Yesterday I sort of touched on this a bit, but a friend and mother to a T1 ask my to write about this from my perspective. What it is like? What I experience? How does it make me feel?
When I am low, I have stages of emotion that I go through, that I can remember SOMETIMES! You need to know that most of the time when this happening I have ZERO AWERENESS to it. As I drop low, I notice that my patience level drops. Little things just irritate the crap out of me! I am terse and edgy in ways that I normally would not be. As I keep dropping I seem to enter my own little world. From my vantage point things seem to move slower and almost freeze in time. Sometimes I get lost in what I am doing. I get lost in my 6ft by 8 ft bathroom and cannot get out so I do something like clean. I will wash the mirror 5 times or I work extremely hard to get that darn black speck out of the tile grout. I am very focused on ONE THING but it is usually the wrong thing! It is during this time that I KNOW that I should listen to my dogs but for some reason I have NO CLUE what they want or what they are trying to tell me! I honestly am not trying to be difficult but honestly I usually am. It is also during this stage that I ABSOLUTLY DETEST BEING YELLED AT OR TOLD WHAT TO DO! I HATE IT! I am normally fairly compliant as long as you I have reason to be…but during this stage it just PISSES ME OFF when someone TELLS me what to do. “YOU NEED TO CHECK YOUR SUGAR!” “YOU NEED TO EAT” “EAT!” “TREAT” ARGHHHHHHHHHHH Inside I just want to explode at someone or something! My dogs alerts as this is happening get very direct and to the point…. Bravo is very polite but persistent…Radar well he is like “Screw it…you want to fight…OK I will fight you and I am going to NIP you till you fix it!” Next I hit the absolute quiet zone. I cant talk and from what I have been told I am very pale and my eyes are gone but my body demeanor is “IF YOU COME ANY CLOSER…I AM GONNA KICK YOUR BUTT!” My friend Kim who is a CDE and I went on a trip early after diagnosis. During this early time my pancreas would sometimes just MASS PRODUCE INSULIN and you could give me a glucagon shot and I still wouldn’t get above 60! It was a very nasty time of my life as far as the diabetes goes. We were in a hotel room when I took a hard sudden drop. Kim knew what was happening and was being very direct with me. CHECK! EAT! DO THIS! DO THAT! Honestly I remember only feeling ticked off! I don’t remember anything else. I got so obstinate with her that she was throwing food at me from across the room and I would either feed it to Bravo or would put it under her pillow! Eventually the carbs kicked in and my brain came back. Fortunately for me Kim loves me and has a really good sense of humor and out about diabetes! For me when I am low what works best is to set my meter and my treatment in front of me and just BE QUIET! Inside of me here is what happens I can see it and I KNOW what I need to do but the problem is NOISE CONFUSES ME! So if you simply say “YOU SEEM LOW, WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO ABOUT IT?” I will respond and fix it. Yes it is perhaps slower than you might want but it will get fixed! Or you can just let Radar fight it out with me!
Highs….for me are different. I am still irritable and edgy but I am not confused or lost. I am foggy! My brain is mushy but it is very different than a low. With a high I just want to LAY DOWN AND SLEEP! My overall outlook about life and the world is very dim when I am high. My perspective is very pessimistic! The glass is half full...no it is a quarter full.ah crap “WHO DRANK ALL THE WATER!!!!!! GRRRR Why would you do that to me! “ It is like a half awake and cannot get the fog out of my head. “OK I think I will take me and my bad attitude and just go to bed!” Thinking and memory are far harder! How bout I just sit here and stare off into space? Ohhhh and dear Lord please make sure a bathroom is close when I am high. Anytime my blood glucose is above 180 my bladder size starts shrinking. At 300 it is the size of a walnut and you might as well hook me up to a garden hose!
So how does this all make me feel about myself???? Well I try to stay proactive! I try to do my best to not let it win. But I have to be honest…..it gets really old sometimes! I try to laugh and find the humor in the stupid things that I do when I am low. But you want the truth??? Sometimes I fell absolutely STUPID and IGNORANT! I was NOT RAISED to do STUPID THINGS! I HATE THAT I DO THOSE THINGS! I laugh and I make fun of it later but honestly that feeling of being stupid, being lessor, not being able to do something that normally is very easy MAKES ME MAD! MAKES ME WANT TO CRY! MAKES ME WANT TO THROW A TEMPER TANTRUM! But then something else starts happening…..I start challenging the disease. I dig for new ways to get ahead of what ever is happening. I document. I log. I write. I FIGHT BACK! Someday this disease MAY WIN..but it is NOT HAPPENING TODAY! I will not allow my PANCREAS TO RUIN MY LIFE! I will not let it take my joy! I will not let it take my hope!
This is only my experience. I do not speak for all diabetics. This is what happens in my head. I have to find my FIGHT drive! But then sometimes I just have to practice FINDING CENTER! This disease is going to be here forever. I don’t have a choice because at this time there is no cure. So since I have the lemon….I will try to make lemonade! You bring the ice!