Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Other Big D

There are times when I become a little absent.  I’m sure it’s not blaringly obvious, but it’s true.  I’m not on Twitter all that much.  I become very lax at commenting on blogs.  I put off emails for another day.  My Facebook page begins to grow cobwebs.  And maybe, I blow NaBloPoMo as early as Day 8.  In a nutshell, I’m scarce.

Sometimes this happens because I’m busy with off-line things.  Sometimes I simply need a little computer break.  But more often than not, the reason is The Other Big D.  I’m feeling Depressed.

depressedI’ve never been officially diagnosed with depression, but the signs are all there.  It comes intermittently, but it always hits in the fall when the days begin to get shorter.  I lose my focus and my energy.  I can’t seem to get myself dressed and functioning until late afternoon.  I spend hours on the computer, wasting time on silly games.  I feel very unhappy with my life, and I’m sure nothing can be done to fix it.  I feel fortunate that it’s never gotten so bad that I’ve contemplated hurting myself - but I have entertained fantasies of just *poof* disappearing.  And in those moments, I’m sure I wouldn’t be missed.

And then, I start to feel guilty.  I know I have a good life.  No, not a perfect life, but nobody has a perfect life.  But I have a very good life.  I have a husband who loves me - and I see the pain in his eyes when he asks “What can we do to help you?” and I say “Nothing.”.  I’ve got a nice home and a family who loves me.  I have friends - even when I feel like nobody would miss me, I know I have friends who would.  I have a lot going for me.  So I shouldn’t feel depressed, right?  I’ve got a lot of nerve to be moping around.  And being depressed becomes just one more way I have failed, which then makes me feel even more depressed.

Mixing depression with diabetes makes things harder too.  How do you work up the energy to cook healthy meals, count your carbs, exercise and check your blood sugar a dozen times a day when you can’t even work up the energy to brush your teeth?  Yesterday afternoon when Pete asked how my blood sugar has been, I simply replied “I don’t know”, because I hadn’t tested since 6 a.m.  And my sensor ran out but I didn’t bother to restart it.  And I had been randomly bolusing and grabbing junk food all afternoon.  That’s no way to take care of yourself.  It’s no way for a Health Advocate and Diabetes Blogger to set an example.  It’s another way to fail, which is again depressing.

Depression.  It’s a hard thing to write about.  It’s a hard thing to talk about.  It’s a hard thing to admit to.  At least, for me it is.  Often I try very hard to participate just enough in the D-OC so no one would ever guess how I'm really feeling.  Why is that?  Being depressed is nothing to feel ashamed of, and yet, I do.  But recent posts by Elizabeth and Rachel gave me the courage to write this.  Because I have a suspicion depression runs deeper in our community than we really know.  And I think it’s okay, and even good, to talk about it more.  Writing this post was scarier than I can ever convey.  But in a weird way, it also makes me feel like I may have turned the corner with this particular bout of depression.


  1. good for you to overcome your nerves and post something that is very important to you. Depression is not something that anyone should take lightly especially when it affects your health.

    Thanks for sharing and I hope a little ray of light starts to shine on you very soon!!

  2. Oh, sweet friend.

    Thank you for writing this.

    I've struggled with depression since 2007. It started after the birth of my 3rd child -- I had a 3 year old T1, a 16 month old, and a newborn. I was, to say the least, overwhelmed....they called it "post partum", but I knew it wasn't going away. I knew I this was something I would have to learn to live with.

    It's been about 3 1/2 years. I feel better, but admit to having a spiraling downward day at times.

    You are a bright spot in the DOC. I'm proud of you for writing this ... and proud of you for acknowledging it.

    I completely relate to this post....and I love you even more because of it.

  3. Karen,

    First of all, great post and I'm glad you stepped out of your comfort zone and wrote.

    And you so correct on so many points. It is more prevalent than realized. It does make controlling diabetes harder. I've written several times about depression and it is hard to write about and it does help to write those posts.

    The single point I take exception with is where you seem to feel like you are failing as a wife, patient, advocate, and blogger. I know it can be hard to see when feeling depressed, but you're not failing, you're just human.

    Hang tough, we're out here anytime you need to talk

  4. Thank you so much for this post... I struggle with this too. I don't think I'm technically depressed, but I do have feelings that are very similar to yours. Then I'm okay for awhile... until the next time it hits. Lather, rinse, repeat I guess.

    Thank you for being so open and honest with your struggles.

  5. First off I would miss you. If you went "poof".

    Secondly, thank you for writing this. I there is a huge common thread of this in society and obviously, even more so in the DOC.

    You are helping, have helped, and will continue to help the many who read your blog Karen.

    Love to you.

  6. Oh Karen, I'm so glad you wrote this post. I hope it helps you the way it helped me last week...You are the OPPOSITE of a failure, you're an inspiration to so many of us, kind and funny and beautiful (and a hell of a knitter!), and I hope you know how very, very missed you'd be if you weren't around.

