I’m a diabetic and I’ve had suicidal thoughts.


We recently wrote on a study that revealed significant rates of drug use and suicide among Type 1 diabetic organ donors. We requested that others offer their insights about these problems. With her permission, we are posting Aysha Amin’s response and her experience here:

It was a tremendous comfort for me to read the essay today and see that I’m not alone. Since I was in the seventh grade, I’ve fought with suicide thoughts for almost 12 years. My suicidal thoughts aren’t just caused by my diabetes because I also had abuse as a child, which I believe had a significant impact on my issues.

Three months after the birth of my brother, at the age of 10, I was diagnosed. After I was diagnosed with diabetes, my parents were unable to effectively care for both a newborn and a diabetic, so I was largely left on my own after that. My brother’s nannies, who frequently looked after me, had no knowledge how to take care of my diabetes. My own parents were unable to control my diabetes.

I pretended to not have diabetes for many years; I hardly ever gave myself the proper dose of insulin and I never monitored my blood sugar levels. It reached to the point where I would accidentally lose track of my metre for days on end.

I had the worst school nurse in the entire world when I was in sixth grade. I would miss nearly an hour of class each day while I waited for her to let me access my supplies because the school wouldn’t let me keep my supplies on me. At that point, my mental health and diabetic issues really began to worsen.

We transferred to a new school district the following year. My wonderful nurse has a kid who also had diabetes. I think Mrs. Woods was the only one I could trust to take good care of me. Sadly, I only lived there for two years before beginning high school, and I didn’t have her close by during the summers.

I started to consider using my insulin to end my life at the start of high school; I’d just become another statistic. But I was unable to complete it. Sincerely, I have no idea why. I always made the choice to linger a little longer for some reason.

Two years ago, I began visiting a new therapist. She shares my background and is mixed, which is advantageous. She is the first therapist with whom I have ever been entirely honest about my suicidal ideas. I used to worry that my parents would find out about my therapy, that I would be placed in a mental health hold, and that being honest would backfire on me.

My therapist has been of great assistance. She gave me the name of a psychiatrist who put me on the proper medications. She assisted me in seeing that while those ideas and my despair will always exist, it was okay. She has persuaded me that I will experience good days as well and that I will continue to live for a little bit longer with her support and my own strength.

I never imagined I would get this far, if you had asked me a few years ago. I believed that I would never graduate from college, land a job, find love, settle down, or own a home. But here I am with my A1C at its lowest ever level of 6.8, my sophisticated t:slim insulin pump, and a CGM that has repeatedly saved my life. I completed my degree, got married two years ago, adopted two cats, bought a condo with my husband, work for a significant non-profit, and am now feeling better.

Please don’t be afraid to ask for assistance from a mental health expert, your healthcare provider, or the emergency department if you are depressed and/or thinking about taking your own life. 

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