When Michelle Kowalski, 33, of Mexico, Mo., was diagnosed with diabetes, she was furious. She was angry with herself for getting diabetes. And she resented all the changes she had to make in her life.
"I'm sort of a perfectionist, and so I guess having something wrong with me, and having other people tell me 'This is what you need to eat, and this is how you should exercise,' I wanted to punch them all in the face," she says. "I suspect that lot of people who get a health diagnosis that's not ideal get angry."
Depression is twice as likely in people with diabetes as in those without it.
However, depression can rob you of the ability to cope with the disease. People with diabetes who are depressed are less likely to follow their diabetes plan, often resulting in more complications and a greater likelihood of hospitalization than those who aren't depressed.
One study published in 2005 by the American Diabetes Association found that people with diabetes who were depressed were nearly 2.5 times as likely to die during an eight-year period than people with just diabetes alone.
"Diabetes and depression really go together. When people get depressed, they don't really focus on how they eat and how they structure their lives. Diabetes is a condition that requires scheduling, planning, and being proactive about when you're going to eat," says Margaret Savoca, PhD, an assistant professor in the Department of Nutrition at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
"If you have a tendency to get down about stuff, that's when you get out the box of chocolate and binge on ice cream."
Some mental-health providers have experience with chronic health problems, and can help you cope with feelings that might get in the way of managing diabetes.