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T1D and Anxiety

Hi everyone,

I’ve been t1d for 27 years, diagnosed at the age of 3. I’m wondering if anyone here has been dealing with anxiety and fear of always being sick the older they get? I’ve noticed that within the last couple of years if I have any minor symptoms I immediately jump to the worst case scenario.
Anybody with coping mechanisms or tips I would really appreciate it.

  • #122079
  • I was diagnosed in 1945, when I was 6. Now I have been type 1 for 71 years, and I do not have any serious diabetes related complications. I have health problems that are not related to diabetes, but nothing life threatening. The knowledge, insulin, and devices that we have now are so good that it is not likely that you will have diabetes complications that are serious. If you take good care of yourself, you can have a long, healthy life. It takes a lot of work and attention, but good care pays off, big time. I use a pump and CGM, they help a lot!

  • #122082
  • Hi RichardV,

    I truly appreciate your response, you’ve given me a feeling of reassurance after reading your reply. Sometimes it seems I let myself wander to the darkest side of this disease and I know I shouldn’t!
    It’s nice to know I am not alone in this!

  • #122084
  • hi @Jessica22,

    no you are not alone. I only have a bit over half of Richard’s 71 years experience, but I can tell you from my personal experience that when I try to guess the future, or try to change the past, my energy is used and I get tired. When I get tired, bad things happen.

    There are many ways to stay in the present, I try to appreciate things in new ways, try as best as I can to practice gratitude, worked many years on self-esteem, and remind myself every day that while planning is OK, trying to determine or control the future is trouble for me. One day at a time!

    I went through about 5 years of actual panic attacks. Therapy, exercise such as yoga and walking, self-talk (and esteem) and for me a bit of spiritual guidance and a bit less of caffeine, helped me through a very rough time.

    Anyway, if you haven’t, please also check in with your endo because there are also diabetes issues that affect adrenalin and it’s best to eliminate those first. good luck!

  • #122087
  • Hi @Jessica22,

    My thought is to live fully each day and think positively that you “can do it”. Think of what you have done, your accomplishments over the past 27 years and how much you have grown and conquered diabetes. Certainly you have had many “ups & downs” as you have tried to balance food, exercise and insulin so now bring to mind that what you have done, although not easy, is an outstanding accomplishment. Now, set a goal for yourself – something you’ve always wanted to do – and do it.

    Like you, as I’ve aged, I experience (or think I do) some symptoms but I don’t dwell on worst-case-scenario, but rather I investigate and seek the advice of one of the doctors who know my body well. Although many symptoms we experience could be related to diabetes, many of these symptoms are also common in the general population.

    My short-term goal right no is to live a lively, active retirement after having worked to the first day of my 70th year and to be awarded the Joslin 75 year medal on my 91st birthday.

    Enjoy life, Jessica!

  • #122089
  • Hi Jesica,
    I can relate to having T1D and to having anxiety. I am nearly twenty years older than you are and since I was your age have lived abroad, given birth to a perfect child, been skydiving a few times, started my own successful business, and a multitude of things most people without T1D have never done. However, although I have always taken really good care of myself, I also suffer from anxiety relating to my health. In my particular case, the costs of healthcare and whether or not I will be able to continue to pay for it are the biggest causes of my anxiety. Right now, I can’t afford the exciting things I want to continue to do in life. I’m sorry if that sounds politic because it isn’t. I am sure I am not alone in becoming infuriated about the high cost of a bottle of insulin and then to have the insurance companies classify it as a “Tier 2” drug; as though we could live without it or there were a generic alternative. Jessica, your doctor can help you regardless of the specific causes of your anxiety regarding your health. Talk to your Doctor, don’t be afraid to talk to a therapist who specializes in people with T1D or people with chronic illnesses because this is extremely common. My endocrinologist told me several years ago that approximately %78 percent of people with T1D also have anxiety or depression. Try things like yoga, meditation, aromatherapy…whatever works for you. Sometimes “beating it out” on a treadmill, boxing class, etc… can be surprisingly relieving. Do what works and always remember you are not alone!
    All my best.

  • #122103
  • Hi Jessica. Thank you for sharing your experience, I think it’s one a lot of people can relate to. I’ve had T1D for about 15 years now, and was diagnosed by my therapist with panic disorder about two years ago. While these are somewhat separate issues, one definitely influences the other. There are so many options for good, healthy coping mechanisms; I would always suggest that in addition to these things, talk with your endocrinologist and see if these worries and anxieties warrant speaking with a mental health professional. Things don’t have to be at peak level emergency for you to feel relief after speaking with someone. Speaking with a counselor, social worker, or therapist can be preventative care when you recognize that there is something bothering you. Best of wishes to you!

  • #122106
  • Jessica, the responses you are getting are a huge inspiration to me. Richard & Dennis, it’s so great to hear your history w/ T1D. I’m 63, and am just a few months away from my 50th anniversary w/ T1D. Diagnosed at age 14 during 9th-grade football. I can’t believe the improvement in accuracy and technology since then. I’m newly retired, trying to exercise regularly, and am more grateful than ever for everything I’ve learned in life from diabetes self-management. Jessica, just know you are doing great and that you are far stronger than you realize. I think that loving others and myself helps me step out of fear &/or anxiety when they come up. My best to you all — you are amazing human beings!!!

  • #122113
  • I’ve been struggling a lot with anxiety surrounding T1D. I’ve had diabetes for 28 years and was 1.5 when I was diagnosed. To cope, I see a therapist and also research natural ways to reduce anxiety, like meditation and belly-breathing. To my surprise, they actually work, even just 5 minutes of the deep breathing. And I notice that when I get anxious, my sugars tend to rise, and focusing on my breath helps to ease the anxiety and lower my sugars, which is a relief. I find yoga really helps, too (at a yoga studio, not a gym). But I think what helps most is reminding myself of two things: 1) Stay in the present -the only thing worth focusing on is Right Now- treat your symptoms to the best of your ability Right Now; and 2) You can’t tell the future. Your anxiety is feeding you worst case scenarios, the reality is the future is an unknown entity. Some people might find that unnerving, but I think for diabetics, it’s a more hopeful thought: anything is possible.

  • #122125
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