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.
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. 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.
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.