Helping my husband

My husband has had Type 1 diabetes since he was 14 years old (he is now 35).  He has not had any major complications from the disease yet, aside from some retinopathy, although he does have high cholesterol.  He wears an insulin pump, but never tests his blood sugar.  I think that he is suffering from depression, and I know that he suffers severe mood swings from the blood sugar swings.  He eats whatever he wants, whenever he wants, he doesn't exercise, and he has gained quite a bit of weight.  I know he is in denial as to what he is doing to himself.  He isn't belligerently noncompliant.  He just refuses to see.

My reason for posting is this: we have been married for 8 1/2 years and we have two young children.  I am scared to death for him, because I can see where we are heading, even if he cannot.  I know that deep in his heart he wants to take care of himself, but I think it is all too overwhelming and scary to start.  With the support of his brother and parents, with whom he is very close, I am trying to arrange a sort of intervention to try and help him get on track.  I recognize both that this is his disease and that we have to be a part of it.  Does anyone have any advice for me (brutal honesty okay)?  I am looking for people who have been in either my or my husband's position to tell me what worked or didn't work.  Any advice would be appreciated.  I love him, and I just want to help him however I can.

Hi Christina - I've been wanting to answer you since I saw your post while I was at work.   First of all, thank you for reaching out on this forum.  These types of posts are the ones I feel are so important.  Also, thank you for doing what you can to help your husband.  Too many times these days we see people just turn their back and walk away.    

I have been in your husband's position before.  I was 8 years old (almost 9) when I was dx'd.  I'm 40 now.  I don't have children, however, I've been through what your husband is going through now.  I'd be lying to you if I said I was completely over it.  I was lucky and had a wife that didn't nag and hound me about things but she did suggest marriage counaeling.  I thought 'what? are you nuts?'  She did push for it and I went.  It was the best thing I ever did.  I did, in fact, go on some antidepressants at the time.  In that 'safe' environment, my wife was able to tell me that she was scared for me and us.  I never realized it before.  I still don't think I was that far gone, but I could definitely see where she was coming from.  There are still times where I don't want to take care of myself, but those have become less and less frequent and I owe it to the counseling.

I am not saying that I think you should go down that road, just that it worked for me.  To be honest, I don't know how your husband will react to some sort of intervention.  Often times, type 1 diabetics already feel like we are out on an island by ourselves.  I fear that he'll feel ganged up on.  That being said, if you think there's no way he'll pick himself back up on his own, having people close to him saying they love him and worry about him, might just nudge him in the right direction.   On another note, it was not until I got to see the endo I've had since 2004, did I realize my moods (among many other things) were usually related to my bg levels (not all the time but more often than not).   Once I started to recognize those symptoms, I started to really see the benefits of counseling and exercising.  

The counseling and seeing a new endo, helped me get back to the basics.  I think you are so right on when saying "I think it is all too overwhelming and scary to start." when referring to wanting him to take care of himself.   Sometimes we will get in those funks and it's very very hard to pull out of.   I believe that getting back to basics, as I call it, is the best way to get back on track.  It's the little things - a basic diet, counting carbs and testing more often will allow him to get his bg levels back in check.  You then can build off of that.  Does he have an endo that would put the time in to work with him on it?  It really is amazing how much better you feel, moods included, when your bg's are in check. 

I have a couple questions for you -  Have you asked him about testing himself?  (I know all too well that sometimes we really bristle at that)  Have you talked to him about diabetes in general? What are his responses?   My guess is that you know him better than he knows himself at this point.  Based off of your post, I think you are more than likely on the right track.  I'd say trust your instincts at this point.   Do your best to hang in there.

One last point - have you pointed him in this direction? Juvenation I mean.  He will find a lot of guys out here just like him.  Sometimes we just need a place to unload it all - this is a great place to do it.   Please keep me/us posted as to how things are going.  This site is also for friends and family to get support as well!  

Be well


From my own personal experience dealing with diabetes and depression, I had to fall off the deep end before I was willing to accept any kind of help. I am an alcoholic. I had to go to rehab before I realized I had problems and had to learn to deal with them. I still will "protest" from time to time regarding doing blood tests (because I absolutely DESPISE blood tests), but I am "allowing" myself to protest and I am consciously aware of the decision I am making. If your husband is anywhere I was, it will take a mighty effort for him to realize his own situation. I was told to either get help or get out. At the time, I couldn't afford to "get out," so I had to accept the help. For me, it was an eye opener. I had been through years of therapy prior to this, but I had figured out how to lie my way through the sessions.

Your husband will see his errors. Stand by him, remind him he is loved. Stay firm in your beliefs, but you can't force him to change. He will change, but it will be on his own terms.

I am truly sorry you are experiencing this right now. From my own experiences, I understand how much you care about him and how much you agonize over the way he cares for himself. He does know how much you love him. His seeming inability to take care of himself is all a part of his depression. Stay in touch with us. If you can convince him, try getting him to join the community. He might be able to "see the light" in talking with others in his same situation. Good luck. Let us know if we can help.


I feel the others here have said so many things that I wanted to...  but I'd like to add one thing from my own experience.  Has your husband ever had his thyroid levels checked?  I went for years undiagnosed, until I went to a new endo who diagnosed me with hypothyroidism.  I think some of my depression at the time may have been due to other factors, but the severity of it was definitley corrected with thyroid medication.  Unfortunatley, thyroid issues tend to be common among us T1's.  Here is some information on the Mayo Clinic wesbite.... hope this helps.  You are doing the right thing and I am sending positive thoughts your way.  Like C said... if there's anything we can do, please let us know.

