Guest posts / health / Living with diabetes

Anna: Let’s talk about depression

Diabetes and Depression |

Diabetes and Depression

What a combo.  As if having diabetes wasn’t enough, out comes depression to make it complete.  Or was it the other way around?  This is reminiscent of an old chicken and egg dilemma. Remember, which came first?

Chicken hatches out of egg

People with diabetes (PWD) are more likely to have major depression compared to those who don’t have it.  Diabetes is a chronic condition that requires attention on a daily basis.  This can feel overwhelming at times and can take a toll on both physical and emotional health.

Diabetes affects emotions and emotions can affect BG level.  It isn’t clear whether depression somehow triggers diabetes or if having diabetes leads to being depressed.  In either case, there is obviously a connection.

The mere sound of the word DEPRESSION is reminiscent of a low mood, feeling worthless, having low energy, feeling sad and whatnot.  The blues.

9-sept-depression-cloud-pixabay

While everyone can occasionally get sad, clinical depression is far more than that.  Oftentimes it’s a lifelong challenge.  It can affect people of any age or gender or life situation; depression doesn’t discriminate.

Depression can affect our lives in so many ways.  It can range from work issues to relationships to drug & alcohol use or suicidal thoughts.

When you feel low and down in the dumps, a feeling of despair follows.  You might start thinking that no one can help you since they can’t change the circumstances.  Well, and you’re wrong.  What can be changed is the way you look at the events surrounding your depression; a different angle, so to speak.  I know this for a fact; been there, done that, right around the time of my divorce.  But I finally bounced back although this took quite some time.

The symptoms of depression can include feeling sad or unhappy especially in the morning; at times, irritable and angry.  Frustrated, having low energy, loss of interest in activity that you usually enjoy.  This can affect your sleeping pattern; you might feel anxious and restless.  You may experience guilty feelings and can’t concentrate.  Your eating pattern can change as well; you can eat much less or more than you usually do; you may develop unusual cravings.

5 Causes of Depression |

1.   Depression can be genetic, although the exact gene causing it is presently unknown. If you have a family member with depression, you’re more likely to experience it, too.  This however might be hard to tell as clinical depression was formally recognized in the U.S. around 1970s.  Prior to that, it was known as melancholy, therefore undiagnosed.  It could have been misdiagnosed for a multitude of other reasons, especially in the old days.

2.   Depression can be triggered by imbalance of certain neurotransmitters in the brain.  Why this is happening, remains a mystery and is not fully understood.  Antidepressant medications work to balance these neurotransmitters, mainly serotonin.

3.   Hormonal changes certainly play a role in developing depression.  Generally, depression is more common in women than in men, due to the changes in hormone levels throughout a woman’s life.  Pregnancy, giving birth or experiencing a miscarriage, PMS, menopause are just a few examples.  Thyroid problems can cause hormonal fluctuations as well because thyroid is an endocrine gland.

4.   Enter the change of seasons.  Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD is a form of depression that can happen as daylight hours get shorter as the winter approaches.  Around this time of the year, some people experience feelings of tiredness, lethargy and loss of interest in everyday tasks.  This condition usually goes away once the days get longer.

5.   Then there is a situational depression that can happen due to a change in life circumstances or struggle.   Such as for example, losing a loved one, getting fired from work, financial troubles or other serious changes.  PTSD or post-traumatic stress disorders is often diagnosed in soldiers returning from war.  However, it can also happen as a result of a childhood trauma, abuse or assault, a car accident, or being diagnosed with a life-threatening condition.  Some sources classify these as anxiety disorders.

The treatment of depression is a long and bumpy road.  It may include medications, psychotherapy, or both.  It can go by trial and error and takes time to find a working combination of these.  Exercises can definitely help but oftentimes it’s easier said than done.  When you’re feeling sad, worthless and having low energy, exercises can seem next to impossible.  Perhaps you can start out slowly.  Try to stay busy with something you enjoy doing … if you draw a blank, turn to chores.  Generally, anything that helps to take your mind of whatever bothers you.  If you feel like writing, keeping a diary might help; blogging is even better.  You can find plenty of understanding folks here on WordPress.

2 thoughts on “Anna: Let’s talk about depression

  1. My depression resulted in anger. I was an angry human. I am so happy I obtained treatment. All I can say is that happiness is much nicer than being angry.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I was depressed on and off for decades. “Atypical” depression, which is actually commoner than the “typical” kind, with a side order of SAD. Tricyclics worked fairly reliably but with funky side effects. SSRIs worked poorly and temporarily, suggesting serotonin was not the problem (not uncommon). Venlafaxine worked nearly as well as tricyclics and was side-effect free FOR ME (not true for many though).

    The most amazing thing happened when I started low carbing and my blood glucose and insulin no longer cycled (and I strongly suspect switching into ketosis was also a major player), the depression went away and has stayed away. My theory is that the rapid BG drops produce not only glucagon but cortisol, epinephrine, norepinephrine etc. hence I was reacting to low levels of stress (or no stress) as if they were high levels of stress. The SAD is still there but much reduced, especially this year as I’ve been out in the sun as much as possible.

    My father had “treatment-resistant” depression for years. Well he had Graves disease when he was young and they hacked out most of his thyroid, in retrospect he later became hypothyroid but all the obvious symptoms were ignored in favour of the “psychiatric” diagnosis, which often happens. My thyroid was always resolutely normal until I got old and also developed Graves, and when overtreated I also became a zombie which fortunately I can control by reducing my carbimazole dose

    My take-home point: there may well be physical reasons for “psychiatric” disorders and there may also be physical treatments that help or cure, especially since the current “epidemic” of depression seems to track with the other “epidemics” of metabolic disease. And it was nothing to do with my mother!

    Oh and it was the rooster that came first . . .

    Liked by 1 person

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