Feeling Guilty over Low Grumpiness

I checked my blood glucose when I got to work this morning and it was 64, my minimed sensor (ver 2) hadn’t even caught it yet. So I wasn’t beeping to warn myself why I was extra grumpy.

I went off on my 7 year old daughter in the car on the way to summer daycamp this morning. I’m sure my bloodsugar was a bit low already. I mean, I irrationally griped about being hard on shoes and saying things are comfy and then deciding aren’t, for a good half of the 15-minute car ride.

I feel horrible now. And she isn’t going to understand that mom is irrational when her bloodsugar goes a bit low. Heck, my husband has a very hard time understanding that I get super crabby. He has refused to allow me to educate our daughters, who are 7 and 9, to recognize low symptoms and help treat lows when they see them. He says they are too young for that responsibility and I am the mom and shouldn’t ask the girls for help.

We actually talked about this in therapy and our therapist suggested that my moods and words are my responsibility, even when mentally impaired (due to glucose level.) I think the therapist meant, I have the responsibility to keep it in range and that I should apologize for harm caused, like you would advise an addict. But I have issues with that, what about having the family help with reading signs and then having them help intervene when there is a medical hiccup or emergency? My husband will often respond to any irritability with a defensive or hurtful retort and then I eventually figure it out because the sensor catches it a bit later or I just check with a meter because it’s a stupid tiff that shouldn’t have started.

Anyway, I feel guilty from my tirade at 70. And I wish I had some additional support. Also, I have a 670G waiting in my closet for the sensor to get off backorder and to get to a training class, so that might help in the near future, but still.

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I (respectfully) disagree with your husband and (not so respectfully) with your therapist.

I bet your kids would come to terms with it FAR easier and faster then adults would. Kids learn EVERYTHING faster. That is just life.

My suggestion would be to try to come to terms with your husband and allow your two daughters to become a more integral part of this part of your life. At that age, they have the potential to be VERY helpful. (Obviously all kids are unique…)

Good Luck. It does sound like a very difficult situation.


therapist and or husband deserves a kick in the n__s! It is something that all diabetics will deal with and by extension those around them. When I get like that my GF recognizes and asks me to take care of it and call her back when I’m feeling better.


My daughter’s mom and I divorced when my daughter was four. My going hypo when she was with me for visitation was another issue added to an already difficult situation. Even at that young age my daughter knew something was strange when I was low and it frightened her. We eventually worked out a deal. When she made a certain gesture, we agreed that I would check my blood glucose, no questions asked.

This routine helped. My daughter learned that her perceptions mattered and sometimes her dad was not low, just cranky.

I think children can handle this and should be involved from an early age. They may be the only person around to respond to a real emergency. Sometimes I think “protecting” children can do more harm than pragmatically including them as part of the solution.


I hesitate to weigh in on someone’s spousal relationship without knowing a lot more about them but…

Typically guys are trained up to regard anything like this as something you minimize, be tough about, don’t make it someone else’s problem. Sports injury? Shake it off. Diabetes? Same thing! Well, more or less the same thing. At any rate the training says You Don’t Whine About It. “The correct way to deal with a problem like this is to ignore it!” seems to be the imperative. I actually did it to myself when I was dx’d, figuring the warnings about hypos were just like those ones about being drowsy on the cough medicine box. Oh come on, how bad could it be? That went out the window about five days after I started on insulin and got whacked by my first severe low. I had to call to my wife for help b/c I could hardly stand up.

As that suggests, this attitude becomes a problem with T1 because there just are these practicalities involved and it isn’t “whining” to discuss them, it’s just a reality you need your partner to know about. But it can be a very stubborn thing to get past. We had a regular TUDer here for a while who went through this with her spouse as parents of a T1 kid. Husband accusing her of making too big a deal about it and the mom had to bear the full weight of dealing with it because the husband took the attitude that she was exaggerating the whole thing.

