First thing I hate about low blood sugars

“Hi, my name is Scott and I’m a compulsive overtreater”

This is where you say “Hi Scott, welcome”…

This topic has been darn near beat to death over the course of my lifetime, but I still have trouble with it.

See, our bodies have these intricate systems that drive us, instinctual urges for survival that fight to keep us alive and unharmed. These are the same systems that make us pull back when we touch something hot or when we experience pain, the same systems that make us thirsty when our bodies need water, or hungry when our bodies need food…

What happens to us when our blood sugar is lower than it should be? There are alarm bells ringing like mad, screaming at us to get some form of sugar into our system!! I am often overpowered by these urges. I find it terribly difficult to eat only what I need to raise my blood sugar back to normal.

Panic_buttonThese urges have driven me to do things like drink maple syrup, eat sugar (white or brown) by the spoonful, eat 4 or 5 bowls of cereal in record time, devour a stack of oreos taller than what my hand can hold, try to eat a napkin (?!) and just generally lose all rational thought processes I might claim to have under normal blood sugars.

Usually I know enough to know that I shouldn’t eat everything I can get my hands on, but that logical part of my brain is just not speaking loud enough to beat back those primal survival instincts. That is why it frustrates me so. I know better!

How do you do it though? How do you spend those 10-15 minutes it takes for you to start feeling “less low”? Every cell in your body is screaming bloody murder, and yet you are supposed to wait – to stop eating?!

 

I find that during the day this is manageable. If I am in a safe & stable environment, such as work, I am able to find something to pull my brain off the complete and total panic that my body is screaming about. The most troublesome time for me is when I wake up low at night. Is it because I’m tired and anxious to get back to bed? So I just shovel it in so I can go back to sleep? Is it because I’m lower than I would be had I been awake to feel the symptoms? Is it because I’m scared, and don’t want to go low again after I go back to sleep? Could it be all of the above?

In part, I am thankful that I am able to feel symptoms when I go low. There are many people that fight with hypoglycemic unawareness – they have no symptoms of low blood sugars. That is pretty scary considering what happens if you don’t treat a low blood sugar.

However on the other side of that coin, if they have reliable and consistent tools that help them to catch those lows (such as Wil and his CGMS), they do not fight the urges to overtreat. Does that make it easier to eat only what is needed?

Both scenarios are no good – but I sometimes wonder which is worse? The unawareness is clearly more dangerous, but that doesn’t make me like being able to feel the symptoms any more.

Don’t get me wrong – to a certain degree I appreciate that I can feel my symptoms. I’m just saying that I hate the fight to not overtreat. It’s a fight I often don’t win.

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Scott K. Johnson

Patient voice, speaker, writer, advocate. Living life with diabetes and telling my story. Patient Success Manager, USA for mySugr (All opinions expressed are my own and do not necessarily represent the position of my employer).

Diagnosed in April of 1980, I recognize the incredible mental struggle of living with diabetes. Read more…