As I lay awake staring at the ceiling, I wonder, ‘why me?’ I have stared at that ceiling over a thousand times. Over the past 36 years. “I can’t fall asleep,” I tell myself. Not yet!
I scream in frustration. My eyes are tired but not yet. I check my blood sugar, and it’s still low. What was it? What did I do? Does it matter at this point?
I have lived with diabetes since I was six years old. I was diagnosed on my birthday in 1977. Happy birthday! Right? I have dealt with this line of thinking way too many times and have come to some answers.
So, let’s get down to business! After all, I am in the business of helping people with diabetes thrive and you don’t need to listen to my problems. Let’s see if we can assist you with yours?
Night Time Highs & Lows
You can be up for hours on end, waiting for it to return to normal! Here is the messed up part, if you choose to go back to bed after taking a correction injection. You won’t sleep as soundly, and it will take twice as long for the blood sugar to come down, due to increased insulin resistance and lower metabolism.
I rather prefer nighttime lows compared to highs. You get up and take some fast acting glucose, and within an hour’s time, I am back in bed asleep. It still doesn’t mean I am not angry with myself. That is the problem.
Many times in life we are sad about something, but instead of feeling sad we lash out in anger at others, ourselves our illness. Why? Well, Feeling hurt and sad is a bummer. Psychologically we would rather get angry and be able to deny our feelings of sadness.
It’s easier to project anger onto something, someone, or even diabetes itself, than deal with our sadness and living with this illness and think others “have it easy.”
We don’t know if others have it easy, but we say it to ourselves, nonetheless. That haunting inner voice can demolish self-esteem, especially at night when we are tired, and our defenses are down.
So how do we fight the guilt-ridden inner voice and stop it’s evil ways? Here are some helpful hints.
Blaming the diabetes is like blaming the president that you lost your job. Nothing changes! You are still out of work and have to look for a new job. You can control your job performance, but everything else is beyond your control. You can manage your diabetes, but everything else is out of your control. So blaming doesn’t help. The ugly truth is that blaming causes increased negative emotions that will raise your blood sugars.
If you work at managing your diabetes then, blaming yourself is self-destructive and will only make your life more difficult.
If you are not presently managing your diabetes well, please seek help from a Certified Diabetes Educator or mental health professional. Your life depends on it.
The absolute truth of being happier when living with diabetes is to realize that you can’t control everything or do it alone.
In the end, does it matter what caused the high or low that is keeping you up at night? Just take care of it and go back to bed.
Good Night & Pleasant Dreams!
Eliot LeBow, LCSW, CDE, is a diabetes-focused psychotherapist. His private practice, located in New York City and is also available via Skype. LeBow, who has been living with type 1 diabetes since 1977, treats the many diverse cognitive, behavioral, and emotional needs of people living with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
For more information go to his website or Facebook Page or set up a free 30-minute phone consultation to see if talk therapy is right for you.
All the advice included in this blog is therapeutic in nature and should not be considered medical advice. Before making any changes to your diabetes maintenance program, please consult with your primary physician or endocrinologist.
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