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Regret over not doing enough to stop diabetes

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  • #395999
    Sherry
    Participant

    Hello,

     

    I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes at only 25. I didn’t get tested for it for 4 years because I was so afraid of it coming back that I do have it (my parents both have it). I don’t know why I did this because now I do have it and I have to deal with it for life when if I had gotten the diagnosis of pre-diabetes, I could’ve stopped it. Prior to the diagnosis, I had eating disorders (binge eating disorder, bulimia, not sure what the name is but I’d go for 6 days without eating and then binge on the 7th day) for most of my teenage and young adult life and severe depression so I wasn’t in the mind space to watch what I was eating. When I was diagnosed, I was so set on living my 20’s normally that I didn’t take the diagnosis seriously. Then I went into another depressive episode (where I tend to eat but definitely not healthy in any way at all and get no exercise) which lasted about 2-3 years. During this time, I checked my a1c once a year (it should’ve been four times a year), and it was uncontrolled (between 7-8) for three years. Fast forward to today where I’m in a much healthier mindset, and I’m taking it ultra seriously but I think some damage has been done. I seriously regret not taking it seriously and not doing enough to “reverse” the diabetes right when I was diagnosed. I’m only 30 and I’m seriously afraid of living a life that has no quality of life before I turn 40. But I also deal with emotions of wanting to be normal and have “food freedom” (like be able to eat anything without worrying about something or the other) which I don’t think I’ve ever had because of the eating disorders and now diabetes. I know I can’t go back and change things but I feel like a lot of my day goes to thinking how my life could’ve been different if I had done things differently. I get so overwhelmed by the feelings of not knowing where my life will be going that it sometimes affects my social or work life. I guess I’m just asking for advice on how to let go of control, how to stop wishing my life was different, stop regretting the past, and stop worrying about the future.

    #396001
    Helcat
    Participant

    Hi Sherry!

    I don’t know if anyone has a “normal” diet.

    1 in 10 people have type 2 diabetes.

    I would say that the typical western diet is unhealthy and doesn’t usually follow healthy living recommendations. This leads to a variety of health conditions.

    When we are younger our diet is shaped by our families and socioeconomic status. We tend to follow these eating patterns for a while until a problem develops.

    You are not alone! I don’t think it’s fair to blame yourself. All you can do now is try the best you can to manage your health. I wish you luck on your journey to find healthy treats to enjoy.

    I think it’s understandable to grieve the loss of your favourite foods that you may no longer be able to indulge in as frequently. My favourite treats used to be coffee and spicy food. Nowadays, my stomach can tolerate neither. It’s not so bad though because I learned to enjoy a lot of new healthy foods.

    #396005
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Sherry:

    You shared that for most of your teenage and young adult life, you suffered from severe depression, didn’t watch what you ate and didn’t exercise. At one point on, you suffered from binge eating and bulimia, and you engaged in the binge-eating/ fasting cycle (“go for 6 days without eating and then binge on the 7th day“). Five years ago, at 25, you were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes but didn’t take it seriously because you were depressed. At your current age, 30, you are “in a much healthier mindset” and you are taking your health seriously.

    I do have (type 2 diabetes) and I have to deal with it for life when if I had gotten the diagnosis of pre-diabetes, I could’ve stopped it… I seriously regret not taking it seriously and not doing enough to ‘reverse’ the diabetes right when I was diagnosed” –

     webmd. com‘s article Can you reverse type 2 diabetes? reads: “It sounds too good to be true: reversing type 2 diabetes through exercise and healthy eating… ‘The term ‘reversal’ is used when people can go off medication but still must engage in a lifestyle program in order to stay off,’ says Ann Albright, PhD, RD. She’s the director of diabetes translation at the CDC… In one study, people with type 2 diabetes exercised for 175 minutes a week, limited their calories to 1,200 to 1,800 per day, and got weekly counseling and education on these lifestyle changes. Within a year, about 10% got off their diabetes medications or improved to the point where their blood sugar level was no longer in the diabetes range, and was instead classified as prediabetes. Results were best for those who lost the most weight or who started the program with less severe or newly diagnosed diabetes. Fifteen percent to 20% of these people were able to stop taking their diabetes medications”-

