How do you cope? What helps you make it through the day

I've had diabetes since I was 13. Thats 17 years ago in October. I really wanted to join this site because I recently took a diabetes class(my first in 17 years) to refresh the knowledge I got when I was diagnosed. It helped tremendously. I am having a problem however with stress. Stress highly effects my bloodsugars and I find myself often seeing a high and freaking out. Then I proceed to guilt myself over every little thing I did during the day..trying to figure out what caused this. I'm just wondering how people cope, what things do you tell yourself when you are having a bad day with the bloodsugars? What helps you to remember that you are not alone.
I really am looking forward to this site, and am excited to no longer isolate myself with this disease.

Welcome to TuD, Bunnydee! One of the advantages of breaking isolation is in understanding that we are all struggling with this condition. Some of us have it easier, some of us have it harder, but it's not simple for anyone.

For me I'm lucky that I wasn't diagnosed till much later in life. So I had done a lot of growing and learning of ways to cope with life long before my diagnosis and pretty much took it all in stride. I can't even imagine trying to deal with being a teenager at the same time as a D diagnosis!

The way I deal with it without freaking out is by recognizing that part of the very nature of Type 1 is variability of numbers. So if my numbers are mostly good with occasional excursions way up and way down I'm ok with it. The numbers don't define me. I do my best and when things go haywire I don't feel like it's my fault. I try and figure out if there is a pattern - something I need to tweak. If there is, cool. If not, then I just chalk it up to the D gremlins and go on.

I'm not great with stress in general, but because I'm not great with it, I know I need to work at it. When I'm stressed I prioritize what I need to deal with and what I can let go.I take extra care of myself, get good sleep and eat well. Then I do the things that make me relax: breathe (always useful!), muscle stretches, getting out in nature, music, etc. Life isn't always easy, but so many things give me pleasure, and I remind myself of these when I'm feeling discouraged or stressed.

I think the biggest thing for me, has been simply JOINING this site. We ALL have bad days, and you know coming here and seeing that others experience the same thing, have the same challenges just kinda makes you feel you are NOT alone.

You learn so much from others on this site, ways they manage and control blood glucose levels, what they find works and doesn't. We bounce ideas off each other, and we all keep going on. I think you are really in a great place. This site is very supportive, and you realize you are not alone in this.

Thank you so much Zoe! I cannot say enough how much this has helped me, just to hear a few simple and wonderful things from someone who understands. My parents don't have diabetes. Nor do any of my friends, so sometimes when I talk about my history with the illness and my issues with it they cannot quite get it. Reading your line "I don't let the numbers define me." Made me breath easier. Need to teach myself to breath better and just not hate myself for every little thing.
thanks again for your wonderful response.

Thanks so much Christy. I put off joining a place like this for so long out of nervousness. Until the isolation and feeling alone after the class I took got to be too much...
I'm looking forward to meeting people on here and helping to support.

I was going to post, bunnydee a suggestion that finding a group of Type 1's nearby would be so helpful as it has been for me, and then I saw where you're located! I started a Type 1 Women's Group in Berkeley two years ago, and I've moved up north to the mountains but the group is still going strong. It's an amazing group of women, all ages, all lengths of diagnosis, so supportive and fun! If you're interested, the next monthly meeting is on 8/18. Send me a friend message with your e-mail and I'll send it to the mailing list for the group!

I've had db for going on 39 years and some moderate complications. I am currently in a phase of feeling like I can't stand it for ONE MORE SECOND, but know that these times have happened before and they always pass.
One thing that I always promise myself is to test 4x per day. Even if my eating is all messed up and I'm not exercising, if I test, things seem to avoid a total disaster.
"Bad" or "good" numbers really don't affect my mood much. They're just information that tells you what to do next.
I hate this disease. It's outrageously difficult to deal with while trying to also squeeze in some regular living. But, it's all we've got, and tomorrow holds it's own new promise.