There seems to be some measure of that going on here–the kid thing in particular seems like it may be less about them than about him. “You have this weird problem but they don’t need to know about it!” Fine. Then consider the real possibility of a severe hypo that leaves you unable to assist yourself. Which is better for the kids, to panic in confusion, not having any idea that this could happen, standing there helpless as Mommy goes into convulsions? Or to teach them that if something like that starts to happen all they have to do is get Mommy a juice box or some glucose tabs and she’ll be fine?


Well said @Tim35!

@laceyma, IMHO my family and my dog are better than my Dexcom when it comes to lows. They always tell me to shut up and check my sugars, and usually as I am checking the Dexcom goes off. My 3 & 4 year old niece/nephew even know the signs of a low, especially since I get super grumpy the lower I get and have been unknowingly combative when under 30. I also believe that if your children understand the underlying problem, they will be better able to deal with the verbal/ mental issues and will depersonalize the outbursts. They will instinctively understand that Mommy/Daddy are not actually mad at them, but it’s the sugar talking - almost like dealing with and alcoholic. Knowledge is power!

Ironically this post from our sister site Beyond T1 just turned up in my feed:

BT1 can be a little chipper for my taste but this was so apt it seemed worth cross posting here.

Not diverge from the OT but I also feel compelled to mention that I find analogies to addiction/alcoholism in the context of T1 exceedingly problematic. Not clear if your therapist actually used the comparison but if it’s lurking there in the background… grrrrr.

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Just to clarify, husband’s pretty helpful like if I need help in the middle of the night or if my speech patterns change, at a lower than 60 blood sugar level. And he’s great with understanding diabetes medications and carb counting.

But if I get grumpy, he just doesn’t register that as a low symptom.

Our dog is the best at knowing if I’m off at all. She’s all over me sniffing if I have a hypo or hyper episode at home. Then we all know!

@El_Ver I think it’s interesting we both mentioned a comparison to alcohol when talking about hypoglycemia. You in the sense that family shouldn’t take the symptom personally, and me stating that a therapist said that the actions while symptomatic are the responsibility of the patient.

I wish that we weren’t compared to drunks at all. I know there are similarities in brain impairment, but I think it confuses people because you don’t accidentally get drunk. Though you do sometimes accidentally have hypoglycemia. It would be more helpful to be compared to a different illness like dementia patients or epileptics or I don’t know what else.

She did at least twice over a year of biweekly sessions.

She had done a lot of addiction studies with AA and ALNON, I found after meeting with her over several months.

And I think I mentioned marital issues arising when I had hypoglycemia and feeling guilty for that. Then my husband mentioned it in another marital session, because he thought hypoglycemia was a “truth serum” like alcohol and I’d admit things that I would normally hide under regular circumstances. Instead of what it actually is, a complete misfiring of neurons which distorts feelings and logic in diabetic patients.

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This is my hypo alert dog giving me the look to check my sugar. The pendant in his mouth is his primary hypo alert signal. That and a deadly serious stare. He’ll up the ante and start vocalizing if I don’t act and give him the food treat he knows he earned!

Sorry for veering somewhat off-topic. Parents of children with diabetes, especially teenagers, often observe when their children are paired with a hypo-alert dog that the dog raising the alert is treated better by the diabetic child than a parent asking, “Are you low?”


Not to go too far down this road, but one major difference that makes the analogy so offensively wrong: It. Feels. HORRIBLE. No one who has experienced it would ever try to repeat it on purpose for fun. People imagine getting demerol for a medical procedure or the like, and it’s absolutely nothing like that. It isn’t like getting drunk, it’s like someone is shutting your batteries off, one by one, you can feel yourself being shut down and you know you are going to die if they don’t stop. It is the opposite of pleasurable. There is no part of it that feels good. No one would take the stuff if they didn’t have to. Well, unless they wanted to kill themselves in a particularly unpleasant way. Sigh. Clearly I have had my conversations about this in Al Anon and other venues and it really pisses me off.

