Bloodsugars and Moods

PsychingOutDiabetesI recently finished reading “Psyching Out Diabetes” by Dr. Richard Rubin, June Biermann & Barbara Toohey (June & Barbara have TONS of books out there on diabetes – you probably know them, even if you don’t realize it yet). The book was a quick and easy read, and I would encourage you to check it out if the title rings any interest for you. Take a peek at the “Look Inside” feature that Amazon has, and you can get an idea of some things the book touches on.

Like any book, there are things you take out of it, and things that you don’t really feel apply. I thought this book did a really good job balancing that, and I felt the “signal to noise” ratio was excellent.

One of the many things I started to notice after crossing a certain point in the book was my mood and whether or not any particular cranky or pissy spell might be related to a high or low blood sugar.

I usually have trouble identifying when I’m a bit cranky. I bet many of us do. Something rubs us the wrong way, and before we know it we’re snapping at those close to us, or pulling back to “just be alone”. Maybe without even realizing what we’re doing.

Me? I’m a snapper. I usually hold it together pretty good, except when it comes to my wife & kids. Maybe that’s natural – to be a little less guarded around those you feel most comfortable with?

The book talked about many of these types of events in relation to low blood sugars – giving some examples of completely irrational explosions, only to find the person was experiencing a low blood sugar (maybe therefore not having the normal cognitive abilities).

Those make sense, the lows, at least as much as they can I guess. But I’m also starting to wonder if I don’t also have trouble on the other end of things – when my blood sugar is high?

My poor and ever so patient family (I am so thankful for you).

I’ve asked my wife if we can come up with some ways for her to express that she feels I’m cranky, so I can (theoretically) test my blood sugar, and see if there is some relation there.

This situation is maybe more delicate than the average person may appreciate. Have you ever been pissed off, and your significant other asks you why you’re pissed off, and it just makes you more pissed off? Or maybe they just start jabbing back at you, and the spiral of emotions escalates until you are both ready to bite each others head off!

After all that you still don’t know why you were acting all pissy in the first place. And to top it off you’ve gone and pissed off those around you. No good for anyone.

So to come up with some way for my wife to communicate the fact that she believes I am acting cranky, without me getting even more cranky, is what we’re after here.

I’m skeptical, because I know how I get when I’m cranky. But she’s optimistic. She said “yes, you might get pissed of, but I’ll get over it and so will you” (isn’t she great!?). I also think the fact that I’m starting to recognize that my moods are very much impacted by my blood sugars will help things too.

If I can recognize that my blood sugar is high, and I’m cranky, I can then ratchet up my awareness and work to calm myself down. It’s no guarantee, but I think it’s better than just being cranky and making life miserable for my wife & kids.

This ties into so many things. When I posted Friday about having trouble after basketball – spilling ketones & running high sugars for much of that afternoon – I got home and was just wiped out. I wanted to crawl into a hole and not do or think about anything. I realized that I had an appointment with my therapist the next day, and I said to myself “you know, I don’t want to work on anything”. Those therapist appointments (and the aftermath of uncovering something) are mentally exhausting.

After having such a tough day, of course I was not looking forward to a mentally trying therapist appointment. But then it hit me – that I was in that “mental place” because of the day I had, and that after some rest, hydration and time with in-range numbers, I would feel better and probably be all revved up for the appointment.

I shared those thoughts with my wife, and we felt good about realizing why I was feeling that way. It didn’t make me magically feel better, but understanding why my head was where it was helped tremendously. I didn’t try to “fix” it – just recognize the why.

The next day, my therapist and I had a great appointment (in which I also shared my revelation! She said “duh!”).

The human body is such a fascinating work of checks and balances, and there is more than just the physical side of things that get thrown out of whack when we are outside of the “normal operating range”.

At the very least, it’s something to think about – that’s for sure.

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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…