are a person of immense worth, managing your diabetes should become easier. Lots of strength to you.

@KA24 hi Kristen,

there is no time in your life that makes diabetes easier. I was 13 and had a pretty good idea and long memories about the “way things used to be”. and it nearly drove me insane.

the journey to acceptance has a lot of twists and turns, and it’s an experience that has to be lived… not taught.

i think that what you are feeling is because there is a big difference between what you are feeling in your heart versus what you are thinking in your head. when these two don’t agree… things get bad.

I think that what @francesjean is saying is really good advice. Contact with others could really help. So can therapy if you have that available to you.

I also want to say that you are alive, therefore you are doing an adequate job taking care of your diabetes. that dumb number is not a judgement, it’s information that could help you make the next best decision… that’s it… it’s not a indication of how good you are or how bad you are being.

anyway I hope to hear back. we’ve all had to deal with depression. I am not better or smarter than you so I know you can do it.


Hey Kristen, First off - GIANT HUG. I feel for and completely identify with what you’re going through. I was diagnosed at 10 and I’m often glad I was diagnosed early because I don’t have as much of a memory for what life was like “before” - it’s like I didn’t have as much to mourn. So I can imagine being diagnosed a bit later is challenging.

I also cannot stand shots. I was on shots for a year but have been on an insulin pump for 19. That made a big difference for me. Whenever I do go back on shots for brief periods, the shots are such a present reminder. And I don’t know about you, but the little bruises and marks they leave on my body almost make it feel like I’m hurting myself, rather than helping (even though logically I can tell myself they’re helping me stay alive).

I’m curious what going on either an Omnipod pump (doesn’t have tubing) or a Minimed 670G (the insulin pump and continuous glucose monitor combo) would do for you. I know it probably feels a little daunting to look at devices, but I’ve found that with a pump I can almost hide T1D from myself for a little while, in a way. The learning curve is what it is, but once your dosages are all worked out, it lets you return a bit to regular life, and then you just have to interrupt and pay attention when you’re going too high or low. It’s less of a 24/7 disease with those tools, I think.

And to your point about not wanting to take care of yourself - I would imagine you’re going through a period of kind of relearning yourself, and that makes it hard to want to take care of YOU.

In a way I would imagine you kind of feel like your body betrayed you, and so it’s hard to want to then take care of that body, you know? I can imagine you don’t even recognize yourself, when at the heart, T1D hasn’t changed who you are at all.

Something that helped change my perspective a little and reminded me to take care of me was really looking at what my immune system did. My immune system wanted SO BADLY to protect me that it just went a little overkill and messed up. But that was really from a place of trying to do a good thing. The signals just got crossed.

So as much as you can reframe all of this to know that your body is working SO HARD for you right now, and loving on it for doing that work, I think it helps.

As my therapist pointed out - there is literally nothing good in this world that could come from you not being in your body, even if you want to be separate from it and forget about this disease for a while. So how can we instead acknowledge our bodies for all they’re trying to do for us, and acknowledge and love on ourselves for how much we’re doing too?

If it helps as well, in May there’s going to be a Students with Diabetes conference in Tampa. It’s less than $100 which includes hotel, food, and the program, you just have to get there (and it’s not just for students, but people with T1D ages 18-30). It’s a really amazing group of people - it could help to go and be able to find a community there of people dealing with the same.

Much love to you,

Hi Kristen. I am sorry you are having such a hard time. I would encourage you to work with your doctor and his/her team to get your blood sugar down. Based on my 50+ years with the beast called Type I Diabetes, I can say that I never feel more depressed than when my blood sugar is high. If you aren’t working with a good endocrinologist and diabetes educator team, I would also advise you to seek one out. It will make all the difference in your getting used to taking care of yourself and the emotions that you are going through. Keep us all posted on your progress.

Hi @KA24. First, let me give you a big hug. I was diagnosed at age 3, so diabetes is pretty much all I’ve ever known in my 57 years. 57 years, and still going! So yes, while you will be dealing with this for life, your life will go on and you will probably be able to do the things you’ve dreamed of so long as you take care of yourself. There are professional athletes, race car drivers, and actors; not to mention us “everyday, ordinary people” who are parents, workers, love to travel, etc. If the thought of injections sends you into a panic attack, look into getting an insulin pump. A few button presses are all it takes to deliver your insulin once you have the infusion set inserted in your body. Hopefully that will help you be more willing to go with the program your doctor has set up for you, and bring you into normal range, which hopefully will help with your depression.
Also, PLEASE don’t let numbers as high as 600 go on. As you say, you know the dangers, and one of them is DKA - the diabetic’s least favorite letters. Please contact your doctor ASAP to get things in control, and to see if a pump may be an option for you. Blessings.

