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Mental Health and the Strain it has on Diabetes

If this is a triggering topic for you, please do not read this blog post as I do not want to worsen any aspect of life for anyone reading. I have included links to different internet sites for information on mental health and potential self-help techniques. This is all referring to my own personal experience, it may resonate with some people but not others as we all know mental health implications effect everyone differently. 


Useful Links to Read

Every Mind Matters

NHS Website



Diabetes and Anxiety

Everyone will inevitability have anxious feelings at some point in their lives, and that is very normal to experience these feelings. 

But you should contact doctors when your anxiety starts to impact your daily life or causes you distress. Such as avoiding crowded places of parties due to social anxiety. 

Common Symptoms
  • feeling restless or in a constant state of worry 
  • having trouble concentrating
  • dizziness and/or heart palpitations 
  • rapid breathing 
  • increased sweating
  • extreme tiredness/insomnia 

Seeking Help

Seeking help can come in a number of different ways whether that is through therapy, self-help or medications.


This involves going to a doctor and asking for help if you need a referral like we do in the UK, this will mean asking to go to a Physiologist. This referral can take anywhere from 4 months to 1 year + so if you are thinking of getting yourself referred also ask about other self-help things you can do to help yourself in the meantime! 

Therapy involves talking through what has been going on and helping you process events or your anxieties.

You can also pay for private therapy’s with costs depending on who you are seeing! You should receive very similar treatment from both private and NHS funded therapies but you will be seen much sooner throughout the private sector.


This is good thing to try and attempt whether you are awaiting professional help or you witness a decrease in your mental health. 

Self-help can involve anything from:

  • keeping a journal to write your feelings down in, doesn’t mean you have to read through it but it can help you feel like you have opened up 
  • Yoga or exercise. This can help you to have a mind reset and have time to yourself and focus on other things. 
  • IAPT (linked above) is self-referral therapy where you can ask for help without talking to doctors. Something I have benefited from in the past as it was something I could sign up to quietly without making a big deal about it! 

Usually as a last resorts doctors may recommend taking medications. Actually there is no shame in that, I am currently taking 100mg of Sertraline for my anxiety everyday. It is the only thing that helps me, I combine self-help and medication which at the minute is my best way of managing my anxiety to ensure it does not feel crippling but everything is different! 

There are many different types of medication but actually you have to work out which one works best for you if you want to go down this route. 


Useful Links to Read

NHS Website




Diabetes and Depression

Everyone will inevitability have anxious feelings at some point in their lives, and that is very normal to experience these feelings. 

But if depression starts to take over your life, constant sadness and little to no enjoyment in things you have previously enjoyed, then please go and speak to a medical professional. 

Common Symptoms
  • continuous low mood or sadness
  • feeling hopeless and helpless
  • having low self-esteem
  • feeling tearful
  • feeling guilt-ridden
  • feeling irritable and intolerant of others
  • having no motivation or interest in things
  • finding it difficult to make decisions
  • not getting any enjoyment out of life
  • feeling anxious or worried
  • having suicidal thoughts or thoughts of harming yourself

Seeking help can come in a number of different ways whether that is through therapy, self-help or medications. 

Techniques for anxiety and depression can be very similar, both involve medication, therapy and/or self-help activities. 

One important thing to note is that pre-diagnosis you may not have had any symptoms of suffering with mental health but diabetes is a lot to deal with. Diabetes can cause mental health problems due to constantly worrying what your blood sugars are doing, how a certain activity can impact blood sugars, what your life was like pre-diabetes. All of these thoughts can heavily impact our mental health, being diagnosed with diabetes, we make on average an extra 200 decisions a day compared to fully abled people. This is such a strain and can make our lives much more difficult. 

When suffering with mental health issues and diabetes, a drop in Time In Range of blood sugars can/will be experienced as the motivation to ensure good blood sugars will disappear. The want to participate in exercise or eat healthy food can/will also disappear meaning every aspect will impact your blood sugars placing a further burden on your mental health. 

Diabetes places impacts on normal life anyway but mix that with mental health difficulties can make everyday situations seem absolutely toppling. I know when I was at my lowest point in my life that waking up even seemed too much for me, let alone giving ANOTHER injection or calculating how many carbs are in my dinner etc – its so tough. 

How Chronic Illnesses can Impact Everyday Life

This will have a focus open diabetes but other chronic illnesses will have similar impacts on top of however the chronic illness impacts your life. 

Diabetes can be okay to deal with if blood sugars are kept in range as there is no extra strain placed on your body but if you are experiencing higher or lower blood sugars. You will have increased stress on the body occurring which will result in increased tiredness, mood shifts, increased anxiety (possibly) and feeling like you have a fuzzy brain or a massive lack of concentration. To name a few! This can have a massive impact to your day, I know when my blood sugars are running higher then I’d like means my day can be ruined. I need to have a nap mid-day to just get through the day, I need to drink LOTS of water, I cannot think straight and will most likely have to come back to work I am completing and unfortunately that is just the way it is.

We have to accommodate the increased needs of our body, we cannot ignore than and by doing that you can help to reduce mental strain. But I know a lot of people have always commented that I sleep a lot, that use to make me feel very self-conscious but I needed that sleep, I needed rest, I am doing work of half of my pancreas and yes that is tiring, yes I need more sleep than you can ever imagine and yes it does help me! 

Suffering with both mental health and diabetes can cause you to doubt everything, are people judging your chronic illness, what are people thinking your sensors etc are, will people understand the help you could potentially need? 

With having increased anxious episodes, from personal experience I have found that there is a much higher chance of missing an injection, whether that is long acting or short acting, due to the mental ability to comprehend what you need to do. This will only make your blood sugars worse causing an increased likelihood of entering DKA. 

The mental impacts of diabetes needs to be addressed, more research needs to occur with more support opening up for individuals. The topic I believe still has a taboo feeling about it but people suffering shouldn’t feel embarrassed, they shouldn’t feel like they are a nuisance or the only one suffering. 

If someone else is suffering with mental health and want to speak to someone, please feel free to privately message me on instagram (click the instagram logo at either the top or bottom of the page), my inbox will always be open!

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