Classical Sass

(280) Stress Low

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My first several years as a diabetic had trends. Stress made me high, any type of physical activity made me low, practicing made me flatline, food of any kind was a giant roller coaster of regret, and hormones, like stress, made me high and resistant. Like clockwork. For years.

The last decade has been…atypical. Some forms of exercise will make my sugars spike. Some foods will do fuckall to my sugars, even if I eat fourteen servings and take zero insulin. Practicing still makes me flatline, which…good to remember when everything is going to shit in a perpetually flaming paper bag.

But stress, y’all. Stress used to be the most predictable manipulator of my sugars. I knew it would make me spike, I knew the spike would be insulin resistant for hours, and I knew, as soon as my stressor had resolved, I had about two hours before a full day of perfect numbers, even if something else stressed me out the very next day. I always had a day of great numbers right after a stress high.

Lately (ahem, since November, maybe. whatever I don’t remember. I’m low as we speak. Because fuck responding to either insulin or food the way science says I should), stress has made my sugar drop. I will read the article or hear the news, and feel the plummet in my swimming eyes and tingling jaw within minutes. It’s as resistent as the stress highs, so I guess I can’t even really complain that nothing is consistent. Yay.

What’s frustrating about this is, I’m less capable when I’m very low. I can’t drive, I can’t speak well or for very long, I can’t make decisions, and you know, I could die much more quickly than I could if I was trending high. Further, because of my teenage hormone years, I have a lot of practice with concentrating during high sugars. Lows were…never a regular part of that training; they were infrequent emergencies, and handled accordingly. So when a low comes out of nowhere and sticks around for inexplicable amounts of time I get…angry.

I don’t like having my time sucked from me. I don’t care for it when other people do it, and I sure as fuck don’t appreciate it when my own body does it. I don’t do well when all the methods that should work, don’t. (Side note: no one come at me and ask if I’ve tried glucose tablets or milk or whatever. I’ve had this for a long time. I’ve tried the things, k.) The low stinks, but the stress that triggered it is worse because being low, for me, amplifies everything that is even vaguely concerning to me. I sit here, with my head spinning, and the worry grows until I have ruined all of my friendships and broken my violin and forgotten every engagement I’ve made, and there is nothing reliable left in my life other than my low blood sugar and the food that will not make it right again.

It’s always a relief when I come around later and realize hey look you still have friends wohoo! onward, Thursday! I’ve even gotten to a place where I can remind myself, whilst low, “hey you’re low, it’s ok, this is just because you’re low” — and that sounds like an obvious, small, thing, but that’s not what your brain does when you’re low. It doesn’t do those obvious small survival things. It smirks at your effort and waits until you’ve forgotten how alive you are before it lets on that maybe surviving is an option. So being able to grab that low and see it is a step. Coming out of it and acknowledging the damage I was home to is another step.

I got to a place, today, with this low, where I figured maybe my anger was a step, too. Maybe the low, itself, could be a step, if I can figure out how to let it ride without fling my pump at a wall and inhaling seven pizzas and a vat of cotton candy. 
I decided to just let my triggers do what they do to my sugars. I’ll treat them and do what I can, but I need to be done with the raging portion of my stress management. (Side note: this is diabetic low rage. It does not apply elsewhere. I need my rants. The end.) Other lows would have had me up till all hours, waiting till it was over so I could go back and redo all the things I’d done poorly during the drop. I’m not doing that. If my brain needs to be off, then I will let it and try to deal with the aftermath when my body lets me. 
So. I’m low. I can’t think clearly; every sentence here was a massive struggle. I know my sugars will go back up, and I know I won’t always be this weirdly reactive to stress. I will not force myself to stay awake till I can write coherently. It is what it is.

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