On a happier note, I’m much relieved and gladdened to hear your husband is generally helpful with all your other D stuff–that bodes well for you both. My wife of 40 years, including the 33 since I was diagnosed, is also very supportive, very helpful… and doesn’t really get it when lows make me not so much cranky but just kind of dim-witted, doing things backward, and then getting irritable and snippy about that (“Why did you put the laundry in the—” “Because I can’t think goddammit!”)

ETA: Here is a much more accurate analogy:

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I so understand and get your guilt when your low symptoms may cause pain/discomfort with family members. And while I am not your family member and don’t really have any place commenting, I do get it because I had these same issues. My husband felt I hated him because of the hateful things I would say when low. That was a huge stumbling block for us for a long while. But when I took him to a counselor who worked with just people and family who have diabetes. She helped him understand it wasn’t a deep seeded hatred, it was my brain screaming for food. He now understands but sometimes in the moment it is tough.
As to children, each is so very different and you know you children so much better than any of us. My oldest has always been completely on board. She in fact called the paramedics for me when she was on,y 5 and her baby brother 6 months old was in his crib. She tried calling Dad first at work but we forgot that important fact she needed to put a 1 in front of the number. Such a silly misstep. But she handled it beautifully and stayed calm throughout the whole situation. My children at a very early age were taught how to read my signs and what to do. My children and husband can be talking with me on the phone and know something is wrong. So amazing. They will tell me to hang up, test and call back in 15 minutes. And darn it, they are right every time. Your children will pick up on your symptoms and they will know when things are off. So if you think they are ready, they need to know. They are living with this disease as much as you and your husband are. Good luck and I always say, knowledge is power and your family deserves that knowledge also.


You are so right. It’s not just your diabetes but theirs, too!

Chemical changes in the brain… that’s how I describe my daughter’s low or high grumpiness to relatives. We have a close relative who can’t wrap her mind around diabetes and can’t see past my daughter’s grumpiness and so I just say… “her brain is being starved right now, she needs sugar or she needs insulin”… because really, both lows and super highs both are depriving the brain of glucose. It drives me crazy that even after I’ve explained it people can’t see beyond behaviour to something bigger that’s causing it.

And don’t feel guilty about your rant today, because I’ve been there done that and I don’t even have a good excuse! :slight_smile: Your kids know you love them and no one can be a perfect parent, but we can be good parents. And I would go back and explain it to them, say my brain was being starved and it makes me grumpy. Kids are awesome, they will understand.

As for teaching your kids about diabetes, I have four children ages 8 - 14 and I do sometimes wonder how much information to give a child that could either keep them safe or just scare them to death. Meaning, do I teach them how to stay safe if someone breaks into our home? Or would that scare them and make them worried all the time that someone might break in… lol! So maybe that’s what your husband is concerned about (wildly guessing here)… in teaching your kids to help you and recognize the signs, he doesn’t want them scared that something bad could happen to you. Like I said, I’m guessing. But in your case and in my humble opinion, your kids SHOULD know how to help you and it will make them feel more in control and kids love to help. All my kids, including my 8 year old know when my daughter is low and more often than not when she’s super crabby they ask me if she’s high. But I even feel comfortable leaving her for short periods of time with my 12 year old son (my D daughter is 10) because I know he would do the right thing and help her or get help for her.

I hope you and your family can figure this out.

@laceyma point taken. I don’t disagree with you, but it’s an easily understood comparison for a discussion with individuals having a common issue.

The “addict” analogy is odious and displays both a lack of understanding and empathy with someone who has a chronic condition.

Yes, I’m addicted to a hormone that helps transfer glucose from my bloodstream to the rest of my body. Everyone else is getting the “good stuff.” I’m stuck with this artificial crap!


I am very open about things with my grandkiddos as I expect them to be open with me. Secrets tend to make things bigger and scarier in a child’s imagination. Knowledge gives them power to fight those scary feelings. While I am pretty controlled, there are days…I am thankful that my grands know just what to do as they bring me my glucose when necessary. I have a good support system, but sometimes, truth be told, in the midst of some of the diabetes episodes of high or low, one truly feels alone as the battle for bg stability is waged.

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