    – so, it is possible for people who were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes to return to a pre- type 2 diabetes condition, and not necessarily right after being diagnosed. Maybe you won’t “have to deal with it for life“?

    a lot of my day goes to thinking how my life could’ve been different if I had done things differently… I guess I’m just asking for advice on how to let go of control, how to stop wishing my life was different, stop regretting the past, and stop worrying about the future” –

    – back to the article continues: “Don’t blame yourself. If you make changes to your diet and exercise routine, and your diabetes doesn’t improve, it’s not your fault, Albright says. Your weight and lifestyle aren’t the only things that matter. Your genes also influence whether you get type 2 diabetes. Some thin people are living with type 2 diabetes, too. Still, your weight and lifestyle are things you can change, and they are important parts of your overall health”.

    I would like to write more, but before I do, can you tell me if there is anything in the article above that you didn’t know, anything in it that is helpful?

    anita

    #396094
    Sherry
    Participant

    Hi Anita! Thank you for this response! This is so helpful, thank you! I have read about “reversal” of type 2 diabetes – my last A1C was actually in prediabetes range so if I can continue it, maybe I can potentially “reverse” it but I’ve also read it becomes much harder after years of having it. I think some complications have already begun so I’m not sure how that affects anything. I’m just really regretting not taking it more seriously or not doing enough. So many people are diagnosed once complications begin and I had the chance to actually reverse it before complications and I didn’t take that chance. I’m just not sure how to live in the present when I’m regretting so much of the past with this disease.

    • This reply was modified 3 months ago by Sherry.
    #396111
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Sherry:

    You are welcome!

    About Regret: “I seriously regret not taking it seriously and not doing enough to ‘reverse’ the diabetes right when I was diagnosed… a lot of my day goes to thinking how my life could’ve been different if I had done things differently… I’m just really regretting not taking it more seriously or not doing enough… I had the chance to actually reverse it before complications and I didn’t take that chance. I’m just not sure how to live in the present when I’m regretting so much of the past with this disease”.

    About Fear: “I’m only 30 and I’m seriously afraid of living a life that has no quality of life before I turn 40… I get so overwhelmed by the feelings of not knowing where my life will be going”.

    About Freedom: “I also deal with emotions of wanting to be normal and have “food freedom” (like be able to eat anything without worrying about something or the other) which I don’t think I’ve ever had because of the eating disorders and now diabetes”.

    The Serenity Prayer says: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference“.

    The courage to change the things that you can change and actually changing those things will bring you Freedom: complete or significant Freedom from type 2 diabetes and its complications, Freedom from other diseases and Freedom from mental/ emotional suffering (overthinking, regret, anxiety, depression).

    Change Regret: Regret, like other distressing emotions, promotes disease. No longer regretting will promote your health. Can you stop regretting? Yes, although it will be difficult, and it will take time and repeated attention. How can you stop regretting? You can start by listening to Mark William’s Mindfulness series of guided meditations, you can download them for free.

    Mindfulness is about experiencing the present (“I’m just not sure how to live in the present“), instead of experiencing the past (regretting it), or experiencing the future (fearing it, “not knowing where my life will be going“).

    Experiencing the past or future involves a lot of thinking. Experiencing the present involves taking breaks from thinking, and focusing on sensing: becoming calmly and more fully aware of what you sense with your eyes (sights), ears (sounds), skin (touch), etc., feeling the wind against your face, the sounds of birds or frogs, the sight of clouds, the feel of cold water on your hands as you wash dishes, etc.

    Overthinking about the past or present goes together with anxiety, depression, disordered eating and/ or other dysfunctions. The more you practice mindfulness (guided meditations and other mindfulness exercises available online and in books and magazines) will calm you. Calm goes together with mental and physical health.

    You are not likely (as is true to every single person, long-term) to have the freedom to eat anything you want at any time, in whatever amount- not if you want to be as healthy as you can be. But having Freedom from regret, from overthinking, from too much anxiety etc.- these Freedoms feel way better and are of a much higher quality- than the freedom to eat indiscriminately.

