Coping with the Fear and Anger

The last few weeks have not been the best. Despite my best efforts, I am not coping very well with my diagnosis and BG swings. Lately, I have been very angry and scared. Angry because I got the genetic short stick (thyroid, fibro, heart condition, nerve condition, and now this). Scared because I don’t have a good support system at all. (It doesn’t help that I get the crazies when I go high/low.)

I feel like I am witnessing my life implode despite doing everything I am supposed to do. My heart is breaking, and I am so scared that people will not be there for me when I am physically unable to do it for myself. When I go low, I don’t usually realize what is happening more or less have the sense to ask for help.

I am interested to know how you cope and how you prevent the symptoms of your swings from damaging relationships with friends and family.

Hi Belgienne: Being newly diagnosed/relatively newly diagnosed is REALLY HARD. In my first 10 months, I was ANGRY but underlying that anger I believe was fear. I was actually helped a lot by seeing a therapist who has Type 1 diabetes herself. She of course gets it. Looking back, with some people I wish I had not vented so much. I did lose a few friendships, not close friends, but people who just couldn’t cope with my level of emotion and my reactions. To cope now, I use TuD and friends/partner who really get it (or are willing to hang in there with me even if they don’t understand). First and foremost, I would say to treat yourself with compassion. It’s not easy.

I lost my best friend of 20 years. During a low, I was mean and said several things that I can’t remember. I think that one hurt the most because it was my fault.

I have been working very hard to get my levels under control. I have been so strict on my diet (under 30g per meal, usually around 15g and under 15g per snack, usually around 5g or less). I started exercising more.

Still, I am getting worse, and my behavior when I am off is inexcusable. I don’t blame people for not wanting to deal with me. I don’t want to deal with me right now either.

How long did it take for the emotional rollercoaster to stop?

Last night, I ate a piece of cheese at 5pm. At 10:30pm, my BG was 240. Lets just say my reaction was less than stellar.

I spent hours crying after my diagnosis. Felt lots of guilt, blame, anger, sadness, fear, bitterness, rebellion – the whole gamut of emotions except happy! I think it’s totally normal to go through those feelings, but I agree that you need to choose who to share them with. People here are pretty understanding, and know those feelings from personal experience. So do feel free to vent if you need to – and as much as you need to.

I, like Melitta, have an excellent psychotherapist, who is helping me deal with a lot more issues than diabetes. I have major depressive disorder, and like you, hypothyroid and a heart condition. Truly the short end of the stick. But he’s helping me deal with reality, and find ways to deal with my feelings and my relationships.

I think it helps to be honest with people, at least those who you really care about. Saying things like “I just got diagnosed with diabetes, and I’m having trouble. I get irrational when I’m low, and I may say crazy or mean things that I would never say if I were thinking straight. Please don’t hold it against me, because I’m not in control when I’m low. If I start acting strange, please give me something sugary, and help me wait it out. And please know that I love you and would never intentionally hurt you.” You could even call your best friend and apologize and explain that way. Then it’s her choice whether to accept you and understand what made you act that way, or else to end the friendship. You will have done your best, and that’s all you can do.

Just keep on keeping on. You will come to terms more or less with diabetes. It’s something you will never be happy about, but you can live with it.

I was diagnosed in October 2010. Since then, I have accepted that my life won’t be like non-Ds. Right now, I am having coping issues with my levels being off no matter what I do. I will be seeing my endo in two weeks and switched endos from the awful one I saw in October.

I have told a few people what to do when I start getting emotional. Unfortunately, they are like me and don’t think to feed the savage, crazed beast … and I don’t think to ask because my mind isn’t functioning properly.

Maybe this will sound odd, but I am getting angry over getting angry and emotional. It is like a vicious cycle of suck.

My family lives on the East Coast, and I live in Arizona. Although they love me very much, they haven’t been very supportive. Their advice is to “suck it up” and “deal with it.”

I was told to reduce my carbs. The previous endo didn’t say by how much. I decided to do the 30/15 rules based on what I read here. Some days it works great and others not so much.

I think it is because the doctors haven’t officially typed me. Hopefully, the next visit will give them enough information to make a change in my medications because right now it is not working sufficiently.

