(Warning: Very long and detailed but please read if you have the time. I very much need the help)
I'm 18 year old freshman at Temple University getting ready for my second semester and the college life has presented a few problems that I'd like to get some opinions and advice on.
This is my second draft of this post. The first was ridiculously long and rambling, so in order to save everybody some eye strain I will try to condense my current problem in a broken-up, list-like manner.
-I have had diabetes since I was 9 years old. Up until recently I lived a fairly normal and well-controlled life.
-Near the middle of my senior year I started to develop a now extreme anxiety about going low.
-This anxiety is highly irrational and affects all aspects of my life. I no longer feel comfortable doing anything that requires me to leave my dorm room.
-This includes all activities that are even remotely physical-shopping, walking around the city, exercise, dancing,acting on a stage, going to amusement parks,and(sex)
-Because I have pretty much ceased all physical activity I have gained a significant amount of weight (I was about 20 lbs overweight, now I'm 50.
-I have also ceased to participate in most sedentary activities as well, including going to concerts, theater productions, hanging out with friends, going to parties, going out to eat, driving, going to the movies, and traveling.
-Basically any activity where I am not alone, sitting, and can focus all of my attention to what my bloodsugar is causes me a lot of anxiety
-All these things I listed (with the exclusion of sex, which I do not allow myself to do because I am too scared I will go low) are things that I used to love to do
-I am also too scared to try new things. I joined my school's paranormal club the first semester because that has always been a dream of mine. However, I declined to go on any ghost hunts because I knew I would be too anxious all the time about my bloodsugar.
-No longer doing things for enjoyment plus gaining weight has led my self esteem to drop significantly and to me feeling worthless
-If I do end up leaving my room for class or in an attempt to go out into the city I have a constant urge to check my bloodsugar every ten minutes. If I do not check my blood sugar I will experience a "false low" that will not go away until I check
-I am too worried about going low while I sleep that most nights it is near impossible to fall asleep
-I have anxiety attacks if I am outside of my room for more than five minutes without at least 2 glucose bottles, even though I usually carry about 20+ in my backpack
-I check so often that I run out of strips way before it is time to renew my prescription so I must pay 100-200 dollars on strips from the store.
-I am so paranoid that my bloodsugar is constantly over 250. I always feel sick and tired because of this but I feel anxious if it is any lower than 200.
-Having such poor control makes me simultaneously freak out about the complications I will face in the future while freaking out about going low.
-I have told this to my endo. She is trying to get me a CGM even though my insurance won't cover it but is not particularly helpful otherwise.
Again, I apologize for all the text. I just felt as though this is the only way I can fully express all the issues I have been having. I am extremely depressed and miserable. My anxiety is out of control and dampening any chance at a normal life. My question to anyone reading is just to share any kind of advice or story they think could help. I have no idea how I developed these extreme anxieties. I'm not really sure how to remedy this problem but I'm desperate to improve my life. Do I have any chance at regaining happiness?
Thank you for your time
You have an identical set up circumstances to mine. Please contact me on here. Or email me sarahj,email@example.com. I have been on TuDiabetes for years now seeking help from this community for the same anxieties and the support has moved mountains in my life. I was able to find an endo who understood the anxiety, and since changing to a pump and CGM I have a better A1C and less anxiety than in the last ten year. Please don't give up. It will get better.
You are in good hands here. Read what everyone's telling you. And again, please write to me.
Thanks for posting this! It's great to hear from someone who's done the massive amount of work to figure this stuff out!!
Hello there. I am so, so sorry to hear you are struggling so much, but of course you have a chance at regaining your happiness. My strongest suggestion to you is to see some sort of counselor at your school :) I had very similar anxiety issues and came to found out that I had fairly sever OCD symptoms. I found great, great relief of my anxiety through Kundalini Yoga breathing techniques and acupuncture. I'm posting below the directions to a breathing exercise (called pranayam in yogic scripture) that is for OCD. If it's something that interests you, give it a try. "Sacred Therapies" by David Shanhaoff-Kahlsa is a great book that has numerous Kundalini Yoga exercises for curing anxiety. I hope that that can be helpful. I'd love to share more with you if you want to hear it. Please be well!
