My long time boyfriend has diabetes, how can I be there for him?

Here’s my story. Jeff and I have been dating since the summer before my last year of high school. I’m now 24, and we are still together. (So it’s been about seven years now.) The fourth year into our relationship he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.

Our relationship from the get go was amazing. We giggled like two best childhood friends and wanted nothing but to see and be with each other always. Truely in love. However, since diabetes has come into the picture, things have gone a little stale.

Jeff often feels overwhelmed by life. He worries a lot, and I can see he is frustrated with himself, me, and life in general. He gets very angry now, he throws objects at the ground and slams his hands on his desk. He is an incredibly gentle person, so this is out of character for him.

When I ask him if he is high or low, he abruptly shouts, NO. Sometimes his mood swings are unbearable.

I’m completely in love with this man, when diabetes hasn’t overtaken his beautiful personality… when I have my Jeffy back… I am relieved, and know that the angry, depressed person isn’t really who he is.

However, I am frustrated. …What can I do for him? His depression, I talk him through it and give him suggestions and try to cheer him up. But I feel like he needs something more.

Is there anyone else out there who knows what I mean? Feels my situation? What about a resource for a devoted girlfriend? Am I ignorant to his situation? His needs? What can I do for him?

I want to be there for him. I am scared for him.

Sometimes when he is sleeping so still, I panic, and I quickly touch him to make sure he is alright. I worry about his diabetes suddenly taking him away from me, and I worry about his depression causing him to think irrationally, causing him to make a poor decision.

Please, is there anyone out there that can give me some advice about coping with diabetes/depression… any resource out there for people like me to talk?

Thanks. I needed to get this out.

Kiko. Let me ask you…has Jeff been in touch with any other diabetics since his diagnosis? Also, how is his control of his disease?

It takes one to know one, and guess what?..you just found your way to 4000 diabetics that can possibly help.

Get Jeff on this site. He needs to know that he’s not alone, and that we all go through the same old BS. He can make it through this and he will end up a much stronger person for your relationship. For me, this site is all I needed to turn things around.

You are brave, Kiko, for coming here and opening up. It must be frustrating for you, but I really think Jeff just needs to pow wow with others just like him.

Things will get better I promise.

Jeff’s contacts are his older sister and my coworker. Both are type 1 diabetics, near his age level. It always seems like he loves talking about diabetes with them, because he can compare what he is feeling, and relate his burden to theirs.

I would say his control is good. He checks himself at least 5-6 times a day as recommended. His greatest frustration is that he feels hindered by his reliance to medicine. He even tacks on the fact that he wears glasses. He just wishes he didn’t always have to live life so carefully, anally. Where’s my glasses? Where’s my kit? ect ect ect…

I’ll ask him to take a look at the site. I don’t know how keen he will be on it, I think he doesn’t like to remind himself that he has diabetes. He told me once that he doesn’t like using his diabetes as a crutch.

At any rate. Ty for the kind words. Girlfriends need help with coping, too! It’s so hard to sit by and watch your loved one deal with this disease. We don’t know first hand what it is like… and it makes you feel helpless. :frowning:

The fact that Jeff is really taking care of his diabetes (i.e. not in denial about it) is great, especially if he is doing this while being really frustrated with it…

I’m with Dino, knowing other diabetics is key. Makes you feel normal. It’s great that he likes to talk to his sister and your co-worker about it… I can definitely relate to enjoying conversations with real live diabetics. I think you should encourage him to continue those talks with them or this online community… mostly he needs to vent. Also, I think if you let him complain, that is really healthy.

For example, I have diabetes and I manage it fairly well. But there are still days where I get incredibly frustrated and shed tears over all the crap that I have to do to try to live a healthy life. But the next day, I wake up and I just keep on going… cause we have to. It’s a 24 hour a day job and it can wear on you. So it sounds like Jeff needs to vent his frustrations… and the best thing that you can do is help him find ways to do that.

Even if he is not keen on joining an online community (I wasn’t at first either…), you can encourage him to read some blogs in the diabetes online community. If you find people that write in a way that he could relate to, then even just reading those blogs might help-- reminding him that he is not alone! Every member here has a blog on their profile page or check out www.diabetesdaily.com.

Wish you all the best! And thanks for caring :slight_smile: We all need someone who cares…

Hi Kiko,
I totally agree with all the messages you have just received. Everyone has already said all the thngs i would say. You are an amazing and perceptive person. and i am so glad Jeff has you in his life. You have 4000 of us here in this family and we are all here for both of you. We are WITH you.