    HUGS to you, and bravo for having the courage to write about this. Love you, girl.

  7. As a blogger I have learned that these types of posts are the ones that mean the most to people. As scary as it is to hit that publish button it's kind of a relief too. At least to me. I find blogging very cathartic, which is why I do it so often!

    You are definitely not alone. I have struggled with depression most of my life. I don't have the seasonal depression that Elizabeth talked about. Mine comes and goes whenever and it's really hard to deal with. I'm sorry you feel this way and I wish I could help more than saying I understand.

    Just realize that it's ok to be human. Thank you for this post. It means a lot to a lot of people. Cheer up and eat a candy bar on me! Then drink some Diet Coke to cancel out the candy bar. We're all in this together.


  8. ((hugs))
    So glad you wrote it out, doll. Keep writing does help.

  9. Karen...big, big hugs! I've been exactly where you are on more than one occasion. I went on an anti-depressant after my son was born and have never regretted it. I never had really severe depression, but it's always been just enough to keep me from doing things. I still have a hard time getting going, but it's a million times better. Diabetes and depression just seem to go hand-in-hand, unfortunately. Just know that no matter what, we're all here to support and encourage you. You're a wonderful, beautiful person and the world would be a darker place without you in it!

  10. Hi Karen. I hope, like you said, writing this is a turning point and it helps to get it out there. i am sorry to hear you are going through this. Please keep on reaching out and telling us what we can do to help because we are here for you friend.

  11. Karen, I'm so sorry to hear that you are feeling this way. But this is exactly the reason for the DOC. We are here to support you in everything, diabetes-related or not. You are such a valuable member of this community I can promise you that you would be missed, so don't even think of going *poof*! :-)

  12. You say, "It’s no way for a Health Advocate and Diabetes Blogger to set an example," and I say: being authentic is exactly how to set an example. We all fall down on this quest and we need to get up again and keep going. And it helps to know we're not alone in that.
    And it's good to let us know when you're feeling low (emotionally, not just BG-wise) so we can remind you that we would absolutely, positively miss you if you went *poof*. We need your voice in the DOC (and I need your knitting news, too).

  13. I agree with the others that this is the most wonderful way to continue to be an advocate and educator. It's unfortunate that it's not a fully positive story, but it's a real one. And a real event that affects many PWD's. Thank you for stepping out of your comfort zone.

  14. More hugs and a pat on the back for you.
    You have probably helped someone with this post. That's awesome!

  15. I called you a hero tonight because you're a hero for writing about a condition experienced by many, many diabetics. I've written about my experience with depression, as a number of others have. Please don't allow yourself to believe that you're not liked and admired - even on those days when you wonder why.

  16. Karen- you are human. You don't have to be perfect. What is perfect, anyway? It's probably boring. Depression is tough. There's no shame in it. Honestly, I think if it doesn't get to you at times then you're not being honest. Bravo for being open and honest. Avery's D dx sent me into a depression. The only thing keeping me going was that I HAD to - for her. I wanted to hide under the covers and cry. Some days I still do! Hang in there... And don't be too hard on yourself!

  17. Great post Karen! Sending you lots of hugs~! Love, stacy

  18. You don't know me, but I needed you to write this post. As I sit here, teeth not brushed, moping around like a kid who lost their puppy. Thank you for being real and honest and letting people like me know I'm not alone.

  19. Your first paragraph was so familiar to me. Thank you for the bravery to step forward and blog about this. I am sure in doing so you have helped someone.

  20. I have been there and done that. Numerous times. And like you, I've never been diagnosed with depression, but all the signs are there. This past year was better than the year before. But the worst times for me are right around the holidays between December and February. Try some vitamin D. It helps me some. I think part of it the lack of sun...other stuff too, of course, but taking care of part of it can help ease the rest.

  21. Karen

    You are brave to write about it. Depression is so lonely, you have helped us all by sharing. I do believe that good medication and doctors can mean a world of difference in some cases of depression. Depression happens to people with wonderful lives, it is just so important to hang in there and get back to those we love so much and the life waiting for us.

  22. Karen,

    I think a lot of PWDs struggle with depression and maybe don't even know it. I recently started taking antidepressants again, and my diabetes educator (who has type 1) told me she's on them as well, and so is another CDE with diabetes in the practice. I may try some vitamin D this winter and see if that helps at all.

    Lately, I am having too many days that I just want to stay in bed until I feel better. Which should be...oh, March or April.

  23. Karen,

    It takes great courage to write truthfully about how you're feeling. And you know what, I think it makes you even more of a Health Advocate and Diabetes Blogger to talk about *everything* that can come along with diabetes.

    Depression is a big part of my life too, and it definitely is harder to fight off when the days get shorter and darker.

    Even though there is more support and encouragement out in the DOC than we can imagine, it still feels depressing when we're in the thick of it.

    I'm glad that writing about it can help - I feel the same way.

    Big Hugs to you sister! I love you bunches!


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