    I’m just asking for advice on how to let go of control, how to stop wishing my life was different, stop regretting the past, and stop worrying about the future” – in addition to what I suggested above, understanding/ gaining insight into how your anxiety/ depression started, in what circumstances, can help. If you want to explore this here, with me, whenever you do, please do.

    anita

    #396221
    Sherry
    Participant

    Hi Helcat,

     

    thank you for your response! I definitely understand and I think the foods which I was raised with definitely hurt me in the long run (such as having sodas whenever eating out etc)

     

    Thank you!

     

    that makes sense, I think the thing that makes it hard about diabetes is it’s a “silent disease” so I don’t feel the effects of what I eat which makes it harder to eat well. But I just signed up to see a dietician!

    #396222
    Sherry
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

     

    This is so helpful! Thank you!!! I’ve been practicing today paying attention to my senses and it really brings me to the present! Or if I find myself thinking about the past/future, I say that prayer and it helps. I just downloaded Mark Williams’ meditations on Apple Music so I’ll try those as well! I absolutely do overthink but I think it definitely has to do with anxiety. Since I read your response, I’ve done a bit of thinking and I don’t think it’s actual “food freedom” that I want but to a degree, I think I still have disordered eating with that I find comfort from food and it’s having that comfort that seems like it will cease to exist if I go low carb without chest meals. Not sure if that makes sense.

    i haven’t thought so much about why the depression started. I know it started when I was younger – maybe between 13-15 but when I think back on my life, there are tons of moments that could have contributed – whether it’s comparisons with family members, shyness, bullying, wanting to fit in without being able to do so, or something else.

    • This reply was modified 3 months ago by Sherry.
    #396330
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Sherry:

    You are very welcome!

    I absolutely do overthink, but I think it definitely has to do with anxiety” – anxiety and overthinking go together like peas and carrots. Anxiety feeds overthinking, and overthinking feeds anxiety (using food analogies).

    Since I read your response, I’ve done a bit of thinking and I don’t think it’s actual ‘food freedom’ that I want… I find comfort from food and it’s having that comfort that seems like it will cease to exist if I go low carb” – you want freedom from anxiety, and food provided you with temporary comfort, that is, temporary freedom from anxiety. You are afraid to lose this freedom by limiting your diet to low carb.

    I believe that I know what you mean because I too found comfort in food (so many people do). As a matter of fact, my eating was disordered for many years, binge eating included, restricting and over-exercising. I was even diagnosed with an eating disorder.

    What I learned is that the way to (gradually, it takes time) rely less on food for comfort, is to find other ways to comfort yourself. And I don’t mean other ways like drugs or … promiscuous sex, or what not. I mean, ways that do not harm yourself or others. For me, writing this post to you is somewhat comforting because I find meaning in communicating with you and exchanging ideas and experiences.

    I haven’t thought so much about why the depression started. I know it started when I was younger – maybe between 13-15… comparisons with family members, shyness, bullying, wanting to fit in without being able to do so, or something else” – maybe getting these experiences out and to the computer screen and getting my replies will help, maybe.

    I’ll do just a little of what I just recommended to you, see how it goes: I grew up feeling badly so much of the time that I was desperate to feel good…  and sweet is good, that feeling of warm content in the belly is good… I remember at 20 something buying a dozen donuts and eating them all in one sitting, compensating for the ongoing bad feelings of anxiety and depression, anger and regret with lots and lots of sweet dough. Never mind the long-term consequences, I just needed a break from anxiety right now!

