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Seeing the Big Picture

by Laura Hieronymus, MSEd, RN, BC-ADM, CDE, and Patti Geil, MS, RD, FADA, CDE

But what if nothing feels enjoyable, meaningful, or worth the effort that daily diabetes care requires? If you feel that way, you may be depressed. Depression is common among people with diabetes, and it can suck the joy and meaning out of life. The symptoms of depression include the following:

  • Persistent sadness
  • Lack of interest in activities that used to bring pleasure
  • Changes in appetite (eating more or less, sometimes resulting in weight loss or gain)
  • Changes in sleeping habits (sleeping more or less)
  • Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
  • Low energy
  • Difficulty concentrating or thinking clearly
  • Sluggishness or agitation
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

When a person has experienced five or more of these symptoms for most of the day nearly every day for at least two weeks, he can be diagnosed with major depression. People who are experiencing some of these symptoms but fewer than five may be diagnosed with minor depression or a depressed mood.

If you think you might be depressed, speak to your diabetes care team. There is help that is safe and effective, including counseling and antidepressant medicines.

Give yourself credit
When all is said and done, you should be proud of yourself for all the things you do to stay healthy with diabetes. Taking some time to plan and make sure you stay on top of your diabetes will prove to be beneficial in the long run. While attention to the detail you are so familiar with is important, don’t forget to take time out to look at the “big picture”; you and your diabetes will be better off as a result.

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