Nearly 7% of people in the United States are diagnosed with depression, says the National Institute for Mental Health (NIMH). And if you have diabetes, you’re twice as likely to be depressed as somebody who doesn’t.
NIMH says scientists don’t know if diabetes increases your risk of being depressed…or if depression increases the risk of having diabetes. Perhaps it’s both, as current research suggests.
“In addition to possibly increasing your risk for depression, diabetes may make symptoms of depression worse,” according to information from NIMH.
The stress of managing diabetes every day and the effects of diabetes on the brain may contribute to depression.
At the same time, some symptoms of depression may reduce overall physical and mental health, not only increasing your risk for diabetes but making diabetes symptoms worse. For example…fatigue or feelings of worthlessness may cause you to ignore a special diet or medication plan needed to control your diabetes, worsening your diabetes symptoms. Studies have shown that people with diabetes and depression have more severe diabetes symptoms than people who have diabetes alone.
I can identify with depression being related to stress. In fact, my depression is stress-related. Just the stress of dealing with life in my shoe (yes, that’s singular) and taking care of my Type 2 diabetes in addition to everything else is enough to keep me on a low dosage of an antidepressant. Just as my body needs supplemental insulin to keep my blood glucose levels under control, it needs more “happy juice” to handle the excess stress.
Dealing with the after-effects of a week in the hospital has resulted in more stress. I was already feeling kind of “down,” but that put me over the edge. I’m not as depressed as I have been in the past — and I don’t ever want to go back there — but I’m depressed all the same. And I don’t like it.
The week in the hospital sapped my energy and my strength, making it difficult to get on and off my mobility scooter. I can’t seem to straighten up my leg enough to get up onto the seat. Since I could even pop up from the floor onto my scooter seat with no problem before June 18, being unable to do it now, even from something about the same height, is really annoying.
Intellectually, I know it’s going to take a little time. Emotionally, I’m screaming “UNFAIR!” in my head where nobody can hear it.
That difficulty turned to some amount of trepidation at the mere thought of getting on and off the scooter, which resulted in overly cautious movements in doing so — which left me on the floor. A lot. It doesn’t make me want to get on and off the scooter.
Unfortunately, it’s a deed that must be done. Otherwise, you’d have to stay in the same place all day, and where would that be? Kitchen? Bathroom? TV room?
There are some inequities. I can get from the scooter onto my desk chair — but not vice-versa. Getting in and out of bed is double trouble. It takes me about 10 or so tries to get onto the bed. Getting back onto the scooter lands me on the floor about one-fourth of the time.
Getting from the scooter onto the shower bench? Not a problem. But after the shower, I sit and stare at the scooter for a l-o-n-g time, wondering if I’m going to end up on the seat or sprawled on the linoleum in all of my nekkidity. And if I’m injured, will somebody at least throw a sheet or something over me before I party with the paramedics?
Sunday, I tried getting into the van for the first time since my unintended trip to the hospital last month. I finally managed. However, my stomach was on the seat and my face was smooshed into the seat back. By the time I got my bottom on my seat — with the help of my husband — I was sweaty and out of breath. Since my granddaughter, her fiancÃ© and I were going shopping and I would be in and out of whatever vehicle we took, we switched to the car.
So that’s where I am right now. Angry. Frustrated. Feeling like a worthless old woman (my granddaughter giggled when I said I couldn’t wait to see what life would be like when I got old — I’m 64). It’s even more difficult to cook because I usually sit on a stool in the kitchen, but I can’t get onto the stool now.
My doctor added another antidepressant after we had a talk. I’m doing some exercises, using the grab bars on either side of my toilet. I do pushups and I steady myself while I stand up. I’ll see my rehab doctor in a couple of days to get some injections for my osteoarthritis and will ask about seeing the physical therapist.
And I’ll just keep on keepin’ on, through the rough patches as well as the smooth ones. It’s all any of us can do.