Hi, Doug.  Thank you so much for your response - I cannot tell you how much I could relate to what you were saying.  Thank you so much for being so honest with me.  Knowing that we are going through something that others' have been through is a great comfort.  I actually e-mailed my husband's endocrinologist a couple of weeks ago, before I posted here and got her recomendation for a family therapist who has worked with diabetics.  I have been trying to decide if I wanted to bring her up as a therapist for him or a therapist for us.  I have also been very concerned about him feeling judged and ganged up on, in terms of talking to him about his health.  I hadn't really put the two together, though.  You referred to the counselor's office as safe, and I think that is exactly what we need.  I do not want to shame him, only to offer my love and support.

He has a wonderful endocrinologist, who is young and enthusiastic about a very proactive care regimen, but she told me when I e-mailed her that she was having a great deal of difficulty getting him to comply.  He refuses to let me come to the office with him, so until I heard that from her, I could sort of pretend along with him.  I knew that he was not taking care of himself, but I could tell myself that the fact that he had no major complications yet meant that he was somehow protected from them in the future.  Now I just feel like we are completely vulnerable.  The problem now is that we have switched insurance companies, and she is no longer covered on our plan.  His brother is an ER doctor in St. Louis, and I have him researching who the best endocrinologist in Houston is.  We are also looking into a new insuln pump and CGM system (we met our deductible!)  I know, though, that until he is ready to face it, none of that will help.  I want to be there to help him face it, not to nag him.

You asked if I had mentioned testing to him, and I have, many times, but admittedly, mainly when he is obviously high or low, which is a testy time at best.  Recently, I feel that I can feel his swings far before he does.  His mood swings scare me with our two girls, so this is a real point of contention with me.  He had a terrible belligerent low a couple of weeks ago in front of our daughters, and our three year old definately noticed and was scared by it (it breaks my heart for her).  I called his parents, which in the ten years I have known him I have never done, because I was so afraid.  He bristles when I try to talk to him about it, and I know some of the blame lies in my timing.  This is where I think you are right about the counselor working well. 

It's funny, we talk a great deal about his diabetes, in terms of his pump and even what he (and we) should be doing, but it begins and ends with him saying, I know what I need to do, and I just need to do it.  I don't think it is that simple, and because he does, he has a great deal of shame in his poor control.  He and his family are very hesitant to talk about his history with diabetes.  He was 14 when diagnosed, so he must have a memory of the experience and of life before, but he always tells me that he doesn't remember it being a big deal to him or to his family.  His younger brother was 11 at the time, and he is now a doctor.  I know his family, and I know that this was a huge trauma for all of them, but none of them are really able to talk about it.  They have only just started opening up to me, because I called them in a panic that other morning.  I plan to talk to Paddy this weekend about trying the counselor.  i will keep you posted.  thank you so much for your kind and thoughtful response.  You have made this all feel a lot less scary.

Best regards, Christina


Thank you so much for your insight.  You said everything beautifully.  Before I met him, I suffered greatly from depression, so I know the pain of it intimately.  I never knew at the time the agony for those who love me.  I do now.  I know that if he could take care of himself right now, he would.  And while I am at times very angry at him for not, I understand why he can't, and I can't bear to think of the shame I know he feels.

I am going to try to convince him to join the community.  He has no one else in his life who is diabetic like him, and I am sure that he would find great comfort and insight in talking with others, just as I have.  Thank you again.

Best regards,



Thank you for the positive thoughts - I can feel them.  I have added thyroid levels to my list.  I think that his father has issues with his thyroid, so that very well may be an issue.  I hadn't thought of it.  Thanks again!

Best regards,


Hi Christina,

All of the previous stories and suggestions are very inspirational indeed.  My own personal experience, being a type 1and having lived with my boyfriend at the time (recently he just became my husband) for almost 8 yrs., is that he's always been so patient with me.  Never nagging, that's always a good start because I feel more rebellious when people nag me about remembering to check my sugars or eat right or exercise.  Sometimes, my husband will let me check his sugars, which is always fun, but makes me feel kind of normal if he wants it done too.  Or I'll let him check mine for me and that's like having a nurse do it for me, so it kind of takes away the feeling of it being my responsibility, just more of a "someone's tending to me" instead.  My husband changed his whole diet just to compliment mine too.  He tries to eat more vegetables and fruits and less carbs (he's a HUGE fan of pasta and burgers, btw).  He's even turned to whole wheat!  He'll even buy sugar free syrup for the both of us and drink diet coke.  I find this amusing all the time because he's a very picky eater and usually does not like to try things out of his normal likes and comfort foods.  But, it definitely helps me out because I feel more motivated to eat healthier for him since he's trying so hard to eat healthier for me.  He also introduces me to new sports, so we can get exercise together.  Our favorite things to do together are hiking and surfing.  But, we'll get into Wii sports for fun (this is cool because he works in the video game industry and it's the one time I'll play video games).  His favorite sport is boxing and so I have taken up a boxing class just so I can spar with him (which is so much fun because it leads to other fun).  Teehee!  ;oP  In the end, I'm always more inspired no matter how depressed I am about diabetes and how inconvenient it is because in all of his support for me, he'll inconvenience himself just for me.  So really, he's working harder than I am.  But, it's also really good quality time together.  They are like adventures we take...finding new ways to cook a healthy meal and other ways to get exercise together.

I wish you and him the best of luck and I wish him well!