Hello I have a 24 year old son with type 1 and was diagnosed at 16. The last couple of years he has been depressed and will not get help. I have tried and tried to help. Anyone who is dealing with depression or has have any suggestions to help me help him?
Hi @Jamieferg and welcome to the forum. I’m sorry for what you and your son are going through.
My mom (who did not have diabetes) was diagnosed with clinical depression and lived with it for over 30 years. Unfortunately, as you probably know, an adult will not get help unless 1.) they’re willing, or 2.) they have a medical emergency and must be hospitalized - as we discovered when she went off her meds a couple of times.
If he is depressed about diabetes - which is not uncommon - he might find the forum helpful: we have members who have shared that struggle and can give him some encouragement. And while we don’t give medical advice we do share suggestions that have helped us with our BG challenges.
Wishing you and your son all the best.
Does your son have a pet? I have had T1 since about his age and that was many years ago and besides therapy and meds here and there (which of course would require his wanting to get help) , the most helpful thing that has pulled me out of difficult times is my dogs. I have rescue pugs and they provide constant love, companionship, and humor. Something he can care for. I wish him the best.
He does have a cat that he loves and the cat loves him back. Thank you for the response
I have a couple of family members who have suffered for years. It’s so frustrating when they refuse help and treatment. I leaned some tools to help me cope by attending local support meetings for the family members of those with mental health issues.
@Jamieferg I think we all go thru some phase of the “why me” and “what’s the use” with T1, seems to be part of the process of acceptance like 7 stages of grief. That said, it’s probably not something you can force on an adult like your son, he will have to be a willing participant unless it’s forced on him by the medical system…and even then the chance of rejection is high. What you can do is make it easier by encouraging him to seek help, perhaps doing some of the research and making it available or having it around for him to “find”, and being honest with him by bringing up your perception and providing a path for him to choose, but that depends on the relationship you have with him already. As a parent, sometimes the hardest thing is doing the above and then letting go, yet being available to help when it’s asked for. Sometimes, it’s best for the info to come from another source, friend, Endo, PCP, to other as it’s taken in differently than from a parent. It’s great that you care and want the best, but he’s going to have to accept and be willing to try to get the help offered.
I have been thinking of finding a support group. Thank you for the suggestion. I will start looking at options
You are so right when it’s the parent offering this information it’s kind of taken different than anyone else. I would hope he is telling his dr but there is no way for me to know for sure. I do offer suggestions and try not to be ioverwhelming but since I am mom I am being dramatic . Thank you for your feedback, it’s helpful
I’ll also add that if your son might be interested in something a little off beat, he might check out the website for Taking Control of Your Diabetes. Their site ends in org, It’s led by two Endocrinologists, who were both diagnosed as young men. They share how it impacted them growing up, dealing with all the challenges of being TI. Their programs are directed at education and support for TIs. They feature guests speakers who add info, experiences, etc, They do it with music, skits, humor, kindness and no judgment.
They’ve helped me over the years for sure. They have on line conferences, live conference and videos you can watch anytime on their site. I’d post a sample but am not sure if it’s allowed. Music videos (original songs about being TI or popular songs with lyrics modified for TI) are on you tube. For me the music videos are both touching and funny at the same time. It definitely inspires me,
I have no affiliation with the group. I’m not saying this is for depression, but inspiration. That has helped me explore resources.
Thank you for the suggestion. I will pass it on to him.
I didn’t know about TCOYD website . Thank you for that info! And I see on May 15 they have a video drop “Mental Health and Diabetes!”
I’ll look forward to that. Their virtual live conferences are often on Saturdays. Replays are often anytime. And, I think they have a Live conference this summer in San Diego. Registration may still be open. Before covid, they went to major cities annually for conferences. I loved it! I can’t say how great they were. Family members were also welcome.
The best part of TCOYD, is Pettus and Edelman (the two primary players) are both T1’s and doctors (Endo’s at that!), have lived the life of a T1 for years, take a pretty practical approach using different methods, stay abreast of newest treatments, and inject fun into the process of living…like how to eat pizza, have three donuts, use different “social” drinking, etc., AND realize treatment is different for many of us. I’m lucky to have found them early on after dx!
I still struggle with the depression, myself. One thing that really affected me back when I was a teen, was how adults in my life would always attribute my low moods with my blood sugar. It felt like I was a T1D first, and a human second. I know now as I am older they were just concerned, however it frequently made me feel I was just a living, walking disease.
Getting closer to being an adult only ramped up the negative feelings. I recall feeling despair and fear over how I would be losing access to insurance through my mother. I wish I could go back and reassure myself that I would still be able to access supplies and insulin without insurance or medical care. Maybe then I could’ve focused more on finishing school properly, and getting a good job with health insurance… but I digress.
I know bg levels play a big role on moods, there is no denying that, but I feel if my family took my low moods seriously rather than ascribing it all to diabetes, I’d have been in a better place. Even today, I admit I avoid my family for always targetting me for my diabetes- it made me feel abnormal and broken. My brother still resents me for having all that attention, and he refuses to allow his kids any sugar at all in fear that they will be like me (I don’t know why he believes sugar is what causes T1D but there is no convincing him anymore. My mother made such a big deal over it I think it gave him a lifelong paranoia.)
Maybe reassuring that there will always be insulin and supplies at moms if he needs it, even when he is older, can help (you can get insulin pens/vials with no script from walmart, roughly 50 bucks for a pack of 5 pens, and needles/strips etc from amazon). And then trying to focus on his hobbies and interests and supporting them, so he can feel more like a ‘real’ person, so to speak. If he has goals to look forward to, it may end up inspiring him to take care of his sugar levels so he will be able to fully enjoy them once he gets there. It feels much better to be motivated by hope instead of fear.
I want to end this by saying these are just my own anecdotal experiences, and absolutely may not apply to everyone. I am just hoping sharing my experiences may help someone.