Hypoglycemic Fantasies

Technically, what are normally called the ‘complications’ of diabetes are more accurately termed its ‘late sequelae,’ but hypoglycemic episodes are a true complication of the treatment of diabetes. Patients often report bizarre fantasies during these episodes, and I have often thought it would be interesting to produce a book with accounts of various hypoglycemic imaginings, such as has been done with LSD episodes. I am sure many patients have a single hypoglycemic hallucination which stands out as their most interesting.

My strangest one came after I had rolled out of a couch in the living room and was startled to find that the living room was now appeared to be the size of a high school gymnasium. My two small dogs were running around, but they looked to me to be mechanical imitations of real dogs, so I wondered where my actual dogs had gone. I stumbled to the front door and noticed that some exams had been delivered for me to grade, but I imagined that they had been lying on the floor for decades while I slept, so that there would be no point in grading them now. I opened the door and saw cars driving by, which I assumed were incredibly modern, high-tech innovations which had been developed during the many decades I had been asleep.

Then, in real life, I suddenly fell over, breaking my hip, and watched helplessly as one of my dogs ran down the stairs and out onto the sidewalk, but luckily he turned around and came back in. I dragged myself back into the house and looked for a phone to call for help, but they were all too high for me to reach. Fortunately there was a spare computer on the floor, which I used to email someone for help.

I don’t ever hallucinate when low and I’ve been low over 5,000 times. My dreams are always pretty weird, though! LOL! (and I mean even when my nighttime bgs are normal).

When I have had very bad lows when sleeping, the dreams always turn into nightmares that involved variations of infinity. Infinite loops, infinite meanderings, never-ending repeating cycles of whatever I am caught in. I can never get out. The dreams are consistent.

I do think it’s interesting how hypoglycemia affects everyone so differently. I have woken up with a blood sugar below 2, and while it is not a good feeling I am completely aware of what is going on and able to treat myself. I have a close relative however who can be in the low 3s, completely unaware of what’s going on and requires assistance. I don’t think it’s the severity of the low as in 12 years it’s always been this way for me no matter how low I am. I wonder why this is and if there has been any research into why some people are more impaired by hypos than others.

Patients can tolerate lower levels of blood sugar if they are more acclimatized to them due to frequent lows, or if they have fallen to that low level from a lower starting point, since the change in values has a lot to do with the degree of disturbance of consciousness.

Funny you mention this… Just last night I had a dream about a nasty Hypo and having EMS help me as I collapsed. Thank goodness it was just a dream.

I guess I feel lucky as my type 1 set in only 2 years ago. Modern meters and a CGM prescription on the same day as my basal prescription has allowed me to have really great control (5.4-5.6 a1c)without ever experiencing a truly nasty hypo.

I’m so sorry to hear about your broken hip, Though I’m glad to hear you managed to get help and didn’t have any issues with your doggie.

My hypoglycemic “fantasies” have always happened when I’m completely unconscious and they either involve falling or having something on me that I can’t get off.

The weirdest one happened when I was about 6 years old and in my “dream” I was hanging off the edge of a cliff wearing a blanket tied around my neck like a cape and pretty much the entire Justice League was standing over me with their arms folded refusing to help (and looking extremely disapproving). The extra weird thing was that I didn’t even watch Justice League, didn’t have the comic books and even my brothers hadn’t done either of those things (as far as I remember we mostly watched Pokemon).

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I don’t have fantasies when I’m low.

A few years back I had an instance where my vision changed a bit while I was low. Everything converted into geometric shapes and the colors became much more vivid. It was actually really awesome. My brain wasn’t thinking clearly, and even though I knew I was low, I didn’t think I needed to treat it. I was enjoying seeing the world in a whole different way.

That’s the only time I’ve had an experience like that though.

So sorry to hear of your hip… praying all is right now… and so glad also that your doggie came back… I’ve got two like that , they don’t come back… Thank God I live 320 feet off the busy country road. ( they are chipped and almost ALWAYS have their collars on with names and phone number)… but wouldn’t matter if they were hit by a vehicle. Again, so glad all turned out okay! My only nightmare is I see a very large black spider that looks like it’s moving up and down in slow mo just out of reach… I’ve tried to catch it MANY times… but haven’t succeeded yet ! LOL

From what I have experienced myself and heard from others, most hypoglycemic fantasies are of irritating, persistent, intractable, bizarre puzzles that must be solved but can’t be. Once I saw the room resolved into black and white shapes of various sizes and I felt that I had to concentrate to focus them into some coherent pattern or else something awful was going to happen. I kept being able to see them in some arrangement but then losing it again and having to start over. People were in fact in the room trying to help restore my blood sugar level at the time, but I was just irritated at them for not understanding that the essential problem was figuring out how to solve this visual puzzle.

I suspect that hypoglycemia gives us an insight into how the most primitive levels of consciousness, striped down by the lack of glucose for adequate metabolism, see the artificial challenges constructed by the objective world of human conventions around us: a vastly irritating puzzle that has to be solved but can’t be.

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I go through stages with mine. A few years ago I noticed I would see incredible artwork on everything I looked at. It would happen at night and during the day. It would be anything from a Picasso looking painting to pale flowers all over. It was truly an amazing sight. When it would happen at night, I would wake up, no realizing I was low, look at my phone and my phone screen would look crazy. Like a Picasso painting. My hubby would tell me my blood sugar was low and go get me some orange juice. LOL… but a lot of times I would do a screen shot of my phone so I could show him what it looked like in the morning. It always looked normal. But I realized when I started seeing patters on faces, streets, sidewalks, my blood sugar would be about 40. LOL. One day we were having an big Arts for All festival in my town. My mom and I were driving to park. I noticed gigantic, beautiful flowers painted all over everything. I thought the folks putting the Festival on had done it. I asked my mom if she saw it, she said no but we need to eat lunch. LOL. I miss seeing it. Maybe someday I could paint what I saw. It was always really pretty cool. So glad to find out I’m not alone in these things. BTW, I’ve been a type 1 for almost 35 years.

Very interesting thread. It makes sense that for thousands of years shamans used induced hypoglycemia by fasting to achieve altered states of consciousness. My own episodes (which were much less intense than many of you guys) often produce hypnogogic imagery that is 3D real.