30 a day??? Oh wow. At this point, I will try anything. If I need to reduce my carbs even more, then I will. I just want to feel better and be the fun loving person I am not this emotional, angry person I’ve become.

It’s frustrating not knowing your type. And not having the medications working right. The fact that you’re having lows means that something is really not right.

When I was first diagnosed they put me on Glucotrol, a sulfonylurea. It did absolutely nothing for me. My endo (no longer using him) wasn’t upset by post-prandials over 250, and fastings over 180, but I was, so I asked to be put on insulin, and have never looked back. It is definitely not the first line of defense for everyone, but it was for me, and I’m glad I got it. You will need to work with your endo to find what is right for you. I think first priority (wasn’t available when I was diagnosed) is an antibody test and a C-peptide to tell whether you are having auto-immune problems, and whether your insulin production is low. If both are true, then it points to Type 1. If there are no antibodies, and insulin level is high, then it points to Type 2. And proper treatment depends on knowing that. I wish you luck!

My endos ran all those tests. My insulin levels are slightly lower than normal, but my C-peptide and other tests for LADA or Type 1 came back fine. They confirmed the diabetes diagnosis because of my HbA1C and BG monitor readings. I am hoping that this month my levels will have changed enough to warrant a proper diagnosis and revision to my treatment plan.

Right now, the symptoms are what is making me and everyone else miserable. Sometimes, I feel like a complete lunatic. I will start crying over nothing. Seriously, NOTHING. Other times, I get freaked out or angry. I feel like I should be in a rubber room.

It only feels like you’re crying over nothing. The fact is that you’re crying over a major life-changing crisis that will last forever. I would be afraid for you if you WEREN’T having those feelings.

And no, “suck it up!” and “deal with it!” aren’t helpful responses. Although I’m confident that you WILL deal with it, but on your own terms and on your own time frame. You’re having a major grief reaction, which is normal, and you need time and space to work through it. It really is going to be OK – please have patience with yourself!

My diagnosis was quite hard on me. I felt like I had died and went through what I now think of as a “grieving” period. It was like I had somehow died. I really liked the work of Elisabeth Kübler-Ross who described five stages of grief: D’Nial, Anger Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance. I went through all the stages and still have to deal with some of these feelings years after my diagnosis. Over time, I’ve grown to more accepting of my condition, but also I feel more confident. I feel like I will be able to take care of myself. Please give yourself permission to have these feelings, they are entirely valid. It will help to find someone to talk to, but you also need to convince yourself that over time you will feel better and become much more competent in taking care of your self.

Aw, hugs. I know exactly what you are going through. It is normal to feel all this anger and rage. This is a big deal and don’t let anyone tell you any different - it is easy to point fingers and tell people they are overreacting when it isn’t them that is going through it. I still feel rage once and a while about this and it has been a year for me. I am still pissed that I got the crappy genes in the family. The rest of my family eats crappy diets and are slightly overweight while I was always the health nut and always thin and I am the one who got this. I can’t tell you how unfair I think it is. I think I will always think this. The first year is the hardest - there is no mistaking it. Figuring out what you can eat to control the sugars is the hardest part in my opinion. This forum is what helped me. I don’t come on as much I used to because I have pretty much figured out what works for me but don’t expect doctors to help you with the diet part of this. Ha! You honestly have to do it on your own with advice from real diabetics who live it - like on here!

I agree with others about the low carb - it will definatley help to keep the numbers down. If you have been “high” for a while, it might take a bit for you to feel good again even after you get the numbers under control. I think the body has to adjust to it. I often think I sometimes feel better when the BG goes to high but just at the beginning but I think was from before dx to thinking that was “normal”. I still always go through in my head every once and while “when did this start?” - always trying to figure out WHEN I started being diabetic. I know it doesn’t really matter anymore but we have so many unanswered questions with this disease and it is hard to live with so I think it is natural for us to be doing this.

