DSMA asks: What can we do to help stop depression from hitting our community during the winter months?
People with diabetes are known to have a higher rate of depression. Add that to my self-diagnosed mild case of seasonal affective disorder (SAD), winter and overcast days can cause me to be in a gloomy place. I mope. I avoid housework. I eat chocolate, especially Snickers. I drink Diet Coke. I make my favorite comfort foods for dinner, unless I opt for take-out. I open up all the curtains and turn on the lights to make my world as bright as it can be.
Honestly, I don't think there's a way to stop depression. Well, let me rephrase that. There are possible ways to try to stop full-blown clinical depression, but the blues are going to happen. What's the most important thing in my eyes? A great support system. Sometimes that support system consists of your family, local friends, or co-workers. However, sometimes your support system isn't local.
Even though I do have a great local support system, I've also found a great online support system through the DOC (diabetes online community). In her blog, Tales of Rachel, my online friend and fellow Type 2, Rachel, talks about the need for many to just have someone "Be There." If you notice a someone not as active as usual, whether it be online or in real life, check up on that person. It's possible life may have just gotten busy, but it's also possible that person needs a friend. As Rachel puts it, "They may be depressed, they may be ill due to chronic illness flares, they may be ready to give up on diabetes self-care due to a string of unsavory blood glucose levels." Most people would rather you touch base, even when nothing is wrong, than to avoid contact because you're afraid to offend. Nothing brightens someone's day more than to get a call or email that says, "I miss seeing you and wanted to make sure you're doing ok."
When I was pregnant with my fifth child, I didn't go to church much that summer. My pastor noticed and decided to give me a call. He said he didn't want me to feel like "Big Brother" was watching, but wanted to make sure everything was ok with the family and my pregnancy. I wasn't offended; I was touched. Knowing he cared enough to make what could have been an awkward call meant a lot to me.
If I had to pick one thing that probably helps the most out of a friend, chocolate, Diet Coke, comfort foods, turning the lights on, etc. - I would have to say hearing from a friend who cares is the absolute best thing to snap me out of the winter blues. Please reach out to your friends, online or in real life, and let them know you care!
This post is my February entry in the DSMA Blog Carnival. If you’d like to participate too, you can get all of the information at http://diabetessocmed.com/2012/february-dsma-blog-carnival/
Image credits: Clip are above from here.