Managing diabetes stress and depression

minute read
November 13, 2023
The sun rising in Kerala.
Note: Image for illustration only. Photo credit - Ponraj Krish.

My name is Sughra Irshad, and I’m a 55-year-old housewife. I’ve had type 2 diabetes for the past 10 years and have faced many challenges fighting this disease.

And I hope that my experiences help others fight it too.

My diagnosis

My life was going well. My family and I were living a happy, peaceful life.

Then one day, my husband was in an accident and was paralysed. After this, our life changed.

We had to face a serious financial challenge, which brought me severe stress and depression. Due to this condition, I couldn’t do any of my household tasks properly and started to live a sedentary lifestyle. This lifestyle made me gain weight and become obese – I went from 60kg to 84kg (I’m 5’1)

As time passed, my condition got worse and worse. Finally, my daughter advised me to see a doctor.

The doctor prescribed me anti-depressants and anti-hypertensive drugs, but these medicines didn’t work well for me. Returning to the doctor and explaining this, he suggested I get my blood sugar, cholesterol level and urine tested.

My tests showed an elevated glucose level (indicating hyperglycemia) and high blood cholesterol. I then took an HbA1c test and a Blood Sugar Fasting (BSF) test. My HbA1c result was 7.5% (it should be 4.9-5.9%) and my BSF was 217 (it should be less than 110) – This confirmed I had type 2 diabetes.

Starting treatment

When I was first diagnosed, it was very hard for me to treat and manage my disease – Working within my limited budget, I faced a lot of challenges.

But I knew that I had to live with this disease for the rest of my life, so I didn’t lose hope and instead managed my medical and diet expenses within my budget.

Starting out, my doctor recommended I get routine check-ups every 15 days and prescribed me daily oral hypoglycemic drugs. I also had to regularly check my blood sugar level.

At first, when I checked my sugar level I didn’t see much difference. This made me desperate, and I reached out to my doctor for help. They changed my medicine and prescribed me a new combination to help control my blood glucose level.

Managing my diet and treatment

As well as taking medication, I also had to follow a balanced diet.

I can’t eat fruits and juices with high sugar content, so I added fruits that are lower in sugar to my diet.

I cut out starchy foods and added non-starchy foods and vegetables. I focused on whole foods instead of highly processed foods as much as possible. And I reduced the amount of dairy, wheat, carbohydrates and red meat that I ate.

I began walking regularly to try and lose excess weight.

All these efforts brought a slight improvement in my condition, but not as much as I was hoping.

After a while, because there wasn’t much progress, my doctor told me I needed insulin therapy (to inject myself with insulin). So I started taking insulin shots daily to maintain a normal blood glucose level. And now, every day I take insulin as well as my oral medication.

Where am I now

Even at this end stage of my life, I still haven’t lost my courage. I’ve fought this disease for the last 10 years. I’ve kept up my medications and insulin therapy, and I regularly check my blood glucose level.

I’ve also joined many diabetic coaches, who have motivated me and given me the hope and tools to positively work on my diabetes. And I stay in touch with my medical team and schedule routine check-ups. This has helped me avoid a lot of complications, and I’m now more resilient and better able to cope with my diabetes.

Living with type 2 diabetes is challenging, but your choices have a direct impact on your mind and health. I’m used to living with this ongoing and long-term disease. I don’t know how many more years I’ll get with it, but I’ll fight it till the end.

Because I’ve learned that by maintaining this attitude and my fight, I can still enjoy a long and happy life for years to come.

Graphic of a female profile picture.
Sughra Irshad

Sughra Irshad is a simple housewife. At the age of 45, she was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, which completely altered her life and badly affected her health.

Editor's note: The opinions and experiences reflected in stories from the diabetic community belong to the authors, and do not necessarily represent the views of InDiabetes.

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