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Re: [IP] depression and diabetes

On 15 Jan 00, at 4:16, email @ redacted wrote:

> My depression, in some ways, is directly related to diabetes.  ....
snipped for space...  
> When that happened I went into a very deep depression, which is related to 
> him but is also related to the fact that I have to deal with this disease 
> that never goes away and that some people see as a handicap.  I hate that.
> I am still dealing with all this and still having a hard time, so any 
> comments would be appreciated.  

Depression isn't uncommon in people with any kind of long-term medical 
problem.  Recent research seems to indicate that episodes of depression are 
fairly common in the US (hmmm... maybe that tells us more about our society 
than we'd really like to know...) due to the fast pace, loss of community and 
family structures, instability in the job market, loss of cultural identity 
with the shifting gender roles and promotion of "alternative lifestyles", and 
the growing trend towards anonymous "roll your own spirituality" and away 
from traditional well developed religion...

In short, we live in a society where the rules we learned as children aren't 
respected any more.  Just look at the litigation - schools cannot post the 
Ten Commandments, Code of Hammarubi, or even Mao's Seven Suggestions 
without getting threatened with a lawsuit by the ACLU.  Relativism has 
taken hold and when that happens all that it really means is that the person 
with the meanest lawyer, biggest gun or largest bank account wins...

Coupled with that we are afflicted with this "wonderful condition" where 
we are trying to shoot a moving target with tools where the aim is unstable 
and the environment seems more random than ordered.  One day 1 unit will 
drop your bg by 50 points, the next day it's only 5 points...  My favorite 
trite phrase about bg control is that it's like trying to balance a bowling 
ball on a razor blade - theoretically possible but very, very difficult.  Add 
to this the insurance companies criminal behaviour,  the number of 
incompetent or burned out medical professionals and the personal toll of 
having to devote so much time to trying to keep ourselves on target and you 
have a perfect recipe for a very down day...

So we are faced with the fact that depression is a fact of life for many of 
us.  Some of us will require medication at some time - there's no shame in 
that!  Untreated depression causes physiological effects and if it isn't 
addressed it can become chronic and much more difficult to treat.  I've 
spent a lot of time talking to people who have been told by someone they 
recognize as a "spiritual adviser" that they don't need medication because 
prayer, chanting the right mantra, diet, looking at the right color crystal or 
buying the right books and videos can "fix" them.  This is part of the 
American obsession with being "perfect individualists" - we don't like to 
admit weakness in ourselves or others because that might mean we would 
have to confront the human condition head on  and that makes us very 
uncomfortable.  If we can't "do it ourselves" that we are somehow less than 
perfect... But it is a fact of life - sometimes we need resources outside of 
ourself to survive.  Whether it's medical treatment or a shoulder to cry on 
there are many things that we cannot take care of on our own as total 

What's the point of this long, rambling post?  First, there is no shame that 
can legitimately be attached to having depression.  It is a recognized and 
generally treatable medical condition that is a part of living in the world 
today.  Second, there are many resources available, beginning with becoming 
a part of a supportive community (which can include family, friends and 
others) on towards medical intervention.  Third, depression isn't really the 
end of the world even though it has all the hallmarks of it.

One of the most valuable things that I have discovered is this community - 
where I can find people who really understand how down you can be after 
two or three days of fighting the unexplained highs or crashes that affect 
many of us.  A wise teacher once indicated that shared sadness (depression) 
can be divided while shared happiness is multiplied - and this is something 
that has profound significance for us.  From rants and raves of someone who 
has just been abused by their insurance company to the ecstatic report of a 
normal A1c reading - it all adds together when we discover that we aren't 
desert islands but are actually surrounded by a cloud of caring people.

There are other things that I have discovered that help me deal with 
episodes of depression...  if you're interested just mail me and I'll be happy 
to discuss them with you.  Whatever your situation, the first step is to 
remember that you aren't really alone, you haven't got anything to be 
ashamed of because you have depression, and there are resources available 
to help... and if you are on medication for your depression then remember to 
take it!  

This is beginning to read like a sermon, so I guess I'll have to wind down 
now... my sermons are generally four to six pages long, single spaced... and 
take about 25 to 45 minutes to deliver...  so you're spared that... this time...

I hope everyone has a good weekend!

Rev. Randall Winchester
WD4HVA (email @ redacted)
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