Perhaps one of the hardest challenges in living with diabetes is the roller coaster of moods. One moment you’re feeling jittery and tired, and then sad and angry the next. More often than not, this puts a strain on relationships. Being lethargic, for instance, makes one disconnected from conversations, and therefore comes off as indifference. Being easily irritable, sometimes in the littlest things, leaves loved ones frustrated and downright annoyed, too. In other words, diabetes doesn’t just affect your physical health, but mental and social well-being.
Why Mood Swings Happen
No matter which type of diabetes you have, you’re bound to experience some highs and lows in emotions. The culprit? The changes in your blood sugar levels. When glucose goes out of control, the brain, which requires this very chemical, does a poor job then at regulating emotions. When sugar levels drop too low, you may feel confused, irritable, jittery, and tired. On the flip side, when they shoot up, you find yourself getting angry, sad, and tense. It’s harder to concentrate on things, too. The good news is once your blood sugar levels return to normal, the mood swings then go away.
Aside from the physical symptoms, there’s also a psychological reason why you’re on an emotional roller coaster: diabetes distress. This refers to the emotional struggle patients go through when managing their condition. As you know, diabetes requires a total lifestyle change, from being more conscious of what and how much you eat to keeping up with all the medicines and exercise plans. Such a strict lifestyle regimen, when done every day for the rest of one’s life, can take a toll on emotional health. Moreover, there’s the guilt in the occasional slip-ups and cheats on bad days, as well as the fear of possible complications later on. Diabetes distress is real on so many aspects, and it could change drastically your relationships with the people around you.
How to Overcome Mood Swings
Dealing with diabetes mood swings is tough, but it doesn’t have to spell doom in your life. Given that they pop up when blood sugar levels go awry, the fix is to keep your glucose in control. Choose the healthy lifestyle that diabetes management Provo doctors advocate. Eat nutritious food. Exercise regularly. Be consistent in your medications. At the same time, be aware that this laundry list of duties and to-do’s can be overwhelming. Acknowledge that the sense of burden is valid, and that you shouldn’t dismiss it in the hopes of making it disappear. Otherwise, you will fall deeper into the pit of diabetes distress.
When you recognize your emotions, naming them and facing them head on, you’ll be in a far better leverage in overcoming it. You’ll be able to communicate better with your loved ones. In doing so, be transparent about your anxieties, fears, and frustrations. Never be afraid to get help. On the other hand, if you’re the spouse or the child of someone who has diabetes, empathize with their situation and bring them to comfortable space wherein they will feel free to talk about what they’re going through. Fighting diabetes isn’t a one man’s task; it’s a community effort.
Diabetes and mood swings are two faces of the same coin. But it’s possible to have a better, victorious life even in this chronic disease. Just be patient with yourself and surround yourself with people who can empathize with you.