Never had a Strategy Before with Lows: Today I closed my Eyes



I had an epiphany on the treadmill last week, and I’ve been thinking about it since. It’s possible all of you knowledgeable diabetics have known this forever, but I honestly didn’t. It was only a week ago that I learned something about my lows, and it’s still only a seed of an idea. I figured I’d plant it here and see what grows. :smiley:

I’ve had some absolutely awful feeling and terribly gross and painful lows. Wow, have some felt bad. And I know everyone here has had them as well. I’ve never had any kind of strategy because what strategy? Survive it. That was about what I had. Eat something and survive. Obviously, not all lows are the same either. Not all are anything more than a couple of jitters for a couple of minutes, a moment of panic, or some sweat (personal favorite). However, the ones that truly affect my thinking… those can be a little tougher to navigate, and they are also the most unpleasant ones. They can make it difficult for me to know what action to take, they can make me not be able to see anything in front of me, they can really make it hard to not snap at people, and the panic… I’ve had to remind myself on more than one occasion that it’s not real. Like some kind of horror flick that the bad guy only gets you if acknowledge him. I have to remind myself that it’s not real and no matter how bad it feels in this moment, it will be gone in the next.

I’ll get to it. I’ve heard of confusion as a symptom of a low and panic and anxiety… mood swings… I’ve heard of these things, but, for some reason, I’ve never really thought of them as applying to me. Which my family has really appreciated. :thinking: Anyway, it was on the treadmill last week when I started to realize that I have a few clues that I’m starting to drop, and they’re usually sensory-related. Irritability. I’ve heard of that, too (not me though). Without any kids around or cats or mother or husband, irritability is not the first thing that comes to mind. When my signs of impending drop are that the music has started to sound too loud, or the fan is too cold or too sharp-feeling, the lights are starting to overwhelm… I don’t think of myself as feeling irritated, I think of myself as having difficulty processing that sensory input. And that was my epiphany (and I know at least 6 people just face-palmed), but I didn’t understand this.

I have been in the food store before when I’ve started into a bad crash, surrounded by food, and have not been able to figure out what to do. It’s a desperate feeling. To know there’s a solution but to not be able to figure out what it is. I get black squares in my vision (and have heard of others getting circles because diabetes is geometrically diverse), and these squares have made it impossible to see anything in front of me. If I look in front, square. Look to the right, square. Up, square. It’s overwhelming, and it’s maddening, and I’ve never understood it. However, with this new thinking, about sensory overload, it makes me think of it as nothing more than … something that I can try to tune out. It makes me think that my brain is under sensory attack and is unable to filter the way it normally does, and that I need to shut down whatever I can to help it. I can’t see black squares with my eyes closed.

Tonight, I was going down, and it was happening in a flash, and my brain started to do what it does and flip from thought to thought and sight to sight, and I was beginning to panic. I put candy in my mouth… because that has to be the first step, and then I turned off the music, sat down, and closed my eyes. And felt okay. I know where I was headed because I’ve been there a million times, and I’ve never managed to feel okay on demand. But I hope it worked tonight because the thinking behind it makes sense.

That’s a lot. I’m not even sure I’ve said anything. I just know that I’m closing my eyes from here on out. :smiley:

And you guys are the nicest people on the face of the earth, and I know some will respond so that I don’t feel awkward with the crickets, but I don’t feel awkward. I’m happy just posting. So no pressure.

Help: what are your symptoms when low [prep for wiki]?

Great post!

So I’m clear, do you close your eyes to make the low more bearable and to let it pass? Or do you close your eyes to help you realize that you’re low and to focus yourself?


Chirp… Chirp… Chirp chirp… Chirp…

Seriously are you inside my head @Nickyghaleb? I could not have expressed that if. I tried, and yet it cogently expresses some of the feelings I occasionally get with lows, especially the irritability and the fleeting black shapes just before a seizure.


To stop some of the sensory onslaught. I sound crazy saying that, but I’ve been thinking about how the brain is affected during hypoglycemia, and I’ve been thinking of my brain as temporarily impaired. Normally I can handle the lights and the music, but during these crashes, I’m thinking maybe I shut it all down. Those black squares… I can’t think when I start getting them. And it was all setting in tonight, and I tried something different and turned off whatever I could, sat down, and closed my eyes. The panic feelings stopped immediately. Maybe it’s coincidence, but I’m hopeful.


I need to try that. My lows make everything around me feel out of control…but I haven’t sussed out whether that’s a symptom in my case or an emotional overreaction.


You laugh, but there have been some serious crickets after my posts since starting with all this social media nonsense. Enough to make a normal person give it all up. :grin:


Just before a seizure?? Okay. That’s… Hey, no seizure talk from you right now. You can talk about whatever you want in 3 days. You can talk about rainbows and unicorns until then.


And maybe it will turn out to be an emotional reaction after all, but I realized that without my regular ability to filter incoming everything, of course I’m going to panic. So I was in the shower tonight… and that’s where it started, and it was all happening. I was getting squares, and I was starting to feel panicky, and I was even getting nauseous. I was done anyway, so I got out, ate a big handful of skittles, and sat down and closed my eyes. I cannot tell you how much better I felt right away. I think those squares for me are my brain processing the light. I really could be wrong. But the fact the music can suddenly be all wrong, and everything else, it just makes me wonder. And in complete absence of any other kind of strategy, I can certainly try limiting what my brain has to sift through. It quieted the panicky thoughts tonight. Who knows.


