Responses to Loved Ones

This is what I was going to write, but @MM1 beat me to it. One of the things that I would raise is that hypoglycemia impairs the brain, including social skills and politeness. If I am really low, I would request loved ones to get some quick acting glucose, place it directly in my line of sight and say something like, “You’re acting low, eat/drink this!”

As @Michelle43 said, asking questions of someone in the throes of hypoglycenia is confusing, irritating, and most of all, ineffective. The time for questions is after the event.

Loved ones need to be reminded that when you’re low, you are not yourself. Request that they please discount any hurtful things you might say.


I would! I need new ammo… :blush:


Thanks Michelle43, I always cringe at the, “What did you do to cause this?” responses.

Ugh, so sorry you have had to hear those words. I detest those responses too!

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I do appreciate this but please understand that lows are unavoidable especially with tight glucose control. I hate this as much as we all do but unfortunately even with excellent care and help of cgm’s and closed loops we will still get lows. I think this thought confuses my parents and boyfriend even more because now I get, “Isn’t this thing supposed to turn off?” Haha

People have kind of this standard model of a disease as something you get treatment for and then you’re better. So we’re getting treatment—insulin—so why aren’t we better? “Oh, you still have that? I thought you were taking something for it” is the assumption. If your medication isn’t working, maybe it’s not the right stuff, or the diagnosis isn’t right, or whatever, but there must be something you can do about it. You can explain why that that model doesn’t fit this disease, and while you’re talking the other person will kinda-sorta get it, but it’s hard for them to set aside the default way of thinking about this sort of thing. And what really throws the monkey wrench in is that, except in the relatively rare case of DKA, if we’re having symptoms it isn’t the disease that’s causing them, it’s the treatment.

In my experience that’s the hardest thing for people to get their heads around, even if they are relatively informed about health matters in general. So you get things like, “If you eat that cake, are you gonna pass out?” from otherwise intelligent people because the assumption is that if you have a disease, it’s the disease that’s the problem, not the stuff you’re taking to make you better. And it’s no help that this confusion is reinforced in countless films and tv shows by our favorite trope, “That Diabetic’s Gonna Need A Shot!”

Maybe a good analogy to use would be that from the day you’re diagnosed and for the rest of your life, you’ve been sentenced to be a tightrope walker, even though you were never trained for it, and you’re never allowed down off the rope. You’re always teetering back and forth, and over time you get better at it, because you have to, and you have tools to help, kinda like how real tightrope walkers have that pole they use to help them keep their balance. But unlike them you never ever ever ever get to take a break, climb down and just walk along the road like anyone else. And no one, not even the best tightrope walker in the world, could stay up there for every single moment of their lives without occasionally losing their balance. It’s just not possible. So even though we work at it really hard, we’re going to wobble or get blown off every once in a while. There’s just no human way to avoid it.


Thats ultra frustrating. Do you have any real life friends with chronic illness that you can vent to? They come HIGHLY recommended. Even if they aren’t diabetics - anybody with chronic illness may have a better understanding without every little thing needing explanation. I think its useful to seek those people out. You need them. You sound like u have some anti-support group people around you. In my late thirtys, I have very few of those people left around. I have gotten rid of them, although that might sound severe. I am much happier now.

I found it useful to become a volunteer EMT, because they are naturally pretty good, understanding people to have around. I do lots of art exhibits related to health and illness. Find some way to establish a community around you that accepts you and the additional challenges you face. You may need people who are tougher than most because you, yourself are. Seek out people who have overcome challenges. Those are your people. The people who condemn you are probably not the type who would survive in your shoes. They are weak and should have your pity.

Maybe you need some type of a man if your life (maybe not a boyfriend), but a male friend to tell those people to go to hell. That really helps - a disapproving stare from an intimidating male friend. I wish we could hire one for you. Have you been to any diabetes meetups around town? Do you have those? I forget, are you in CA?

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Thats why its your job to educate them, while you’re not low.
You also have the right to choose how tight you want your control, and may influence frequency. That’s your decision, and the consequences you need to balance.

Continue to try and help them understand, maybe explaining the long term benefits of tight control, but happen to be offset by the lows.

Personally, I keep slightly higher targets than what a non-diabetic has, to enjoy a more normal routine less impacted by frequent lows. Not sure what your goals are, and frequency of low events. You need to find your balance, and works with the people you love.

I like to say yes you are right.

