Emotional health

We understand that living with type 1 diabetes can be really tough and different to many other chronic conditions

Constant management and ongoing targets and tests can be overwhelming and it’s normal to feel stressed or low about living with the condition.

Identifying that there might be problems in your life that impact your type 1 diabetes, and talking about any issues with your health care team, is important. They’ll be able to help you with your needs and priorities and could give you additional support if you need it.

Keeping an eye out for depression

Living with type 1 diabetes means you’re more than twice as likely to experience depression than those who don’t. That’s why it’s really important to keep a look out for the signs and seeking help.

Symptoms of depression can include more than two weeks of:

  • Feeling sad, down or miserable most of the time
  • Losing interest or pleasure in most of your usual activities
  • Becoming withdrawn, not going out
  • Not doing things you used to enjoy
  • Thoughts about being a failure, being worthless, life is not worth living
  • Feeling overwhelmed, tearful, guilty, irritable
  • Having physical symptoms such as feeling tired all the time, having a churning gut, disturbed sleep and poor appetite.

If you experience some or all of these symptoms, it’s recommended that you speak to your doctor as soon as possible, so they can recommend the right treatment for you.

If you don’t feel comfortable talking to your doctor, charities like Mind and Depression UK have lots of information on their websites and telephone numbers to speak to someone about your feelings.

Type 1 diabetes ‘burn-out’

Managing your type 1 diabetes is like a ‘job’, and the day-to-day effort can become too hard and frustrating, especially when the results are not what you would like. Studies have shown that you may experience worries, fears and negative feelings at some stage, which could lead to ‘burn-out’.

‘Burn-out’ is much more than feeling a little down. It is the overwhelming feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. It might mean you stop checking your blood glucose levels, stop or reduce insulin injections, not worry about what you’re eating or exercise, ignore or try to forget your type 1 diabetes most of the time.

How to avoid ‘burn-out’

You need to be realistic and practical to help you manage the emotional side of your type 1 diabetes. Try not to dwell on your initial reaction to your hypo or hyper. Look at your blood glucose results as information to help you decide what to do next and don’t waste time punishing yourself. Use what you learn to plan ahead and make positive adjustments.