I need help with my teen t1d

Hey out there i am curious if any parents of teen t1ds have dealt with the teen having serious depression. My son is having some severe depression issues that are leaving me very troubled. The most recent episode was him needing to go to the e.r due to not checking his blood sugar in 5 days. We allow him to do alot his self because at 15 we feel he should be capable this shows responsibility for sleep overs and such. He has been diabetic now for 8 years so this is not a new diagnosis. He is scheduled to meet with a therapist in hopes this will help as his specialist has stated this depression is from his diabetes and hormones combined. We also have taken over his diabetes care because he shows he doesn’t want the responsibility. I will add that in January he told his specialist that he has thoughts of suicide and has no idea why he’s depressed. It was so bad the other day just me speaking to him made him bawl and he just kept apologizing over and over again😟. I have put off counseling as long as I could per his begging not to go. At this point I’m always worried what will happen to him so his request is no longer an option. Any insight or anything would be really helpful rn as I’m on constant alert afraid for him I really need help! Tysm for listening at the least

@Annew36 hi Angela,

I am very happy you are seeking therapy because depression is not something you can “snap out of”. Depression is something that needs careful attention.

I have had T1 for about 40 years and I can tell you that for me, 8 years after diagnosis, a kind of depression had taken what was left of me. At that time, the idea that this was a bad dream and could go away was no longer a possibility. No matter how I ignored diabetes, it kept coming up in my life. This was the time that all hope faded of “the cure is right around the corner”. This was the time that “maybe my parents can help me… maybe the doctor can help me…” all slipped through my fingers and all I could see for the rest of my life was a syringe and an endless life of suffering for being punished with the disease that didn’t seem to affect anyone else.

I was angry with my friends for not having diabetes, I was angry at my religion, at doctors, at technology everything. I was mostly angry at myself as I concluded that I failed, miserably and shamefully, and that it was something I did and somehow I deserved all of this.

No one understood it - my parents would minimize it and say stuff like “everything is going to be ok” - it was not… they would say “it’s not hard to control”… it was. There was such a conflict in my head I still wonder why I didn’t actually hurt myself… I guess I wanted to die but was afraid to commit.

it is a giant leap form this place to a place of acceptance. from being angry at the world to understanding that the world does not owe me an easy time, that everyone on this planet has something difficult to bear, that I am not extra-special or not chosen and, most importantly, that I was not singled out. Once he gets over this spot, he’ll understand like everyone with diabetes understands that this is the new deal, and that I got a life to live, and it’s up to me, it’s my decision, to accept the new deal and all that comes with it- that my life is worth living, and that stuff will happen to me that I could never imagine (both great and painful) and this is just a part of it.

please continue to take this seriously. his emotional outburst while talking tells me he will benefit a lot from therapy. other helpful things are fellowship and action.

if he is around others with diabetes he’ll develop contacts and a better understanding. if he participates online and talks about his stuff it could be a benefit.

please take care and please tell us how he’s doing. I wish you luck, speed and peace during this rough time. “when you’re going through hell - by all means keep going”!

@Annew36 I’m afraid it doesn’t get better. This is something he has to work out himself. Diabetes does nor get better. It gets worse. I’m sorry to hear about your son and know that he is in my prayers, but please know. Don’t ever leave him. He needs the comfort. Trust me I know. All too well. The smallest things can change a lot. I also suggest (if he isn’t already) trying church or youth (Christian celebrations). Maybe even send him to confirmation. He would most likely meet someone to trust and tell his problems to. He may then realise that he is stronger than he thinks and that he is not alone. Unfortunately this may also complicate things, but it’s the best I can suggest.

I’m not a parent but I recently got out of my teen years and I went through and somewhat still am going through the same thing he is. My parents had me try therapy and for it me it wasnt helpful. That’s not to say it wont help him because I know others that it was helpful for. Things that helped me are joining this site and just talking to other diabetics. Dont take this the wrong way, but as much as parents and non diabetics try they will never truly understand what we go through and it’s good talking to those who really do understand. It made me feel less alone, and hearing from people who have been diabetic for over twice as long as I’ve been alive gave me hope. There are lots of teenagers and young adults on this site maybe if he talked to people his age who are also struggling it would help if therapy doesn’t because it’s not likely that a therapist would really know what it’s like to be diabetic.
Also after a few years of depression and getting worse I talked to my doctor and got put on antidepressants. I hated the idea for so long because I already felt broken because of diabetes. I did not want have to rely on another outside source to make myself functional. But after a couple suicide scares I decided that enough was enough. Getting better was within my control I just had to ask. Its important to say that I only think that worked for me because nobody pushed me into it, like my parents did with therapy. I would really recommend laying out all the options available to him that could help and let him decide what to try

Also I believe what he’s going through is called diabetic burnout. Unfortunately it’s very common but there is a lot of information out there about it and ideas on how to combat it

Hi, Angela.

Being a teenager is a bit of a challenge. And it is sometimes an “over-sized” challenge when T1 is part of the mix.

I encourage you to enroll your son in a summer camp program for young people who have diabetes. And insist that he go and stay for the duration of the session. Why? The change of environment and the camp’s structured activities may help to break the daily pattern that contributes to your son’s depressive symptoms.

But more importantly, at camp your son will be surrounded by other young people his age who are living with diabetes. Some of them will be handling diabetes well. And others will demonstrate challenges similar to your son’s. In “the mix” with all those other T1 teenagers your son my begin to realize that he is not alone, and that there is hope he can “make a life” for himself. Going to camp is the first thing I would suggest - it can help to break his pattern of depressive symptoms.

Like Joe, I would encourage you to continue to insist that your son continue his therapy. With the right therapist he may begin to resolve some of the “self doubts” that are likely fueling his depressive symptoms.

I would encourage you, too, to nurture your son’s attempts to “find a passion.” It doesn’t matter if he develops a passion for baseball, painting, building go-carts, photography, architecture, or whatever - discovering one’s “passion” can often be what motivates a person to get out of bed each morning. With the right support, passion can be the “juice” that helps a person “come alive.” Passion can be quite a motivator and, when cultivated, can provide a level of energy that will support one’s attempts to deal with challenges, like the challenge of managing diabetes. Life can’t be “just about diabetes” - it has to include something that instills “passion.” That’s what helps us “come alive,” live, and continue to wrestle this rascal of a disorder.

Don’t be misled by those who would have you believe there is no hope - they have little respect for you, your son, or anyone else who strives to live well in spite of diabetes. Their lack of respect for all of us on the forum is evident in their many negative posts, and in their repudiation of the experiences that are shared. Focus, instead, on your hopes for your son, your family, and the future. “Invest” your energy in those hopes. Without that investment you’ll be simply waiting for “chance” to bring the change you want to see.

I wish you and your son the best!


I definitely know how he feels. My own mother has two children with type 1. I was diagnosed at 8 and I am 31 now. My little brother was diagnosed at 13 and he is almost 17 now. I had really bad depression at your sons age. My mom was worried for me as well. My diabetes was also out of control. I tried therapy with no such luck. Anti depressants and a job is what eventually got me out of my state of depression. Having distractions are definitely something that is beneficial in your sons life.