I would say: “Every time I have a low blood sugar my life is at risk. I value my life too much to take chances with it for something so petty as getting attention. If I really want attention I will choose a safer method like streaking- that would get me a whole lot of attention with less risk to my life. So until the day comes that I’m running down the street naked, let’s just assume that I’m perfectly happy with the attention I’m getting and that my hypoglycemia is truly a medical concern.”

“Oh yes, I just love having cute paramedics come and hover over me when I’m not looking or acting my best, treating me like the QUEEN that I am. It is so much fun!!” (Just in case you don’t realize…sarcasm)

“Really? You really think this is fun for me to being dealing with this and then hear how I’m using this to get attention? If I was blind and deaf would you accuse me of wanting attention when I need help with something? Why do you think it is any different with diabetes? Trust me, if I wanted to stand out in a crowd, I wouldn’t want it to be for my diabetes.”


Wow DrBB, this is the absolute best explanation I’ve ever read.

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:joy: I loved this, thank you.

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Or how about in a movie (or even in real life) when someone asks if you need insulin because you are hypo. sigh.


Or when they ask what you need for a hypo and you reply candy or food and they try to give you something that’s sugar free or diet coke :rofl:. Of course my entire family knows exactly what to do in any situation where I actually need help but acquaintances often don’t have a clue.

To the OP though I find it odd that people who know you well are accusing you of using your lows for attention when really all most any of wants is to not be low anymore without having a rebound high. Low and high bg’s have a big impact on my personality and my physical well being ie; headache, tiredness, cranky, emotional. Maybe they need a refresher on what lows and highs actually make you feel like.

I just try to manage it myself now because family is useless, even detrimental at times, especially when I’m actually in a bad low. Although at other times they are asking how is bg etc and are sympathetic to my long stories of a crash etc. I shut my basal off, drink the sugar etc. and test away, lie down etc if it’s bad, rest if milder. My cat Wiz was the best, my current kitty, not so much, he is more self centered but he can be very supportive too.


Thanks @Firenza, I’m pleased to note this morning that I have been fortunate enough to step back from this person and move on. I’m grateful for a close family support team!

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As I’m thankful for my bull boxer Rocco, he can sense when I’m not feeling well and tries to console me (unless he is really salivating over my low blood sugar treat). :joy:

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I hate the judgement. Mine are not with lows, but with highs. Anytime my parents come over to my home or I go there, I am super conscious of what I eat. My dad, who can lose weight by thinking about losing weight and does not have sugar issues, is the most unhelpful. My dear mother made me a cake for my last birthday. She worked really hard, and I, as a diabetic was prepared given the face that it was my birthday and assumed we were having cake. I knew what I was doing. My dad gave my mom a really hard time for making THAT cake for a DIABETIC. How dare she? I felt really bad for my mom. I was disgusted he thought he had to police my birthday meal. Ultimately, however, I really believe he is just worried about me. But geez, find a different way to show it :slight_smile:

We know our bodies best. I think most people are acting from a place of concern and lack of knowing what to do. They want to help, but they don’t know how. They offer suggestions that are not usually appreciated, because again, we are the experts, not them.

I feel like I’m rambling, making arguments for both sides, but it can be complicated. Especially with family who are already complicated…eye roll


Navigating the landscape of a close relationship was a lonely trek in the beginning. 18 years ago, at the age of 40, I became T1D and for the first few years, I felt I had to hide my lows because the reactions of family members felt too extreme. But hiding it was never right for my condition nor fair to my wife. Clear, honest, and open communication is the only way to right relationship. I’m still working at this continuing challenge. It’s difficult sometimes, but at least the two of us are on the same path.


Now obviously we know as type 1’s that this is not the case

As usual, I am fascinated by the trouble Elyssia Reedy took to add those three words. I am also aware of what my first professor of logic would have said about them, that they are added to distinguish between this subject-group, “type 1s”, between some other group, maybe type 2s or type 3s, to whom such covert attention-seeking behavior can indeed be reasonably attributed.

As a type 2 (with some other major endocrine disorders) I could probably describe to Elyssia Reedy some HG signs and symptoms which she would find amazing. As a researcher, I could probably supply some truly amazing statistics (admittedly decades old) on the death of type 2s from HG.

But all I’d get would be a proliferation of excuses, and who would listen, anyway?

It’s no wonder the world looks the way it does. I could quote Donne, I could quote Niemoeller, I could quote Romain Gary. The point is, it is always somebody else.