    Do you relate?

    anita

     

    #396340
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Sherry:

    I just got worried that by mentioning eating a dozen donuts I triggered your sweet tooth, and donuts are definitely bad for diabetes. I therefore wanted to add that I still have a sweet tooth as big as it always was, but I satisfy it with the non-caloric, natural, very, very dreamily sweet Stevia. It comes as liquid or powder, and there is a delightful combo of stevia and monk fruit sugar that looks, tastes and feels like table sugar, all zero calories and not a problem in regard to diabetes (please make sure of the latter by talking with your doctor)!

    anita

    #396628
    anita
    Participant

    How are you, Sherry?

    anita

    #396637
    Sherry
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

     

    I’m sorry for a delayed response – I was traveling and a little busy. I’m okay – I found out some diabetic complications have already started (constant tingling in the feet) and I’ve been spending the last several days completely living in regret. It’s affecting my mental health so I’m trying to work around that while still eating low carb. I’m just so young and I feel like this brings on a low quality of life and I haven’t done things I wanted to do – I’ve never even gone on a date or been kissed or traveled as much as I wanted to and I feel like this will stop me from doing things like that. I’m sorry for venting so much – I haven’t really talked about any of this and it just poured out as I started typing.

     

    How are you?

     

    That makes sense about the anxiety and overthinking – it seems like it can become a vicious cycle as they feed off one another.

     

    That’s interesting, I didn’t know about how the food becomes a freedom from anxiety but it makes sense. I’m so sorry you dealt with the eating disorder. I hope you’re better now. That makes sense of finding something else – I used to go on daily walks, about 4-5 miles each day which were a big thing for my mental health but I’d often eat wrong (after the diabetes diagnosis) thinking that the exercising was offsetting the food so it was fine.

     

    I’m sorry to hear about what you dealt with. That sounds so awful and I hope you’re better now. I can totally see how eating the donuts would have a sense of helping with the anxiety – it sugarcoats the anxiety so a person doesn’t feel it as much. (No worries, I didn’t get my sweet tooth triggered! I’m actually working with a dietician to cut out all sweets!). I absolutely relate. Even after the diabetes diagnosis, I would get donuts and have them because they would calm my anxiety, without realizing what it was doing to my physical health, or the many, many sugary cocktails I would have because they would help alleviate my social anxiety. When I went to grad school, I fell into a depressive episode (this was after my diabetes diagnosis), and I ate sweets and drank soda to help calm the depression. I ignored my doctors advice just to help my mental health, without realizing that my physical and mental health were connected. I’ve never really talked about all of this and it’s helping me reflect on my life and how unhealthy of a relationship I have with food. I definitely need to find something else – I love sitting outside and reading which helps my anxiety or exercising (without thinking I can eat anything because I exercised). You wouldn’t know this by my diabetes diagnosis or weight but I love to exercise – I used to workout about 3 hours a day or sometimes 4. My diet was the part that was never good but exercising helps my mental health tremendously.

    I’m going to try something new in everything I do, find something to be grateful for. So if I drive somewhere, being grateful for my car. When doing my makeup, being grateful that I can express myself through makeup. Being grateful for even having a computer to type this message and finding the tiny buddha site and these messages with you which have been so helpful.

    I’m sorry for venting so much in this message, I’m just trying to get out of a bad mental health place and I haven’t had anybody I can really talk to so this message has been therapeutic in many ways.

    #396640
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Sherry:

    Good to read back from you! I am fine, thank you, and I appreciate your empathy regarding my decades-long disordered eating. My eating is currently very orderly, too ordered in the minds of other people, in that every day I tend to eat about the same things, at the same amounts, and I approximate (I do not measure) how many calories I take in and how many I burn. I don’t go a day without such calculation.

    I’ve been spending the last several days completely living in regret” –

    Psychology today. com/ The Psychology of regret: “Regret is a negative cognitive or emotional state that involves blaming ourselves for a bad outcome… Regret can have damaging effects on mind and body when it turns into fruitless rumination and self-blame” –

    – I read the rest of your post and I want to respond to other things you shared, but I want to ask you first regarding regret, which is a major problem you shared about, it being in the very title of your thread (“Regret over not doing enough to stop diabetes“):

    Self-blame is in the core of regret, do you remember blaming yourself for other things, before the diabetes, such as maybe blaming yourself for not being a good-enough daughter, for disappointing a parent or for failing to make a parent happy, anything like that?

    anita

     

    #396641
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Sherry:

    I re-read your posts on this thread, looking for the origin of your self-blame, figuring that you were in the habit of blaming yourself long before your diabetes-2 diagnosis at 25.

