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Living with Diabetes: The 3 D’s – Diabetes, Depression & Diabulimia

July 13, 2011

Caitlin Waters

Diabetes can be a tough disease to deal with. I can still remember some days when I was younger where I would just cry and always ask my parents “Why me? Why did I have to get this horrible, stupid disease?” I remember when I was 12 I had a rough year with my diabetes. I was having seizures and I was constantly feeling down because I couldn’t imagine a harder life.

Since then my attitude has completely changed. I remember I told myself “until this disease is cured, you have to deal with it. You need to try and stay positive and find people and activities that make you happy and surround yourself with that.” I have done just that. I have really made diabetes a positive in my life. I have a new mindset that is: This disease sucks, but I’m going to prove to everybody I can still do everything I want with this disease, I just have to make some minor adjustments along the way.

Here are my 5 tips in dealing with depression and how I overcame it:

  1. Have a good support system. It is very important to surround yourself with people who can help you and be there for you when you need somebody. Let the people around you know if you are having a rough day so they can help.
  2. Tell yourself you can and will deal with your diabetes. Don’t deny you have diabetes and not take care of yourself. In order to live a good life with diabetes you need to take control of the situation and deal with it the best you can.
  3. Find an endocrinologist who understands you. Be open with your endocrinologist. Tell them how you’re feeling and ask for their suggestions in treating your depression and better managing your diabetes.
  4. Treat yourself well. Being diabetic, it is important to eat healthy and exercise regularly. Find healthy recipes with the foods you like best and choose activities you most enjoy that will help you feel better and allow your blood sugars to stay in range.
  5. Try to stay positive. I know this sounds a little cheesy, but people always say I’m so carefree. I haven’t always been “Carefree Caitlin”, but I have taught myself to practice being positive as much as possible. Having a positive attitude is crucial in dealing with a disease like diabetes, and it really does relieve some stress.

 For more articles on diabetes and depression, refer to our Resource Page.

 Are you or someone you know showing signs of diabulimia?

Diabulimia is an eating disorder in which the purging associated with bulimia is accomplished not through vomiting, but by shedding glucose as a result of not taking insulin. Although diabulimia is a very dangerous illness that can lead to deadly ketoacidosis and long-term complications, patients, especially younger ones, do not usually seek help on their own. Because most are not likely to come forward, it’s important that the parents, friends and loved ones are aware of the physical warning signs that result from abuse of insulin. When patients are skipping insulin and developing diabetic ketoacidosis, they will exhibit many of the symptoms associated with their initial diagnosis of diabetes.

To read more about diabulimia and how to get help, check out this video for more about how eating disorders and diabetes are connected or refer to these articles on DiabetesHealth.com, PsychologyToday.com, Self Magazine or JDRF.org.

 As always, the JDRF Dallas Website has resources for your reference. However, if there is a topic that you would like to hear more about, please post a comment below or email us at jtresp@jdrf.org.

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To learn more about the JDRF Dallas chapter, visit our JDRF Dallas website!

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