They say it’s just like a greiving process. And by talking to others, he is doing the right thing.
I know that when I am having a bad day, etc, I hate it when people ask me if my blood sugar is high or low! Sometimes I’m just having a bad day. But I understand your concern and since blood sugars can cause the mood swings, you are right in asking him.
I have been a diabetic for so long (since I was 4) that I didn’t have my frustration moments until I was well into college and even right after. I hadn’t discovered the diabetes online community yet, so I didn’t know how to deal with it. I eventually did get through it, but having supportive people around made it easier and will make it easier for him.

Kiko,
Welcome to our family…you have come to the right place!

If you think Jeff might not be keen on joining us here, perhaps you could encourage your coworker or his sister to join and then in turn he may follow. Just a thought… Sounds like Jeff is doing the right things but it can get so frustrating having to follow the same routine day in and day out. It seems like everything we do must constantly be planned around diabetes.

I can only tell you that his moods & depression are normal and you shouldn’t take it personally. Just continue to offer your love and support…if you feel he needs space, give it to him; go do something for YOU!

Jeff is truly fortunate to have such a sensitive, loving soul mate. Frustrating & scary for you:( Diabetic mood swings are no picnic for you either.

I know how hard this is on my husband. He’s one of those people who has to fix problems. The type who doesn’t usually say “I don’t know.” He’s got to find a solution, an answer or make things better in some way. Well, no solution for this situation. He’s also a worrier. I know he checks me while I’m sleeping to be sure I’m alive, as you do with Jeff. Diabetes weighs heavy on him, in some ways more so than it does me.

I had to tell him to stop fussing & worrying & asking me constantly how I was feeling. Drove me nuts, even though I know it was because he loves me. I also had to tell him that sometimes I’m just in a crappy mood without it having to do with diabetes:)

He’s learned that when I’m low & cranky, not to even suggest that I’m low. He just hands me something to eat & gets out of the way!

The best thing Tim did was to ask me what I needed of him. Now of course that means that I had to have an answer & that took some serious thinking.

I don’t want anyone to attempt to cheer me up, or offer suggestions when I’m depressed, but that’s just me. I find it annoying. What helps me is for someone to just acknowledge that I’m down & that it’s understandable. That’s all I want.

Anger & depression go hand-in-hand of course, which sadly you’re seeing in your beloved Jeff. You’re not being at all ignorant to his situation. But, it’s something that Jeff has to come to terms with. You can offer your love & support, but you can’t do it for him.

Hope that Jeff does find more people to talk with. Glad you found us because you need hugs & support, too!

i know because i’m type1 and manic depressive, better known as bipolar. I tend toward the manic side, and my moods can be very high strung and intense, even though i never miss a dose of my psych meds. the best thing for you to do is not see diabetes and mood swings as coming between you. it is what it is, and this is a very difficult thing to deal with and it is not fun. don’t take anything personally because it isn’t intended to be. diabetes and chemical imbalance is like TNT, i often feel like i’m stuck in a bad dream and can’t wake up out of it. what you describe reminds me so much of myself, i am often unfair to my girlfriend but my behavior is affected by either hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia and she understands that. i try to control it the best i can, and i tell her that i know it isn’t ok for me to be nasty to her, and she knows my character defects and loves me anyway. you think his mood swings are unbearable, but for him it’s much worse. it sucks. all i can say is in order for things to work there has to be sacrifice and compromise. you have to realize that there’s nothing for you to be frustrated about, he needs lots of room to deal with the roller coaster of diabetes. there are no awards for putting up with anything. this is no picnic, it is life threatening and extremely complicated. we all go thru similar b.s. but every individual is different and what works for one person won’t necessarily work for the next. you’re not the one who needs to cope with diabetes and depression, he needs support of other diabetics, and while these needs of his are tended to you need to tend to your needs. how is your health? if he sees you being positive and persevering then you’re doing everything you can do. the rest is up to him and nobody can do it for him. always keep glucose tabs with you for hypos, and get a glucagon kit which you would need if he were to have a severe hypo and is unconscious. this will save his life. other than that he has to learn how to cope with it and you can’t let it be frustrating to you.

