Depression and Type 1

Hi, i had been dealing with major depression for 4 months before i was diagnosed last Christmas.  Now I am having a horrible time dealing with both diabetes and depression. i have thought of suicide a few times, got over it, thank God.  But I still struggle with self esteem and self worth.

Does anyone have suggestions on how i can get over these feelings and emotions?

Thanks in advance

I like to call it diapression.  I personally have the same issues.  I have a hard time dealing with everything all of the time.  When I was first diagnosed I didn't have a problem but over time I just feel lower and lower.  Along with the depression I have anxiety issues and the only thing I've found that helps is actually seeing a psychiatrist and being medicated.  I was dead set against medication but I finally realized, with the help of my wonderful boyfriend (now husband) that it is ok to need help. 

I hope that you find some way to get help! 

Thanks, i am currently taking anti-depressents and seeing a psychiatrist every week.  my meds are lexapro and cymbalta, I also have anxiety and have problems sleeping so i am taking anti anxiety pills if i get really bad and sleeping drugs every night.  but i still am struggeling with accepting that im going to live with this disease till i die or untill a cure is found.

any hints on how to get over these feelings faster?


Unfortunately you can't really put a time limit on how you feel, but you are taking the right steps in getting help. I too had some of the same feelings you have expresssed and the best way to deal with it is to keep getting help and making sure you keep in contact with all of your doctors so they can help you.

Another thing is, if your blood sugars are out of whack you are more likely to feel depressed as well. Because you are constantly not feeling well. The more stressed you feel the worse your blood sugars are and it is a never ending cycle.

For many years I was in denial of having diabetes because I just wanted to live the way I had before I was diagnosed, I got diagnosed at age 25, 7yrs ago. The way I dealt with having diabetes was not to take care of myself or acknowledge that I had it. One day it all clicked that I could kill myself from the way I was living and I didn't want to die. So, I started taking better care of my diabetes and once I was able to live with diabetes and not let it control me in every way, that is when I knew that I was out of denial.

With the help of therapists, my family and my diabetes team I got myself out of a rut.  A rut that lasted a long time, but I finally did it and I am here to talk to you about it today.

So, just know you are not alone in feeling this way, and anything that I can help you get through this that I would be glad to do.



thank you very much, ive been told all these things over and over but hearing it from someone WITH type 1 helps so much more. 

Pat anytime you need I am here for you. Or you can Private message me too.

Hi Pat.  Please know that you are not alone.  Depression is very common among people living with type 1 diabetes.  It's very over-whelming to think about the countless BG checks and injections or pump site changes that are in our future, but we have to do what we can to stay healthy so we can get that cure when it's found. 

Keep working with your team of doctors, and taking your meds.   All of the information being thrown at you is completely overwhelming.  I know it must seem like diabetes is all your life is right now.  That will get better, I promise.  Once you make it through all those "firsts" (i.e. 1st New Years Eve party, 1st St. Patty's Day, 1st telling of friend, 1st telling of potential love interest) I think the anxiety might be decreased some.   Just know that you are not alone. 

You also need to make sure you reach out to family, friends, even your doctors if your feelings become too much for you deal with.  Please let us know that you will reach out for help if you need it. 

As for what might help, here's some things that have helped me:

  1) volunteering for an organization that is dedicated to diabetes support or research (who knows what they need - stuffing envelopes, making calls, organizing some event - I'm sure those people can find some way to use your strengths and knowledge to it's fullest potential).  Volunteering gave (ha, GIVES!) me something positive to focus on in a crappy situation.

   2) connecting in person with people who are dealing with the same issues - are you in school?  talk to student services - there may be a group of students they know who have type 1.  Or, contact that local diabetes organization and talk to their staff... they may know of someone in the area that is your age and you could meet up with them.

  3) Keep reading and posting out here on Juvenation.  You are going to find soooo many things in common with the people out here.  I'm 32 years into this disease... yeah, I have some depression, but I also have a ton of friends I would have never met had it not been for type 1 (and I'm not saying having type 1 is a good thing).  How would I have ever met Gina without diabetes?  I'm in Michigan, she's in NYC.  Doubtful we'd have ever met without us both being diagnosed.    And keep in mind, all those "complications" the doctors and Internet have terrified you with - we have lots of living proof on juvenation that you can prevent them - I've got 32 complication free years under my belt.

  4) I know ADA and JDRF do Walks to raise money for a cure.  Not that you need to raise money - but go to that event or some other event in your area.  I think you will find a little bit of "peace" being surrounded by 100s (could be 1000s depending on where you are) who are living with type 1.  


Hope this helps.

Pat, there isn't a person with diabetes that hasn't probably felt like you at some point, but please know that suicide isn't a good solution to these feelings.  I think what you have done...the reaching out to those of us with just the way to deal with these feelings. 

I am one of those people, too.  Believe me, there are other ways to think about this illness.  I agree, there are days that it just plain sucks, but let me tell you there could be much worse things that we are dealing with and as long as you manage it and maintain good blood sugar levels you can live a relatively  normal life with a complication-free life.  I have lived with type 1 for over 40+ years and have minimal complications so I know it can be done.  Juvenation is a wonderful place to "talk" with others and you can always contact others at local JDRF chapters in your community.  Also, any o the support groups are wonderful ways to get positive reinforcement that things are going to be okay.  Believe me, it's vital to success. 

