With Diabetes, you have a lot on your mind.
Diabetes mental health is so important and must be remembered when dealing with this condition. In general, tracking your blood sugar levels, dosing insulin, planning your meals, staying active—it’s a lot to think about. For this reason, it can leave you feeling run down, emotionally drained and completely overwhelmed. As a result, it’s called diabetes burnout. And that’s why it’s important to stay in touch with your emotions as you manage your diabetes. What are you feeling? Stressed out? Angry? Sad? Scared? Generally speaking, take time to take inventory of your emotions and reach out to those around you to talk honestly and openly about how you feel.
Better yet, find a mental health care provider to guide you through the emotional terrain around your disease. With diabetes, feeling physically good is half the battle. Obviously, feeling mentally good is the other half.
Beware of Denial
As with pretty much every emotion you feel when you’re diagnosed with diabetes, denial is natural. Everyone feels that sense of, “not me,” or “I don’t believe it,” or “there must be some mistake.” To put it differently, you need to get your diabetes mental health in check. At some point, you have to accept your diagnosis and take action. By continuing to deny it, you run the risk of not taking action to fight the disease and keep yourself healthy.
An important part of steering out of denial is recognizing how it sounds in your head—and how it makes you avoid critical care. In fact, if you catch yourself saying or thinking any of the following phrases, you may be in denial:
• “One bite won’t hurt.”
• “This sore will heal itself.”
• “I’ll go to the doctor later.”
• “I don’t have time to do it.”
• “My diabetes isn’t serious.”
Everyone goes into denial from time to time—but there are things you can do to make sure you don’t stay there. For this reason, work with your diabetes care team to make a plan and set your goals. In particular, ask your diabetes educator for help and be accountable to them. To clarify, tell your family and friends how they can help you stick to your treatment plan.
Depression can sneak up on anybody
Sometimes, there’s a sadness or an emotional flatness that just won’t go away. Sometimes, you just feel hopeless—and have no idea what comes next. However it shows up, depression is a fact of your diabetes mental health. First thing to remember, it can be hard to detect and can wreak havoc with your self care. Spotting depression is important—and it’s important to check for these symptoms:
• Loss of interest or pleasure
• Change in sleep patterns
• Waking up earlier than normal
• Change in appetite
• Trouble concentrating
• Limited energy
• Morning sadness
• Withdrawal from friends and activities
• Declining school and work performance