Are you on my meds? You mentioned you were not Type1 or LADA - so I guess you are Type 2. They never gave me an official type though. But of course the general concensus amongst doctors seems to be if you produce no insulin you are Type1 and if you do you are Type2. Not that it matters - I hate the whole typing thing. I am Type 2 probably (although I call myself Type 2 Non Fat - or Type Weird!) and I don’t fit the stereotypical profile at all but I have been on Metformin and staying away from the high carb foods 99% of the time and it is working for me. I can eat more carbs now than I could at the beginning. Exercise is very important! Just walking is fine. I personally avoid high carb breads, pasta, potatoes and rice - I rarely eat any of this stuff. Beans I can get away with.

I have only had one low since I was diagnosed and I recognized it because I could feel it and I have had this before in my life way back (non-diabetics get low bg too). I was just about to eat when it happened so I already had food ready for me. But yeah, I had to sit down because I felt like I would pass out if I stood up. I think you just need to be prepared. Unfortunately with a disease like this we often have to ask for help. (I know - I hate asking for help too).

I don’t get the crazies for some reason but I do get crabby and snappy and irritable when I don’t feel good because of this. The more you have your numbers under control the better you will feel and the more in control you will feel. I promise it will get better (even if it doesn’t seem like it right now).

I think whoever invented the phrase “suck it up” should be shot. It is usually used in the most inappropriate situations! There is a saying I like: “You are having a normal reaction to an abnormal situation”. We do all react differently to our diagnosis just as we all react differently to any loss, and a diagnosis of diabetes IS a loss.

Two suggestions: I agree that a therapist, if possible one who is a diabetic, would really help you get through this rough time.

I was a bit confused by what you said about testing and Type. You said your c-peptide and antibody tests were “fine”. Does that mean you were confirmed as Type 2? Once you know your type for sure, I highly recommend you seek out a support group. You live in a large city I see so there should be a type 2 (if that is, in fact, your diagnosis) support group. Look online, or at a local diabetes center or hospital. It REALLY helps to talk to others who completely understand what you are going through. Hang in there, it will get easier!

Your situation sounds very similar to mine. I was fairly thin at the time I was diagnosed as diabetic (5’6" 120-125 lbs). Currently, I am on metformin. I don’t think it is helping really. My BGs have gotten worse since I started taking it. Right now, I am calling myself Type Weird as well. I don’t fit Type 1, 1.5. or 2 based on physicality and blood work. I think that is why the endos haven’t officially typed me yet.

How did you cope with being crabby/snappy/irritable? It pains me to see how my actions are hurting others. It is bad enough that I have to deal with it, but my friends/family are getting the brunt of it without really understanding what is going on medically. :frowning:

I think I have coped with having the D, but I’m struggling with the symptoms until I get everything under control. I feel like no matter what I do it isn’t working … and of course, when it isn’t working the BGs swing and make me emotional. It is a vicious cycle.

The endo is leaning toward Type 1.5, but the last round of test gave conflicting information. He is waiting to retest until things get clearer. Too bad their isn’t a support group for Type Weird. That would be great.

Stupid question: Where would I go to find a support group?

Regarding a support group that’s why I said to find out your type first. There are some “general” support groups but just because of the numbers they seem to be focused on type 2. As I mentioned, you can check with your endo or at a Diabetes center at your local hospital. Also online searches help or sites like craigslist that have groups listed. If you find out you are Type 1, you could contact the local branch of the JDRF. I don’t care for the American Diabetes Association for lots of reasons but they would also be a resource.

I have pretty much always distracted myself with hobbies, whether productive (martial arts, running, reading) or (perhaps) counter-productive (partying/ rock bands). Either way, I didn’t let diabetes interfere with the fun and, generally, made sure that I tested enough to avoid any lows killing anyones buzz? I highly recommend finding an other activity. I sort of do this to my ‘straight’ (non-diabetic) friends too, as we are moving into our 40s and some people are definitely looking for “things”?

Wow a completely new use of the word “straight”. As if going from non-drug using/counter-culture to heterosexual wasn’t odd enough! I think I’ll go confuse everyone by saying “all you straight people don’t understand me” and let them think I’ve either returned to the 60s in my mind or come out of the closet at age 62!

Belgienne, just out of curiosity what were the actual results of your c-peptide and antibody tests? Also do you have any other autoimmune conditions, such as thyroid?