    You shared that you suffered from disordered eating and “severe depression” since you were a young teenager, “for most of my teenage… life“, you wrote.

    I’m just really regretting not taking it more seriously or not doing enough“- origin of regret: not having done enough for your parents, not having done enough to make them happy… happy with you being in their lives, being their daughter?

    A lot of my day goes to thinking how my life could’ve been different if I had done things differently” – how different your life would have been if you made your parents happy with you? If you have made them happy, you would have allowed yourself to “go on a date or been kissed or traveled as much as (you) wanted“?

    I’m just not sure how to live in the present when I’m regretting so much of the past” – you are stuck in your original regret, the painful and depressing regret of not living up to your parents’ expectations, or not living up to what they needed you to be?

    I haven’t thought so much about why the depression started. I know it started when I was younger… comparisons with family members” – maybe your parents compared you unfavorably to a sibling or to cousins who unlike you… made their parents happy or proud?

    I am asking questions, but I am not expecting you to answer because if I am on the right track then I am touching your pain, irritating it. People most often withdraw when painful issues are brought up, or they get aggressive.

    You expressed empathy for me, apologize for venting, and you said that you don’t have anyone to talk to… I am guessing that you have had lots and lots of empathy for your parents, but they did not express empathy for you, and as a consequence, you have little to no empathy for yourself. Maybe sometimes you feel sorry for yourself, but your dominant feeling is that you are at fault, that you are to blame…?

    anita

    #396650
    Kartik
    Participant

    Hi Sherry,

    Firstly really sorry to hear about your life struggles. I probably am in the similar situation as yours. Let’s together look and try to understand our situation. I have been in depression during my early 20s. Long story short, immature parents, premature hairloss, rejections from multiple girls, lacking emotional connection with almost everyone, no quality friends, a general feeling of emptiness in life. Now ofcourse, to fill this void, I resorted to overeating, binge drinking, smoking and even occasional weed. Surprisingly, none of that helped lol! So then what do I do, try to get diagnosis of my premature hairloss, turns out I have some autoimmune thyroid condition — BAM!! life is over. And to top it all, I am a porn/masturbation addict. Yeah all screwed! At the surface my life might seem perfect, but deep down it is really out of order. I too have had the guilt of not being responsible with myself, and not taking care of myself, eating wrongly, tolerating wrong kind of people in my life etc.

    But then let’s try to understand this, who is it really who is guilty? I am guilty right now, but I wasn’t guilty back then. I was plain ignorant. And right now, life is giving me no chance of being ignorant. Yeah I can’t eat whatever I like, but why does that mean lack of freedom? Is it that, we feel we lack freedom, as somewhere deep down, we still wish to be a little (but not too much) indulgent, being able to enjoy with friends at restaurants without acting all weird haha! Well, maybe the truth is we lost our turn, as we were irresponsible. And by wanting things to be different, we are probably stressing ourselves out more.

    You know earlier, when I didn’t have my medical reports, and I could still binge eat etc., although I was hopeless, I could still conveniently fabricate pleasant scenarios for myself in the future. I felt like, this would somehow, soon be over, and then the life would be all roses and sunshine. Maybe, now, reality doesn’t allow me to delude myself anymore. We sadly know the consequences of our irresponsibility. And yes, we were irresponsible, but I guess, we don’t have to (or rather we don’t get to) be irresponsible anymore.

    Maybe our hearts and our minds would continue to lack their freedom as long as we wish for things to be different than what they are. I dunno, just a random thought.

    Take care 🙂

    • This reply was modified 2 months, 4 weeks ago by Kartik.
    #396708
    Sherry
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

     

    It’s good to hear that you’ve recovered from the eating disorders and it’s great that you’ve found a way of eating – the ordered food- that works for you! It’s such a tough feat to beat an eating disorder (I hope this isn’t triggering but please let me know if it is) and it’s so great that you were able to have a better relationship with food.

