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Diabetes and anxiety

Updated: Mar 18, 2020

This is my Lexapro. It is an anti-anxiety medication that significantly helps me manage the day to day mental burden of my diabetes. I post this because I am NOT ASHAMED of the steps that I take to stay mentally healthy so that I can stay physically healthy. Though this drug by itself does not help control my BGs, it is almost as important to me as my insulin.

I have struggled my whole life with anxiety. Don’t get me wrong, a certain level of anxiety in life can be healthy, but my anxiety, when uncontrolled, tends to both damage my relationships, and inhibit my ability to maintain good BG control.

Studies have shown that diabetes and anxiety go hand in hand, likely because practices necessary for good BG control are also anxiety promoting. I am constantly pondering the “what-if’s” when it comes to my DM… “what if I…give myself too much insulin, not enough, work out later, don’t finish my lunch.” Or the scariest question of all, “what if I’m low overnight and I don’t wake up?”. Though planning is essential in DM management, it can often lead to irrational, “what-if’s” that are detrimental to control.

The first step in managing anxiety with diabetes is identifying it and asking, is this rational or irrational anxiety? The fear of nighttime hypoglycemia is rational, but running my BG up to 250mg/dl before bed because of that fear, is not. Not only do I have a CGM, I have a hybrid-closed loop pump that will prevent me from even getting close to that low. For me, this is an irrational fear.

Unfortunately, even when I identify anxiety as irrational it still prevents me from living in the present. Additionally, my anxiety and BGs are directly correlated. High anxiety = high BGs. It’s a vicious cycle! This is why I decided to start on my medication. I’m not saying that everyone with diabetes and anxiety needs to be on anti-anxiety medication, but this is what works for me and I’m much happier because of it. My relationships have also improved because I’m not on edge on all of the time.

What do you guys do to relieve your DM anxiety?

This post is a bit personal, so positive comments only please 😊

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