Hi Bunnydee,

I was going to post something similar on this as I wonder how on earth people handle all this stress. I don't find being diagnosed later in life has helped me as I was very healthy for the most part and I took really good care of myself and now having all of this happen so suddenly has been a tremendous stress in spite of the fact everyone keeps saying I'm handling this so well, I don't feel well yet. I went from good health, except for chronic pain which I had learned to manage very well, to a disaster. Now I feel like my whole day revolves around worrying about my bg and will I pass out or not etc. or whether I will wake up the next day. It seems like whenever I start to think about something else, all of a sudden I have a low or high and all of a sudden I need to focus on only that.

I think I'm starting to get burned out after only about 3 months with all of this. I'm not sure how emotions/stress affect my bg yet or if at all. I do seem to go low when I have been really stressed out some times though which I think is the opposite of most people, but usually it is too much insulin or exercise sensitivity and too little carbs, or some other reaction I don't understand, like my body just takes over.

Today I had a bad day - I freak out too when I see a high number. I don't think that makes me go higher though, although there was one instance just before my diagnosis where I was very stressed out, my heart was pounding and I went into DKA directly after that, the next day I know now.

I was at a doctor's appointment today waiting with a bunch of people when I saw the high and I just started testing to see what was up and eventually, when someone brought me my insulin which I had forgotten at home, I started correcting. I eventually figured out my basal insulin was pooped out.

I told my doc I was freaked out by this high, it said 147, but it was prolly lower as the next reading said 119, but then it went higher again. He said he thought I was going to say it was over 300 or something, so maybe I am overeacting, lol. But I really don't want to go higher than 120 or so ever again and I don't want to stay there for too long.

Anyway, I think joining here has helped me a lot- I have had so much help and it has helped to see other people's experiences. I hope to find a real life support group soon too.

Welcome and I hope sharing my current experiences helps a bit :)

Coming onto this site. Interacting with people who "speak the language." It's hard sometimes because I can go through a whole day and not discuss all the stuff I have to go through diabetes-wise with anyone. But the internal monologue is always running through my head and it can be exhausting. My family understands (to a point), but there are really certain things that only other people with T1 can understand....the fear, the frustration, the hilarious parts.

Sometimes when I'm having a bad day, I will remind myself that I have all the tools I need to deal with this. That it may not be perfect, but I have the tools. And sometimes I have to just let a bad number or bad day go and start anew the next day.

I try to think that numbers aren’t good or bad, they are data. If a number isn’t where you want it to be, it still helps inform you about what had gotten it there and may, if you can work to collect your data somehow, help you do a good job both fixing it and, if the data suggests, making changes to get a number that is closer to where you want it. This can be an enormous process and is full of possibility for “oops” moments but try to feel good about the correction process, tweak your inputs and try again in 2-4 hours at your next test!

I add my welcome, bunnydee, and agree with Zoe that his site will help you see that we all struggle. It always helps me to know I am not alone.

OK, stress. When you get into flee or fight mode (stress,)your body will release chemicals to give you the strength to run away or fight, just like the cavemen. This will raise your blood glucose, just like eating candy. So a high BG during a stressful time is normal. You can either walk away from the stress (OK, I know) OR chase it with insulin (carefully) OR let it ride AND be fully aware that the high is not your fault!

As far as coping goes, there are psychologists who deal specifically with people who have a chronic illness. Years back, I was about done with diabetes and found a psycologist to talk to a few times. It really helped, justas participating here will help.

I want to thank everyone for their wonderful responses. It really is helping a ton to know that there are others out there(which I always knew but was too afraid to venture out into the world to look) I don't feel so isolated, and reading that others too have these same issues is helping me cope. I look forward to being a part of such a wonderful community and I will probably also look into a psychologist who can help with this sort of thing. I know in my last class over last week one of the dietitians we met with individually was a type 1. It just made me feel when she was talking to me like she understood the deep frustrations we all go through.
thank you everyone for your warm and helpful responses.

I can commiserate with many of the posters here. I get to a point where I can't stand another minute of dealing with this (I'm having one of those days today), but then I consider what the alternative is. I'm not ready to leave this world just yet. Try not to stress about it too much and enjoy what you can of your life. As they say, the numbers, whether high or low, are just information to get you through the next basal/bolus. Try not to beat yourself up over it. Just when I think that dealing with diabetes and it's complications has to be the worst ever thing for a person to have to go through, I'm reminded that I could have it a lot worse. I don't have terminal cancer and I can expect to live many more years. Just remember, you are not alone. There are thousands of people also dealing with this every single day of their lives. Best of luck with it. T1 27 years and counting.

