Depression and Diabetes

I don’t want to get out of bed. What difference does it make any way? I am tired. I don’t matter. I can’t take it any more. I can’t lift this dark cloud that hangs over me. I am poor company. My family is much better off without me. I don’t make a difference in the world. I am just taking up space. No one would miss me. What is the point?

Does any of that sound familiar? Many of us have had some or all of these thoughts to varying degrees. Yesterday’s passing of Robin Williams showed us that money, fame, and talent do not protect you from the devastating reach of depression. Sadly, if you live with diabetes, you are also twice as likely as the rest of the general population to be effected by depression.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders characterizes clinical depression “as having five of more of the following symptoms during a 2 week period and represents a change from previous functioning with at least one of the symptoms being a depressed mood or loss of interest or pleasure.  The other symptoms included a diminished interest or pleasure in almost all activities most of the day, may appear tearful,  significant weight loss or gain, insomnia or hypersomnia nearly every day, psycho-motor agitation or retardation never every day, fatigue or loss of energy nearly every day, feeling worthless or excessive or inappropriate guilt, diminished ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness, recurrent thoughts of death, recurrent suicidal ideation without a specific plan or suicide attempt.  These symptoms are not brought on by medication or other physical condition and impair ones social, occupational or other important areas of functioning. “

Everyone has those days when the world seems dark and bleak.  People living with diabetes however are cautioned by experts to watch a bit closer for signs of clinical depression in their own lives.  Gary Scheiner mentions this issue in his book “Until There is a Cure“.  He and others note that the pressure that comes with diabetes care, the need to “get it right”, and be the perfect diabetic can lead to failure and a deep sadness that can spiral into clinical depression.

We are also reminded that the people with diabetes are not the only potential victims.  Parents of children with diabetes may also find themselves in a pit from which they cannot see the light. We often experience our own guilt for first somehow allowing our child to develop this disease. There is the guilt over nagging them to test or inject.  The feelings that we are robbing our children of a “normal” childhood by forcing them to take responsibility for their diabetes care too soon can be overwhelming. The list of reasons for sadness go on in both those living with diabetes and those who care for them. The challenge is to recognize the symptoms and get help.

The Mayo Clinic feels so strongly in this that their website specifically cautions people living with diabetes to be very alert to signs of depression.  If you feel that you are suffering from clinical depression, please see your doctor.  Just as you take insulin to deal with the imbalance in your body thanks to a non-functioning pancreas, it is important to take medication that can help to work with brain chemistry that has somehow found itself out of balance as well. Using brain supplements from, can help with many things such as depression and brain performance. Counseling, therapy, and even life coaching can help to deal with the daily stressors of diabetes care.  They can help you to deal with triggers and create coping strategies but they will not fix the chemistry if you suffer from clinical depression. If you are struggling with a diabetes diagnosis, please look for support from others. If you feel that the depression and sadness has become prolonged or overwhelming, please see your doctor. Together you can  create a plan to help you find your way forward again.

robin williams
Thank you for the years of enjoyment and sharing your talent. May you find the peace in death that you were unable to find in life. RIP



What if Diabetes Hadn’t Come Knocking?

What if diabetes hadn’t entered our lives 14 years ago? What if my son never had to lance his finger or inject himself? What if we had never heard of insulin pumps or continuous glucose monitors? What if I was able to sleep through the night once he turned two and never looked back? What would our world be like?

I have no idea and after letting these questions sit in my mind for all of a minute, I decided that it really wasn’t worth my time to even ponder. Chances are that my world, and his, would be vastly different but nothing will allow us to go back.  Nothing will change what is.

Perhaps I would have returned to the workforce once he entered grade one as I had originally planned. Perhaps I would have found a job related to my degree…or not. Perhaps I would have still been involved in school politics…or not. Perhaps I would have still stood up to injustices that I saw locally, provincially, or nationally…or not. It doesn’t matter what I might have done. It only matters what I have done. 

My son was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when he was 2 years old. He knows no life before injections, carb counting and the lancing of fingers.  His life is filled with diabetes supplies and nutritional information packages.  He has to learn to adapt to peer pressures, girlfriends, career goals, and diabetes care not necessarily in that order.

After diabetes moved in I made a decision not to return to the workforce. I stayed home with my children to be readily available to my son at school and throughout the nights. I was lucky to have been able to make that choice.

I created a website, rambled in a blog, and turned to social media to seek support and later hopefully provide some.  I stepped up when I saw something that I didn’t like, and as always had been my way, I worked to change it.  The difference was that diabetes made these issues that I stood for more meaningful, more personal, and impacted more people.

I don’t spend a lot of time looking back and saying what if… I spend some time wondering if I could have done somethings better but I try not to live there. I rarely, if ever think about what life would have been like without diabetes. It is a part of our lives. It is my son’s disease but it has impacted our entire family.  It has brought us blessings and has lived in our nightmares.  It creates struggles and issues that would not otherwise exist but it is part of our life.  It requires constant vigilance but so does life.  It shows us our strengths and reminds us of the importance of family and friendships. It shows us a new definition of family.

I don’t spend time wondering “what if diabetes missed our family?”  I don’t spend time thinking about a cure. I pray for a time when my son can access new technologies like the bionic pancreas that will make his life easier.  I quietly hope that he will live to see a cure but it is a hope that sits at the far edge of my mind.  More importantly, I pray that my children are happy. I hope that they both have long lives. I want them to maintain their health and hope that  they always know how much they are loved, valued and cared about.


Diabetes Coaching? What is it all about?

In the past few weeks, I have had quite a few people asking me about diabetes life coaching. What is it? What is involved? Can you help me to get my readings under control? Will you help me to fix my dosages?

Life Coaching is a process driven by you.  Just like a hockey coach will help to bring out your very best hockey game by offering you skills drills, a life coach will suggest tools and exercises to help you to get the very best out of your life.

As a coach, I cannot change your insulin dosages but I can encourage you to work with your CDE and even suggest some great people who are qualified to do this.  I can help you to work with your moods or those of a loved one. I can help you to find coping mechanisms that work for you and your family.

I cannot help you to figure out how to deal with exercise and your diabetes.  There are great coaches out there like Ginger Vieria who already do a fabulous job at that and are much better qualified than I am. Again, I can help you to get in touch with someone who can help you.

As a life coach, and a person who has lived with a child with diabetes for the past 14 years, I listen and will offer my own experience. I work with you to find ways to deal with the issues that you are facing each day.  A life coach helps you to examine your life as a whole and see how to work on the parts that are out of whack with how you would like things to be. I work to help you to adjust to this new life.

You decide what needs fixing.  Together we decide how best for you to fix it.  It is then my job to keep you accountable to do whatever we have decided will help to fix things for you.

I am not a counselor, although I may suggest that you see one.  I am not a CDE, although they may be what you require. I am a parent. I am a certified life coach. I do have a university degree in psychology.  I have been learning about diabetes daily for over 14 years. I have overcome my own obstacles and continue to meet new challenges.  As a life coach, I pass along my experiences and help you to find your own way.

If you would like more information, please feel free to contact me and we will connect to see what is right for you to help you get your life back on a track that you can once again enjoy to the fullest.