    I took a couple of days to reply because I’ve been reflecting on myself since reading your response. You are so good at getting to the issue! What you wrote in your second message is exactly correct to the tee. When growing up, my brother and I were really close. But he was the “popular” kid in school, had tons of friends, made the dean’s list in college, got a great job right out of college, and is now married. On the other hand, I was a bit of a loner in school and had no friends to the point that I ate lunch in the library because I didn’t want to sit alone in the cafeteria. I became really depressed in college and moved back home and I tried grad school but I ended up moving back in with my parents and still live in my parents’ home. I feel like I greatly disappointed my parents because I wasn’t as successful or didn’t turn out to be the daughter they wanted. This morning, I was venting to my mom about this same health issue and I kept saying “sorry, I don’t mean to irritate you”, before reading your message, I wouldn’t have thought about it but I realize now that it’s because of these years of feeling like I’ve disappointed my parents that I say things like that. That makes so much sense about having empathy for my parents and others but not really feeling that for myself.

     

    The complete opposite has happened from your post – you posted exactly everything that I felt in my life going back the last two decades or so and it has made me reflect so much. I truly appreciate your posts and your taking the time to write to me.

     

    I love my parents but I think you’re right. I had severe depression in college and when I told my dad, he said “you just need to think positively”. When my mom found my self-harm scars, she said “you need to stop doing stupid things to yourself” and shamed me and my parents mocked me for saying it’s an addiction (it’s 9 years later and I still struggle with self-harm addiction – I just started self-harming on my leg so my parents wouldn’t see, but I’m 1.5 years clean). For almost a year after, I couldn’t wear long sleeve shirts without my mom asking “did you do something stupid to yourself?”. In grad school, I became suicidal and I told my mom. She said “you need to stay in grad school and continue on with it”. I remember being terrified driving to grad school (I’d come home each weekend mainly for my dog) because I didn’t want to die but I wanted out of the pain of a depressive episode and especially the day my mom told me this. I remember calling my friend and asking if she wanted to meet up for dinner and she and her boyfriend were free. If it weren’t for that dinner, I really don’t think I’d be here today and it’s just anytime I reach out for help for my depression or anxiety, I don’t receive the help I need. My mom put me in complete fear of hospitalization in a mental institution into me and I never quite received the help I may have needed for my suicidal thoughts because I was afraid of telling a therapist (I’m not suicidal now – this was 3 years ago). In college, I talked to my parents about going on anti-depressants, they said I could on the condition that I don’t go above 10mg and I have to do research to pick the one I saw the best reviews of. I picked 10mg lexapro and while on medications, I developed bulimia and didn’t get the help I needed. I also had textbook symptoms of depression in high school and got bad grades because of it and my dad would yell at me daily saying I’d never amount to anything in life. It feels like a lot of the lack of empathy from them came around my depression and comparing myself to my brother and it wasn’t until I wrote this all out that I realized it.  I don’t think they understand mental health/illness and what to do with it because maybe they’ve never experienced it themselves or they just didn’t know what to do but the way they handled my depression has had a longstanding effect on me to this day. My mom volunteers as part of her church that deals with mental health and it really irritates me because she doesn’t understand the first thing about mental illness. This is so long and all over the place but it felt like a weight off my shoulders to type it all out.

     

    I realized yesterday in a therapy appointment that all of the regrets I’m feeling is actually self-blame, which makes sense. I think I’ve blamed every part of my life on myself – whether it’s the bad grades in high school, the untraditional college experience, not having many friends or not finding a job right out of college, the diabetes diagnosis (which I know isn’t really my fault – it’s highly genetic in my family), and now the diabetes complications, and everything in between. But there’s still that thought in my mind that “if I had tried to do well in high school, tried to make friends in my sorority at college, got my health in order, even if I was diagnosed with diabetes at the same time, taken care of that asap, then my life would be different and better” and it’s a cycle of self-blame because I know I can’t go back and change any of that.

     

    I’m sorry for such a long response, I just started reflecting on my life and it all came out on the keyboard lol

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