Let me also introduce you to the ODST (Online Diabetes Support Team) of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Research Foundation.  It is a group of volunteers consisting of people and their families and friends ready to answer a message you leave about diabetes and it's issues.  Now, the one thing about this program is that if you have something urgent you need an answer for, it's best to come here...but there are so many people with such a variety of experience with the ODST that you can't help but be connected with someone that is certain to help you find positive answers.  You can find the connection on the JDRF website (

Pat, Also, know that depression is a somewhat normal complication of diabetes.  I've personally been dealing with it and have been taking medication for it for over ten years.  The feelings and emotions are probably things that you should talk with others about...perhaps they're fears or worries or you just need to get everything off your chest.  Find someone that you can talk with.  It is so helpful and so cleansing.  But don't discount the possibility that antidepressant medication could be something that will also be quite helpful.

Please feel free to contact me either through Juvenation or contact any of the volunteers at ODST.  We are always happy to help.  If you would like to find the local chapter of the JDRF, that can be located on the main site as well.  Here's the link:

Take good care and try to keep your spirits up. 

The very best to you --


Pat, I have lived as a type 1 diabetic for almost 40 years, and as you grow accustomed to the routine, it will get less stressful for you. Truly, after all this time (I am ridiculously healthy except for the type 1 diabetes), my testing and adjusting of insulin and food has just become something that i give no more thought to than brushing my teeth. In time, it really will cease to be something that you focus on -- you will simply do the things you need to do sort of as a habit.

My best suggestion to you is to put your FOCUS on other goals in life. One person told me once that a child who becomes a diabetic would much rather be considered a child first, and a diabetic second. I think the same is true of adults. I suspect that you are seeing all of life through a "I have type 1 diabetes" filter, and this is coloring your ability to enjoy the things that used to bring you pleasure. While some habits such as a healthy lifestyle may have been forced on you, who you are and what your abilities are have not changed one iota since your diagnosis. You can fill in the blank: "I am a _____________." Don't fill that blank with the word "diabetic", but instead with whatever your dreams in life are. I am an artist. That is what gives me passion in life and joy in existing. That is not affected at all by being a type 1 diabetic. Find your passion in life and go for it, and put your focus on THAT, relegating the diabetic care to something that is simply essential to good health like daily showers and tooth brushing. This really works for me and keeps me cheery.

One more thought... our bodies are wonderfully complex, and I believe that when we have glucose ups and downs, it is fairly common for seratonin levels in the brain to get messed up. The result is a very PHYSICAL depression. I know for sure that I can start to feel depressed if my glucose levels drop, and others tell me that they can feel depressed or edgy or irritable if glucose levels go too high. I think that one key to staying happy is to keep a close watch on those levels so you can catch highs or lows before your body goes into survival mode and your brain chemistry gets out of whack. I have noticed that since starting very tight control about 12 years ago that I am a much happier person, and I believe this is because my brain is not being deprived of the chemicals that it needs to function properly. Maybe this is part of the cause for your depression... it might be worth talking to your doctor about.

thank all of you who have helped me realize that these feelings are totally valid and that i dont have to look towards suicide as my only option.  i will be actively using these tips to help myself when i feel very down.

A doctor told me that not only are there studies that show ties from chronic illness to depression (the mentally overwhelming part of it), but also there are ties from the blood sugar ups and downs to depression (the physical part of it).  I'm surprised everyone with diabetes isn't on antidepressants!  I take citropralm (sp?) - and it takes care of most of the seratonin (brain chemistry) issues for me.

So I strongly agree with what most people here are saying - you are on the right path.  If the meds you have don't kick in within a month - six weeks, tell your doc you want to try something else.  In the mean time, as hard as it is, keep it in the front of your brain that you are going to feel better. 

Equally importantly, try not to think about how the entire rest of your life MIGHT be.  Things change so fast, and your perspective will also change.  There are probably people on this list that had to boil syringes and use pee strips all the time.  Now there are pumps and cgs's, which were not really even in existence when I was diagnosed 23 years ago.  I can't wait to get one of each!   

"Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall." - Confucius

I'm not sure if I'm depressed or not. I get really depressed spontanously. Is that normal?

There are a lot of things that can cause people, male or female, to get depressed at times. That's just part of being human, and it is true of people who don't have diabetes as well as people who DO. For those of us who are diabetics, we can have what i mentioned before, PHYSICAL depression due to imbalances of chemicals in the brain even when we realize that there is absolutely nothing emotionally wrong at all. Trying to keep the glucose levels even-keeled is the only real help. For me, this boils down to doing a simple blood sugar test very often and adjusting either my insulin or my food according to what I see. By testing every 2-3 hours, and adjusting, I can prevent wild swings and keep levels really fairly close to normal, avoiding dangerous lows because I can see them coming, and avoiding highs by correcting before they become severe.


For teenagers, depression can be caused by hormonal swings, too. Not much you can do about that, but realizing that this is what is going on somehow helps you to deal with it. Part of the angst that you feel is not knowing WHY you feel that way. Maybe it boils down to a feeling that you've lost control of your life when you don't know why you feel this way. Knowing the reason helps you feel more in control. I suppose it is like when you have a fever... it feels crummy no matter what, but if you know it is because of a flu virus, you bow your head down and plod through it, while if you don't know why you have a fever, you worry over it and spend more emotional energy on it.

Does that make sense? Understanding WHY seems to be a very important part of dealing with anything for us humans.

I've always had some depression issues myself. It's good to know that I'm not alone.

I've learned, since graduating from college a couple of years ago, that my bloodsugars can really affect my mood. As long as I keep a steady schedule, life is much easier, and happier, all around.


If it were always that easy right!