Dear Kristen,
I’m sending you much love and support and seconding what Lala said. High blood sugar does make one depressed–as well as sluggish, sleepy, and miserable. Your therapist may not even know this. Also, doctors and health professionals sometimes do the same. One of the first things you could try is to accept that you have some power to make things better for yourself. That will enable you to try JUST FOR ONE DAY to do just a little better coordinating the food you eat with the insulin dosage. To look at all the days stretching ahead with diabetes is enough to daunt anyone–so just work on one day at a time.

Are you taking a long-acting insulin like Lantus that lasts 24 hours with a shorter-acting insulin like Humalog or Novalog to cover meals and snacks? If your doctor is not up on the latest, you might not be getting the insulins you need. GOOD NEWS is on the way, a faster acting insulin called Fiasp should be available to us this spring, and that should make up for the long delay that Novolog and Humalog have in working.

The very best advice I can give you is to get a diabetes educator or endocrinologist who has Type 1. They will understand what you are talking about and won’t look at you like you are crazy or lying or are willfully not doing what they ask you to do. Docs with T-1 know the disease from inside as well as from a textbook, so they can truly empathize.

I’m pulling for you, and through it doesn’t seem possible now, you will be able to feel better soon.
Much love to you,

Hey Kristen. I hope you are feeling a bit better than when you first posted. It is a huge adjustment you are going thru and there is nothing wrong with that. I have had it since I was 21 months so it truly is all I have ever known. But it still sucks. I heard recently that JDRF now has a network of therapists who have gone through training for counseling people who deal with chronic diseases, specifically diabetes. If you aren’t getting what you need from your current therapist, you might see if there is someone in that network in your area of the world. I was lucky enough to see a therapist who had Type 1 herself, but she retired. :frowning: And don’t be afraid to try antidepressants. I’m on 3. Good times…

I hope you have gotten used to giving yourself shots or better yet, have gotten on a pump. Diabetes is a 24/7 disease so it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. All I can say is take it one day at a time for a while, even one hour at a time if you have to.

Try not to feel like your life has been decided for you. There are plenty of examples of T1Ds who do amazing things with their lives. I’m not one of them :wink:, but there are lots of them out there. JDRF and the American Diabetes Association probably have biographies of people like that on their websites.

I agree with PGray - if you can find an endocrinologist or diabetes educator with T1, that will help a lot. They will have gone thru the same stuff you are now, and should be able to help you learn how to cope.

The final thing I would say is try to find a T1D support group in your area. Your local chapter of JDRF or ADA should be able to help you find one. And do shop around for groups if there are several to choose from. It’s important to find the right fit.

For what all that is worth, I hope it helps.

Lotsa hugs, Kirsten.

Hi Kristen,

I’m sorry to hear that you have such a hard time dealing with your T1D. I hope this reply finds you well (although I realize your post is from 3 months ago!). Just to let you know that what you are going through is very common. You are basically going through the 5 stages that were described by the famous psychiatrist Kubler-Ross.

[edited by moderator]

Hi Kristen,

Sorry things are rough for you. Chronic illness is hard to deal with at any age, but it gets better. Diabetes is a constant in our lives and not a particularly visible one, so friends and family sometimes have a hard time understanding the struggle.
Being really good at self-defeating thoughts myself, here’s what helped me get out of the spiral.

  • A community of T1s. We get way too hard on ourselves in a vacuum. Talking with others that are trying to do better with this disease helps. We share ideas. We get support. We figure out our patterns.
  • Exercise - For me this is a game changer. My mood is much better and my BGs are much better and more stable.
  • A good diabetes team. Often we get down on ourselves for not doing things right when in reality we may not know what the ‘right’ thing is. Find a good team to help you learn diabetes. Asking other T1s in your area can be a great resource.
  • A good therapist. Find one that you click with. Many diabetes treatment centers have one on staff. This can really help.
  • Mindfulness/Yoga/Meditation. This really helps me clear my head and get some perspective.

Control is a process. A series of habits and tricks we figure out over time. Give yourself some time. Ask a lot of questions of a lot of different people. You’ll figure it out.

Kristen you got this! I was just diagnosed on st Patrick’s day at 23 years old. I’m the kinda person that would have never thought this could have happened to me but it did. I was pretty depressed for the first week. It made me so tired /sluggish for the first few weeks. I was Constantly asking myself why me? Why a healthy 23 year old? But I’m happy it happened to me it has made me value life a lot more. I wasn’t a fan of having to inject myself I didn’t want people seeing me do it because at first glance they think you’re doing something illegal. I’m blessed to have good insurance and was able to get the omnipod and dexcom after a month of being diagnosed. It has made a world of difference for me. I do Tree work for a living and thought I would have to give up what I love to do because its such a physical job but always having my dexcom on me makes me feel safe with the constant reading. You have to want to help better yourself if you don’t in the long run its gonna damage your body.

I hope you’re doing much better now with it and not as depressed it does get easier!