Thank you for this :slight_smile:

Thanks for this, it’s really nice to read about testimonials. I’ve taken the “letting him complain” suggestion to heart. Who doesn’t want that?

I’ll try and get him on here. This community is so healthy, polite, and respectful!

Thank you!

This is a good way to think about his situation. It seems like others have explained how they don’t like to be ‘asked about their sugar levels’ in relation to their mood. I’ll keep that in mind from now on.

I’ll try to get him on here, I’m so impressed with the amount of support on this site!

Thank you

Thank you for this, it was refreshing to read. You’ve pretty much pegged how he feels from day to day, and I appreciate the remark about not taking his depression personally. Honestly that’s the hardest part.

Thank you for this, I appreciate your testimonial. I really found this comment relevant and hope to apply it to my situation. Aka: not bothering him about his levels, just trying to understand, giving him something to nibble on and letting him vent it out.

I agree that Jeff needs to come to terms with his diabetes. This community seems so responsive and kind. I’ll definitely ask him to take a look!

Glad you found it useful. The problem with trying to help someone when they’re in an angry state is that all their pent up anger gets directed at you as a convenient target, as you know. Not pleasant at all!

I know how difficult this is for you. Loving someone & wanting to be there & help when they’re not being particularly responsive is so frustrating. I think people dealing with a chronic condition, especially one like diabetes that requires constant self-monitoring, can easily become self-absorbed. Not saying Jeff is, of course, but it’s a pitfall.

We can’t change anyone’s behavior, only our own.

Hi everyone

I would like to ask Kiko how Jeff is doing now since it’s been long from the time you had sent your message.

My boyfriend has been diagnosed with diabetes and he completely does not want to talk about it and hence, I’m not even sure what type he has been diagnosed with.

We have been together for more than two years and he has been amazing, my biggest cheerleader and best friend. Upon his diagnosis, we had a fall out and this led to our break up but it was nothing really significant that caused the break up. I’ve pleaded, I’ve begged and he told me he needed space of which I understood but the character was just off, it was unlike him. He seemed so cold and it was just unlike him. I even started wondering if there was someone else.

He has been with me through the toughest times of my life and I feel like I’ve let him down cause I can’t be with him through this.

It’s almost two months since the break up, though he checks up on me almost everyday and I have a son from a previous relationship whom he still picks up on a daily basis to take to school. My heart hurts everytime when I see him and I feel like I have fallen more for him.

Another important part is, his dad passed away due to the same condition about 5years ago, due to some complications. He died in his arms and he still has not gotten over the loss.

I’ve been trying to understand him on my own, but couldn’t figure it out as I’ve never been around someone with any chronic illness before.
How do I deal with this? I’m not ready to give up on him, on us and I’ve fallen into depression too myself because of the turn of events.

Do i let him go or just keep waiting on him? How do I help him, because I feel so indebted. He has been my rock through the roughest times I’ve had to encounter.

He has only told his mother and myself about the condition and he refuses for us to talk about it or to tell anyone about it. I had told his cousin about it so that he may be checking after him since we’ve broken up and when he found out, he got so angry with me, said unpleasant things and even cried. That’s when I felt like I needed to learn more about diabetes, if it could be the reason of him acting out of character or simply fell out of love for me of which he said he still loves me.

Please advise me

Welcome @Fancy
I don’t think you’ll hear from @Kiko because it’s been 11 years since she’s visited the site. I’m very sorry about your situation, the only suggestion I can make is that Jeff needs to see a psychologist or therapist.

@Fancy did start a new thread under Advice Needed!

Just give them time.

I still cant stand people offering me food. No I don’t want to try some of your chocolate cake or apple pie leave me alone !!!

I don’t want to go to a restaurant and pick apart the menu either looking for the one thing in 20 that’s not a carb overload. I hate restaurants. 2 hours the whole theme is food all I want to do is forget about diabetes and blood sugar. Takes up enough space in my head already.

Its a lot for a dude to suddenly loose, looking for the words… Self reliance.

Now its doctor appointments and pharmacists with bad attitudes.

We may or may not tell you how it feels when our buddies are pounding beers having a good time but now its how many carbs in the stupid beer vs how much is the alcohol going to drop my sugar levels ?

#8$% everything and everyone !!! Sick of this !

Here, maybe this will explain the behaviors

Search Q = stages of grief and loss illness

Takes a wile to get to acceptance. I still enter the anger and depression stages but I am almost there.