When I was first diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, I didn't really understand what all the fuss was about. I'd just come out of critical on to an ordinary hospital ward. When a diabetic nurse turned up at my bedside with a handful of booklets and a blood-test kit I still felt numb.
Developing diabetes can be a life-changing event. Many people who are diagnosed with diabetes are overwhelmed with an onslaught of new information, medications, doctor visits and a feeling of helplessness. Diabetes can be frightening, particularly for anyone who is not familiar with the disease.
We are told about what complications may occur. We have to learn about insulin and medication and I certainly felt helpless and hopeless at the beginning.When first diagnosed many diabetics experience a period of denial. They refuse to believe there is anything wrong with them.
I had the same feelings. I'd felt perfectly healthy until a couple of days before I was rushed to hospital. I was sure it must be a virus that had affected me and that the doctors would soon discover this and I wouldn't have to do insulin injections any more.
Alas this was not the case. Until you can accept the fact that you are diabetic you just get more and more frustrated and depressed. Depression and diabetes often go hand in hand. According to the American Diabetes Association, people with diabetes have a greater risk for developing depression than other individuals.
The stress of managing your diabetes can wear you down. There are new medications to take, blood sugar must be monitored frequently and a record kept for your doctor. There are frequent doctor visits and there may be several different medication combinations needed before your blood sugar is kept under control.
You have to learn to read your own body signals in order to recognize the ups and downs of sugar levels and what happens when they go haywire. If you've always preferred four hours in front of TV with a greasy take-away, you are in for a shock! It's healthy diet and exercise from now on. People who have diabetes are often faced with sudden lifestyle changes and even the thought depresses them.
Foods that you once enjoyed are now taboo. An exercise regime is often recommended. In fact exercise can be very effective in fighting depression but people with depression often have little energy to get physically active As the depression continues, people often lose interest in monitoring their blood sugar levels and may even miss their regular medication.
Depression causes people to lose pleasure in every day activities and you may go off your food. You may have trouble concentrating and have trouble sleeping. Or you may even sleep too much. Many people suffer from depression, but for a diabetic, it can be life threatening. Depression and diabetes is a dangerous combination.
The answer to fighting depression is to learn as much about the diabetes as possible from the beginning. This can alleviate the feeling of helplessness that often accompanies the diagnoses. Ask your doctor questions. Do research. Find out how you can help manage you disease.
You can be in control.
If you feel you are suffering from some of the signs of depression, ask your doctor to recommend a therapist who is familiar in dealing with people with chronic illness. Do not be afraid to discuss your illness with family and friends. Diabetes is a nothing to be ashamed of. It is a disease that affects millions of people.
If you can, join a support group for others who also have diabetes. Here you can not only find kindred spirits who are experiencing some of the same fears as yourself, but you can also learn about new information and research.
When a person is diagnosed with an illness it will always puts them at risk of depression. If you are diagnosed with diabetes, you can take back the control and learn how to manage your disease.
Your diabetic health team will applaud you for doing it. Be enthusiastic about managing your diabetes, you will eliminate the depression. Determine to think of the future in positive terms and enjoy life to the full.
Irene Forde writes on health and fitness issues. Take a look at her latest book which tells how she achieved a healthy positive lifestyle after she was diagnosed with diabetes, plus check out the 3 x FREE books offer which is included, at her website http://www.movingonwithdiabetes.com
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