What are the connections between diabetes and depression?
Can diabetes cause depression? Since I do have diabetes I know a lot about it. It doesn’t have me clinically depressed, but I can see how it can and does drive people to depression. Since I was diagnosed with I’ve made it a point and goal to help as many others as possible with diabetes.
Depression (along with many other factors) is something that can cause diabetes. I think we all may get depressed at times in our lives but it isn’t the same thing as actually being diagnosed with depression. Let’s just look into some facts about diabetes, but mostly get into details about depression itself because that’s the main focus here.
According to Merriam Webster dictionary, depression is defined as: a state of feeling sad : dejection anger, anxiety, and depression (2) : a mood disorder marked especially by sadness, inactivity, difficulty in thinking and concentration, a significant increase or decrease in appetite and time spent sleeping, feelings of dejection and hopelessness, and sometimes suicidal tendencies bouts of depression suffering from clinical depression. So there are numerous causes and symptoms going on here. I just wanted to give you the “technical” definition of what depression is. What we want to do here is to establish what can be done to deal with depression and also the connection between it and diabetes.
About one in every ten adult people can be affected by depression. It is serious because you can’t just snap your fingers and you’re out of it. I know people who have depression or have been through it and it can really control your life. I’ve been depressed and had many days of it throughout my life, but the bad days and bad times eventually turned to good ones so it was never “depression” that I was trapped in. There are a lot of symptoms and I never had most of them. But I have to believe that people just go through bad “depressed” times that are temporary and not permanent.
Being aware of the symptoms of depression
- Fatigue or insomnia
- Any pain or cramps, possible headaches
- Feeling restless and irritable
- Overeating or no appetite at all
- You can no longer concentrate
- No longer have interests outside the home
- Suicide thoughts
- Having feelings of emptiness, sadness, helpless, and hopeless
- Not wanting to be with friends anymore
- No desire to do anything that is physical
There are many other symptoms but these are the most likely ones. Sometimes the best way to deal with it is to see a specialist or psychiatrist. They are the professionals who can help when other methods have not. They may prescribe medications to help you. But some people just have off days like myself.
For the good days I can be happy and on top of the world and then other days you feel like the end of the world. Even if it’s not depression and just mood swings from stress or whatever is causing it, there’s ways to treat it.
Diabetes and depression- what to do
So it’s hard enough to be diagnosed with diabetes. Now you have to deal with it and it can take an emotional toll on you mentally. You have to constantly check your blood sugar, take insulin, see your doctor, watch what you eat, lose weight, take medications and the list goes on. But at least with type 2 diabetes you have options. This is enough that can lead you to depression no doubt.
And while you can control it, this can take a tremendous toll on you mentally and make depression worse. It’s a never ending cycle. Then diabetes gives you negative thoughts about dealing with depression. The most important thing to do is to recognize this early on.
Don’t wait until it’s too late and you go and find out that you are truly in a depression and it will be more difficult to treat. Get to your doctor when you first notice symptoms of depression. Together you can come up with a plan to handle diabetes and depression too.
Remedies for depression without drugs
- Eat right. It’s always about eating healthy so don’t be shocked. There are foods that can make you feel happy because they have serotonin in them and that raises the levels in your brain that make this happen. One of the beet foods you can eat is anything with fish oil and omega 3 fatty acids. Eggs and flaxseed oil are good too. My favorite is coconut oil because it has so many health benefits for you as well.
- Exercise. It’s always recommended for anything to do with good health. But it changes your mind and your thinking. For me bike riding is relaxing and it clears my head. I take my music and I’m in another world. Endorphins make us feel happy and they get released in our brains by exercising.
- Magnesium. You want to keep the chemicals in your brain stable and being that magnesium is the fourth most among minerals in our bodies, it is important we get it through our diet. You’re not able to produce it so you can get it by eating dark leafy green vegetables and nuts. Your other alternative is a magnesium supplement.
- B- vitamins. Next to vitamin D, I feel vitamins B12 and B6 are the most important as far as playing roles in producing the chemicals in the brain that affect our moods. You can get your B-vitamins by eating spinach ( my absolute favorite! Yeah Popeye!), turkey, swiss cheese and fish.
- Acupuncture. There are studies and different feedbacks on acupuncture. By an experienced acupuncturist knows where to insert the needles in your skin and your body releases endorphins that change your feelings from sad to happy. It lasts for many hours.
- Light therapy. I heard about this many years ago. It is most useful in the winter when sunny days are limited. It can make you feel down and depressed. By using bright light therapy it enhances your mood. It “replaces” the sunlight. It works. I’ve tried it!
- Coffee. Negative on the coffee if you’re depressed. Caffeine boosts you up but only to have to come back down to earth quickly after. Too much caffeine doesn’t do anything for the brain’s chemicals that help your good mood.
- Meditation. It takes you away from everything because we lose touch with ourselves with everything that goes on with life. It’s great for depression, anxiety, and stress.
- Pumpkin seeds. Another wonderful source of magnesium and healthy fats that help enhance your mood. They also contain amino acids that aid in producing serotonin.
- Nature. I don’t know about you but being in the great outdoors always does wonders for me. It gives me time to look at all the beautiful things God has given us on this earth and to appreciate them. It is just relaxing and soothing to take in the beauty of the sunrise, sunset, oceans, mountains, lakes, animals, lakes, streams, and so on. It just makes feel feel better and I try and get out as much as I can. Being outdoors UN-depresses me!
Looking toward the horizon
So what’s down the road from depression? I think if you really sit down and figure out what your life’s purpose is, it can be the beginning of a new life. Have you ever thought about why you are here on earth? It’s not because you want to be diagnosed with diabetes or depression or anything else bad. We all have a special purpose in life.
You are no different. Everyone is good at something but not everything. That doesn’t mean that you have to be. none of us can do it all. But when you stop and think real hard about what your passion is in life and then go for it? You’ll see your entire world change.
This is about attitude. I truly believe that it comes down to your attitude and how you act on life not react to it. When I found out I had diabetes, I didn’t curl up in a ball and feel my life was over. No way! I changed my way of thinking about everything. When you think and feel positive thoughts, you attract the same back to you. Ok, I was never diagnosed with a true depression but it doesn’t mean that I haven’t been through depressing times.
I’ve heard and read so many times especially recently about how people who are very old said that they had wished they had done things they always wanted to do and not think about the things they did. Folks, we all know how fast life goes and as we get older it seems to go even faster. This isn’t a game. It’s not a contest. It’s not about money and who has more things than you. YOU are the best person in your life. Take it from me, things didn’t change until I changed how I felt about me. I come first. That’s just the way it has to be. YOU have to come first.
I never had high self esteem until I realized nobody was going to change me and my thinking but ME! There’s a way around everything. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. Sometimes it really helps to talk to someone especially a best friend. You’ll probably only have a few real friends in your life so cherish them. They may see something you don’t. It can help you by just getting it off your back.
Diabetes and depression are things you can control by avoiding them in the first place. Always talk things out. Don’t keep it inside. People care. Confide in the ones you trust. If you do have diabetes, control it. If you have depression, treat it. It’s not easy for either one, but as long as you put your mind to it, you can be the victor!
Thank you for taking the time to read this article. It’s important to me if I can help even one person with diabetes or depression. Please feel free to leave a comment below and I will get right back to you. I appreciate it! Smile! It looks good on you!