Your description of lows is really interesting! I haven’t heard it described that way before. I’m glad you’ve found a coping trick :slight_smile:

I’m not sure my experience is quite the same. I don’t tend to feel irritable with lows (that comes with the highs!). I do tend to feel like I’m processing everything a little bit to a lot slower than usual depending on how low.

I had a pretty bad drop the other day, and I was sitting on the couch chowing down on some food. I previously told my boyfriend that I was low, and he could clearly see I was treating it (chomp chomp chomp…). He asked me some question about organizing the apartment (we recently moved), and I literally told him: “My brain can’t process that right now. My blood sugar is too low.” Which was the absolute truth. I’m not sure that I would describe it as sensory overload because I don’t get the kind of irritability your describing. I’ve had my vision affected for sure, but it doesn’t seem to cause the panic that you’re describing. It’s more that I just can’t process thoughts of any level of complexity. Anything beyond “food in” is way too much for me when I get a deep low.

I had one severe low a few years back where I remember that the whole world seemed so much brighter and interesting looking. I remember that everything had sort of converted to geometric shapes- not the black spots that I’ve seen before with bad lows… it’s like my brain had totally changed what I was seeing into some kind of abstract art painting of geometric shapes. I remember telling my boyfriend at the time how beautiful it was. I think he thought I was crazy… soooooo no need to feel awkward! You’re in good company :grin:


I think you’re definitely onto something! I don’t question it. Just in my case, I’ve been super paranoid and panicky about lows for a few years now and I myself cannot distinguish my emotional reaction from the physical yet. Maybe they’re the same thing for me, but too soon for me to tell.


And thinking more…I got more panicked about lows when I more or less lost my ability to hit “pause” in a given moment to navigate a low: motherhood. Now that my kids are older and get it and are generally safe without immediate supervision, maybe I can get back to hitting Pause for lows. And maybe that will make the prospect of lows and the actual lows themselves less panic riddled.



@Katers87, you are a very chill low person. :grin: I’m very jealous.

Yes to that. But that’s when I’m still able to process the fact I’m not processing things well. I do know that stage, and there’s absolutely some scattered thinking, but at some point, I can’t. I guess it’s kind of like what you’re describing but at lightspeed.

If Im alone in these types of symptoms, I would not be sad. They’re tough. I’d prefer to see the world in beautiful geometric shapes, but I’m sure that wasn’t pure bliss either. :grin:

Interesting. Thank you for sharing your experience. :heart:


That’s certainly another idea… that my brain is shutting down not because of the lights but because of the crazy needy children. :grin:

I’m happy tonight whatever it is. I’ve got something to try the next time things get crazy, and I’m thrilled. How often do you get to look forward to your next low? :grin:


Thankfully I’ve never been super low (46 at my lowest), and I’ve never seen any shapes, but closing my eyes is my strategy, and for exactly the same reason - to shut out everything assaulting my senses (because that’s what it feels like). My kids don’t appreciate this when I’m home alone with them, and they usually add their personal contributions to that sensory overload, but you gotta do what you gotta do…

I do feel slightly panicky and like I need to eat the whole kitchen when low, so closing my eyes also just helps me keep calm until it passes.


I tend to go low, this morning I got up and couldn’t see where I was going, it was like a black blob in my eyes. Tried to go to kitchen and fell, was dizzy and disoriented, started to kitchen on hands and knees likely my daughter was in kitchen. Took me to sofa sat me down went and got me a big glass of orange juice and my meter. Couldn’t check my sugar because I couldn’t see. She did it for me and I was 32. Never been that low. See wanted to call. 911 but I would not let her. Told her if I am unconscious to call.
Not a good feeling, I may joke about going low but real low is no joke. Don’t know what I would have done if she wasn’t there.


Assaulting my senses. That’s what it is. It’s shutting out whatever I can to make it easier on my brain.

I actually think the world contributes to what they’ve already established. They are overload. Then the world pitches in. :grin:

I’ve never thought of closing my eyes as a strategy, but I hope it works.


That is a very good point. :laughing:


That’s the last thing I would ever want to do - close my eyes. As long as I am awake, it’s not problem, I can fix it. Once I go to sleep, it’s over. It’s basically up to the first person who finds me.

So I try very hard to never close my eyes on a low.

I usually have an instinct to eat. If there is food there, I just start eating it. It’s just like a survival instinct, no thought necessary. Maybe not every single time, but almost always.


You got this, you have the skills and in site more than anyone I know off. It happens to the best of us. Keep chin up and keep chugging along. Wish I had in site to help, but I know others here do and all any of us can do is try our best to control this monster on our back and mabey help another once in awhile. Be safe and well my queen.:grinning:


And here I thought for the past 47 years that I was the only one.


Keep a bottle of glucose tabs next to the bed. If you see the black blob, just eat 5 glucose without thinking about it. Don’t go anywhere. Don’t consider any possibilities. Make it an automatic rule so that you can self-rescue while there’s still time.