Diabetic Mood Swings, a Caregiver's advice
I get so many come to me and ask “how do you handle your diabetic’s mood swings”?
It's the most common, overlooked and best question I get because every day even I am still learning, growing and developing my own skills. But what I will share is something that you may be able to relate to or apply in your own lives.
It makes it difficult for those looking in that don’t live with or take care of a diabetic day in and day out, to understand where our frustrations and feelings of defeat, as a caretaker lie.
Diabetic caregivers or any disease for that matter are so brave because you experience every single up and down but still manage to keep yourself out of prison! It took a long time for me to understand that my husband's irrational yelling at me wasn’t to be taken personally.
Sound familiar? You think to yourself in the beginning of learning to live with them as a diabetic that they get easily aggravated over nothing.
Quickly learn to realize and investigate, is their sugar level too high or too low? A great resource is Overcoming Runaway Blood Sugars
And then there are days, over the years and even now while he is currently on dialysis where he wants to give up. He is sick of being sick. Alarming, right? Do I believe it could happen or he would do such a thing? We will just say this: I definitely count my blessings every day. Although, I’ve heard this tossed around in our 18 years of my husband being so sick and days where he doesn't think he is going to make it another day. So, yes, there were days I really thought I may come home from work and he gave up. This matter is not to be taken lightly, but on the other hand, you can’t freak out either.
I have forced professional help on my husband. I felt loved ones who don't live our daily life, didn't think my husband was serious when I told them the news. Maybe, they didn't want to believe it or they're just used to seeing him be such a fighter.
Warriors give up too.
One way that worked for us is: I remained calm and pretty much talked him off the ledge, so to speak. But, without being annoying, I spoke from my heart, mean every single word by telling him that he means the world to me and the kids. How much we love him and can’t do this life without him.
His Saving Grace
we give him hope.
Put yourself in their shoes, diabetes takes it's toll. They are sick and tired of being sick and tired.
By this far in, you must be thinking “Becca is way too chill about it or crazy or should be crazy”. The truth, I’m really not chill, crazy - some days. – but this has been my normal for many years.
You become accustomed to handling every single issue that arises and handle life with grace, resilience and most importantly, keep your head together.
If you are constantly losing your ever lasting mind, you’re only feeding whatever mood your diabetic’s feeling that moment in time. Because the next minute they turn around and they are perfectly fine, while you're still over there losing it. Breath, take a step back and chill out. Unless, it's life threatening then you better be lightening quick and think on your feet. You may only have split seconds to save a life.
For me, I learned my husband’s “attitude” and body language as a way to determine if his sugar was running low or high. Learn YOUR diabetic. You are going to hear me say that, a lot. Yes, and most of everything I explain is going to relate to your situation, but not all.
A red flag for me, the blood sugar was rising was his temperament. He’d be so angry at nothing. And I mean very angry, very vocal, everything in the world, our home, our life just seriously sent him spiraling. His eyes were “hateful”. You may be nodding your head right now and thinking, yep - sounds right.
On the other side of the spectrum, if his sugar was dropping, it resembled… you could say almost like a toddler when they are hungry. He would be more short and curt about things. His eyes got a certain glaze like look. Until, I’d plain out ask him “do you need to eat?” because I’d almost feel fed up with the craziness. This was before I really understood what he was going through and the reason he was the crazy one.
Diabetes. My most hated word.
Then I’d feel bad for feeling fed up but it is natural on some days being a wife, mom, full time employee and full time caregiver that over the years it takes a beating on you. I’m not sure about parents being caregivers. I suppose you still have your days. I feel God made special people caregivers because it's such a hard job to do.
Let’s talk about you, as a caregiver and how YOU can handle this, for YOUR sanity. Trust me, I understand what you’re feeling and how it can bring you down to your own, personal lowest point.
I wanted to so many times, but they are my reason to stay.
Photo credit to: Nicolette Photography.
Here’s a few coping methods to help you get through the rough days. Rest assure, not everyday is rough, just when they aren't feeling well or their sugar is out of whack. But to help you get past the mind blowing fits. Be sure you know what kind of sugar levels they are dealing with, high or low and first, do they need medical attention.
- Act normal, do not succumb to heightening to their anger level, regardless what they are mad about. But, do act like you care that the stupid fly on the wall is ticking them off. For real, mine has been mad about some “dumb” stuff.
- Stay positive! Whatever you do, try your hardest not to yell back at them or engage in the rampage they are currently on. (I know, I know, easier said than done.) Do it anyway! Stay positive, really it’s for your sanity more than anything. Negativity will eat you alive. Walk away and act like you are cleaning in another room. But don’t act snooty about it.
- If it’s almost mealtime, have them do their daily routine of checking sugar/shot/etc… this allows you to see where their sugar is before they can strike back and say “I don’t give a crap what it is, it’s high”… Yeah – I’ve heard it all. So just try to act like it’s normal and do the routine anyway. This is why routines are so important so they just do without thinking. For more info on this see my last article Living carefree as a Diabetic.
- Pray. Pray for you, pray for them, pray that you don’t knock the crap out of them. Just pray. A lot. Every storm passes.
- Look for support from someone who doesn’t think you are complaining about your spouse. You need someone who is non-judgmental and understands it is just a bad day.
- See my other post about taking care of yourself. This will help you so much to help you and your diabetic.
- Repeat after me, I’ve got this. I will never give up on him (or her). I am a warrior. I am strong. Every caregiver deserves this hoodie from Amazon! Click here :)
- Live knowing, every single day, is a renewed day given to both of you, by God. And no two days are the same. Count your blessings and be grateful when you feel the most ungrateful.
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Becca, Hello. Normal.