Ram Prakash Singh
“One minute breath”
1) Sit comfortably on a cushion or in a chair
2) block the right nostril with your thumb and sit straight with the eyes closed
3) inhale deeply for a maximum of 15 seconds, hold the breath in for 15 seconds, exhale for 15 seconds then hold the breath out for 15 seconds. You may start with smaller amounts of time, perhaps beginning with 3 seconds, but the ration 1:1:1:1 for all 4 parts of the breath must be kept consistent through out the exercise
4) you may mentally chant the words “Ek Ong Kar Sat Gurprassad Sat Gurprassad Ek Ong Kar” to help keep rhythm. Each repetition should take 3 seconds that way you can measure the time and give yourself something to focus on
5) Practice for a minimum of 3 minutes and work up to a maximum of 31 minutes with the full 15 seconds on each breath
I made an error in the spelling of the authors name in the book I referenced below: the author is David Shannahoff- Khalsa
Hello. I just want you to know you're at the right place cuz they are so many caring people here. I have 3 sons & one graduated from Temple, one from USP & one from Penn State. I know Freshman year is a tough time for anyone but to have that stress on top of your Diabetes issues it is understandable the way you feel. Your not crazy at all. Many have given good advice but I would search at the school for an advisor who may be Diabetic and understand you a bit better. Please take tiny steps but make yourself go out to do things. Try one new thing/ week & if you can do that move on to another. I hate to think of you staying in your dorm room all the time.Maybe there is a Diabetes student support group you could join.I will says prayers for ypu & hope things begin to get better. <3 Joanne
Yes I believe there is hope for you. I used to be afraid of going low all the time so I would also allow my blood sugars to run high. When I was in college the first time I would beg out of activities or not do things with other people because I was afraid of going low. This last year I started going back to school to pursue a graduate program, and I really wanted things to be different. I did a lot of different things, working with my doctor to adjust pump settings, changing my diet, etc, but this is what worked for me:
Like you mentioned, I always carry glucose on hand so I could eat the glucose in an emergency. But now I also always carry a little cash in my wallet. Having the power and flexibility of cash (not plastic) to buy a soda or a bag of chips in a moment's notice helped my confidence a lot because I knew even if I did go low out on the town or between classes (sometimes it was a 20min walk between buildings) I could easily stop at a convenience stand and buy something quick. That helped me let go of the need to constantly check my blood sugar.
Also having an unpredictable schedule or wanting to do something last minute I test more often, about every 3 hours unless I am wearing a cgm. That helped me feel more confident as there are more regular 'mileposts' throughout the day for me to check. Usually it's before meals and then 2 hours or so after. Another thing that has helped me feel less anxious is I do a quick check before an unplanned activity, like going to a party, and I will eat a very small snack when my sugar is in the 70-85 range (10-15 carbs) as I know the activity will burn a few extra calories. I also have been more selective in the activities I do take on. I started telling people why I cannot attend an event or may be late or need more notice/planning and usually they are pretty understanding and will agree to reschedule or make some small accomodation- allowing eating a meal in class, for example. Of course not everyone is understanding but you may find that some are more understanding than you think. I know that after I opened up about my diabetes in one of my classes, another student also opened up about another medical condition that they were struggling with as well.
I just encourage you to keep doing what you are doing and reach out to other people, isolation is the worst enemy. It took me a long time to get past the fear of going low all the time, but it has gotten better the more proactive I am about providing for myself and letting other people I'm with know my limits. Having a plan of action (the cash) for when I did go low was what eventually helped me not overcompensate for lows as I felt that when the event did happen I was prepared to handle the situation. I would just encourage you to find a plan of action that helps you feel confident that you can handle the lows when they do happen and remember that you are not alone in this struggle, it is scary feeling like you are not in control of your body and in new/strange surroundings. Best wishes.
i relate to this so much. I let my sugars run higher than they should because of fear of lows. I've attributed it to a fear of having to ask for help, a fear of having needs, especially more and different needs than others. I bail on social situations all the time when i'm having a rough diabetes day and have a lot of anxiety to the point my doc has also recommended therapy. Thanks for posting this, it helps me feel less alone
I'm one of many people (including several who already posted) who can relate to your story... I used to deal with lows just fine but then in October last year I took just one unit extra of bolus (because my blood sugar was on the high side and I was going to have a high carb meal) and it looked fine 2 hours after but it fell quickly and it got really low. It took some time to get my blood sugar back up and it felt like no matter how much soda/chocolate/glucose tablets I ate, it wouldn't help. It scared me a lot although it was, considering, fairly undramatic as I was conscious and walking all through the episode.... But it still affects me. I also have a history of anxiety/panic attacks that was related to my asthma when I was a teenager (fear of not being able to breathe etc) and lately this has paired up with my anxiety of having lows so that when I do get low I often panic at the same time, and it's inconvenient and embarrassing. A few months ago I got low on the train on my way to a concert and I had to take the first train home instead of attending the concert because I was hyperventilating and my heart just wouldn't slow down.
But this wasn't really meant to sound like such a negative post...What I meant to say is, you're not alone. I agree with those who suggested therapy; especially if you can find a therapist who specializes in chronic deceases/diabetes. Planning ahead and keeping glucose tablets and cash with you wherever you go like someone also mentioned is a trick I use myself, I tend to feel a little less anxious if I feel like I've got everything covered, so to speak.
Another thing, also brought up in the previous posts...maybe think about what specific time or event you started having this anxiety; what thoughts and feelings did you have about having lows before this started, and why? Did something in particular alter those initial thoughts? I think if you can find an answer to those questions it may be easier to reverse the process and get back to a healthier and happier place.
Good luck and feel free to befriend/message me :)
I just came across your post. I hope by now you are getting the help that you need. Just because you have diabetes doesn't mean that you cannot have another condition as well. That other condition sounds very much like OCD- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. That means, simply, that you have developed an obsession about your lows and you have a compulsion to to check them. Both the obsession and the compulsion are currently so far out of your control that you have virtually stopped living and enjoying formerly much enjoyed activities, in order to try to obsessively feed your compulsion to check your blood for lows. Please see a specialist in OCD- it is treatable. Please look up the symptoms. You will likely find that yours is a classic case- even in the way you describe the development of your symptoms. I wish you all the best.