Blood Sugar: Cognitive Distortions & Diabetes

It happened to me. It could happen to you. In fact, it could happen to any insulin-dependent person living with diabetes. When the smoke cleared, I couldn’t believe what I saw. I saw it all! It was overwhelming at first to take it in: the clarity, the focus, the emotional stability, and even my memory. I began to see memories that I didn’t realize I had forgotten.

The year was 1977 when I was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes, now referred to Type I. While it wasn’t exciting at the time, I now find it fascinating how we managed our diabetes. At age six years old, I was able to play mad scientist every day, several times a day.

Part of me saw the process of checking my blood sugar as fun, but, in the end, I wasn’t checking it at all. Let me tell you what I mean.

I dropped the tablet into the test-tube full of my urine, it bubbled and foamed its way up the test tube, all the while changing colors. Then I matched the color of the urine at the bottom of the test tube, with a chart. Different colors meant various levels of sugar in our urine. Voila! It was believed at the time that sugar in urine equaled glucose in the blood. We now know that the amount of sugar in our urine is very different from the quantity of glucose in our bloodstream.


Needless to say, due to improper blood sugar testing and many other reasons, my blood sugars were never under control. To me, the world was spinning out of control. My days were full of urinating all the time, feeling nauseous, daydreaming out the window cause I couldn’t follow the class, and most days I couldn’t even tell you what I did that day. I was living in a cognitive nightmare every day.

I had problems with thinking, memory, motivation, learning, emotional stability, frustration, anger, sadness, depression, isolation, and remembering even the littlest things. My mind was in a fog. And it wasn’t until I looked back, during a psychotherapy session many years later that I realized how different my world is now that I manage my blood sugars.

Now to be fair, there was no way to manage my blood sugars when I was a child. Luckily for us, we now have the tools and the information to manage our blood sugars.

It’s hard to see the fog when you’re in it because you become used to it. At that time, I didn’t realize any of the above issues were going or how they related to high blood sugar. That’s the problem! We can’t always see how our blood sugars are affecting our ability to function in the here & now, especially, if your blood sugar is consistently high.

Psychotherapy can be a beneficial part of diabetes management. Getting non-bias observations about what is happening in our lives and our role can be priceless.

I hear my clients and other people living with diabetes, say, “I take care of my obligations, and I am not dysfunctional.” Most of the time, that is true, but it’s not about one’s dysfunctionality. It’s about stabilizing emotions and improving how well you function so you can get the most out of life.

People who live in constant states of high blood sugar levels go to work, they have families, they raise children, and they go on vacations. Because they get used to being at a high blood sugar, they may not realize. Are they as connected to their children or family as they could be?

Did they get the full enjoyment out of their vacation? Unfortunately, they most likely did not! Do they realize it? Probably not! I didn’t at the time.

It wasn’t till many years later and lots of work to get my blood sugars under control that I realized one crucial fact. When my blood sugars were out of control, I wasn’t living up to my full potential. In part, that realization motivates me to help my clients get the most out of their life. Helping them improve management; bring clarity to past and present events while assisting them to develop a healthier and happier life.

We miss so much when our blood sugar is always high, and because we’re living in it around the clock, it is tough to see we have a problem. When I was growing up, I refused to believe I had a problem. So, if you or others close to you think you may have a problem, it doesn’t hurt to get a second opinion.

Diabetes-focused Psychotherapy was created to help people find clarity while improving blood sugar levels. I don’t do this to judge (you most likely have people who will do that for free), I developed Diabetes-Focused Psychotherapy to help others living with diabetes get the most out of their life and the ability to talk through their issues with negative feelings, frustrations, and management issues.

2 thoughts on “Blood Sugar: Cognitive Distortions & Diabetes

  1. I can’t agree more, I was only diagnosed in December of 2015 at the age of 30 but after a very stressful few months and undiagnosed diabetes meant my blood was high for weeks , I look back and realise the trauma and the absolutely terrible decisions I made during this fog of high blood. It really scares me how it affected my brain and I didn’t realise what my body was up to. I feel so much better now it’s kind of (as much as it can ever be) under control.


  2. Absolutely resonate with what you have written ! I have been a diabetic for 33 years with not great control but fortunately no complications . I was diagnosed in
    1981 in India where there was barely any awareness forget any kind of emotional support ! But I guess I am resilient by nature and didn’t ever feel the need for therapy and am successfully married with a child of 14 years now . I studied to become a Dietician so I could help myself and have enjoyed life to the fullest and no kind of depression , often people are shocked when I tell them I am diabetic . I guess it’s got to do with a lot with how my parents dealt with it and instilled that confidence in me that no matter what I could do anything ! But I understand the implications that a longstanding chronic condition can have on any person so just absolutely love how you are trying to help and more so you can be completely empathetic since you have first hand experience of it . Sorry really long comment and it’s my first time talking about it but I felt the need to share !


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