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I spent the first 37 years of my diabetic life pretty much isolated. I didn't grow up going to diabetic camp or even know another diabetic until I started working with one. Since I joined this site in June I have learned so much. The biggest thing I have learned is we all have to work hard to control D and the vast majority of the people in our lives have absolutely no idea how difficult a task that is. There are no PWD in my family tree, no type 1's or 2's. If I am having a bad day with my blood sugars, I know it's just 1 day, I have tomorrow to work on it. In fact this morning I stupidly took 14 units of humalog instead of 14 units of lantus. I could have beaten myself up over it, but it certainly wouldn't have helped anything. So I defrosted a bagel and consumed 47 grams of carbs in one sitting - yikes ! But it did the trick and I managed to not go low. I was really proud of that,granted I was really pissed at myself for being so stupid, and I will make sure it doesn't happen again, but I learned from it. Whatever you do, don't beat yourself up as everyone here has said, a number is a number, it's just data to learn from and tomorrow is another day.

If you have full-blown Type 1 diabetes and are going to beat yourself up over any BG readings over 120, you’re going to have a very stressful and guilt-laden life. There are many good tools to help us control our Type 1, but perfection is never attainable. Good readings are a lot more than controlling carbs and taking insulin. When you produce no insulin, everything and anything can affect your BG. Food, insulin, hormones, exercise, stress, and many other factors that can’t be quantified can have a different effect on your BG from day to day.

So it’s great to have goals, but don’t let them determine the success or happiness of your life. As Acidrock says, they’re just numbers.

Hey Clare,

thanks so much for this it really did help to read another bit from someones life. Being isolated seems to lead to this weird limbo feeling for me. I've tried to speak to my family about it but usually I just bottle it up and then I after months and months or years of not saying anything about it for awhile I burst into tears. I never went to diabetic camp either, I also just like you have no type 1's or 2's in my family. I've been trying to figure out my optimal lantus dose for the last week. Trying things, tweaking. Having good days and really bad ones. I had been going super low at night which was freaking my doctors out(going down into the 30s in some cases) so I'm working on that. I'm glad that you figured out what you did wrong and took care of it! Going low can be quite draining and scary. Thanks again for all that you said, these responses are really making me feel welcomed and finally with my peers.

totally agree with this and have been bringing that idea into my day to day. I have never been perfect, I want to make goals that can be reached. Thanks Lathump.

Do you split the lantus dose ? I used to take 30 units every night at 9 pm. My A1C's were never below 7.5. I finally decided that I was certainly capable of more and decided to experiment. Now I take 14 units in the morning and 13 or 14 at night. My A1C's have gone down to 6.1 and my last was 6.4. For many of us, lantus does not act exactly as it says on the package or in their advertising, it does not last 24 hours so I have found a split dose works for me. Your optimal lantus dose may not be a constant number either, it may depend a lot on your exercise or activity levels during the day. I know if I am playing golf I take a few units less in the morning before heading to the course. But as in everything in D, your experience may vary.

I forgot to add, going low, if you're hypo-unaware as I am, can be deadly. I have been perfectly lucid, literally talking to the ambulance attendant at 28 and not felt low at all. Now that is scary !

thanks lathump,

I assume you're replying to me here...

I don't beat myself up over a high but I do get upset because I know at 140 and above you can start to have organ damage and I also don't feel well at that number or above. And I also try to do something about it now such as cautiously correct it.

Whether it's possible to keep myself under 120 all the time I don't know, of course there are going to be times when I will jump up and it will be out of my control, but I want them to be few and far between. When I went on a low carb diet I immediately saw a change in overall stability and in lowering my spikes. I think from what I have read that keeping your bg as close as possible to a normal range is the best thing you can do for yourself.

I don't know what full blown is exactly, but I am in my honeymoon currently and I am VERY sensitive to insulin and to just about everything else apparently, I have always been that way. I think I am still producing my own insulin at times due to various reactions I had when bolusing / eating etc. and my insulin needs are dramatically lower now than when I was in dka/hospital. They are 1/3 of what I needed then.