Reddit user punkpandas writes, “It sucks to be anxious and diabetic at the same time. Sometimes I cannot decide right away if it’s an anxiety attack or a low. They kinda feel the same to me.”
Have you ever felt this way? Well, the good news is that you’re not alone.
It’s okay to have anxiety. Everyone experiences anxiety from time to time, and the stress of monitoring and treating diabetes certainly doesn’t help. It also doesn’t make things easier that there is no cut-and-dry solution to the issue.
But there are solutions out there to help. Talk to your doctor about what changes you can make to your diabetes treatments and lifestyle to help make your anxiety more bearable.
And while you’re waiting for whatever solution you choose to start working, take comfort in these words of camaraderie and encouragement from others who have gone through something similar.
(Note: Some comments have been edited for length or grammar.)
“Yep. I get this.”
“Also, when I work out or do anything physically exerting, it feels the same as a low (warm, sweaty, tired), so I’m constantly checking the Dexcom…” —Reddit user Kathulhu1433
“I’m bipolar and type one, and it’s one hell of a rodeo.” —Reddit user kommie178
“That happens to me a lot.”
“Last night, I woke up feeling terrified and assumed I was low, so I tested. I was 350 and immediately felt like I was going to pass out from anxiety. It’s nice to not feel alone in this, though. I only started having panic attacks 2 years ago, even though I’ve been diabetic for almost 24 years, so it still feels huge and scary to me.” —Reddit user waveform_component
“Yeah, I get this too.”
“I think I test too much because of anxiety…I sometimes test up to 12 times a day. I just received a CGM about 2 weeks ago, but I have not installed it yet.” —Reddit user WilliamsT1D
“I know what you mean.”
“I chew my fingers anxiously, and between that and finger pricking, my hands are a bloody mess.” —Reddit user ganthus
“It’s not just you.”
“I’m a nurse, a psych nurse no less, and I deal with anxiety/panic every day. I struggle in myself to tell the difference.” —Reddit user NurseWizzle
One reason why.
“Since they [anxiety and low blood sugar] both involve the release of epinephrine, that’s not at all surprising!” —Reddit user perciva
“Looks to be quite a few of us.”
“Maybe there’s a correlation somewhere. I have diagnosed anxiety. Before getting on meds, I’d over react to my CGM a lot.” —Reddit user Thomsenc
“This speaks to me on such a deep level.”
“Going to see my endo today and going to tell her how my anxiety has been affecting my ability to control my blood sugars. Can’t seem to take a full dose of insulin without panicking and thinking I’m going low even though my sugar is like 300…” —Reddit user kylieerin
“I’m on social security disability because I can’t work.”
“The stress of working always caused my blood sugar to go into the 500s by the end of a 4-hour work day. And that was working with a “safe person” (my grandmother) in our church’s daycare program. I was pretty much just playing with 2-year-olds for a few hours, and it would stress me out so much I was sick for the rest of the day.” —Reddit user Cellophane_Girl
“It’s nice to know that we’re not alone.”
“Anxiety blows, diabetes blows, and it’s nice to know there are so many of us! Have a good day today, my friend.” —Reddit user veritas3777
Finding a solution to your anxiety is difficult, and what works for one person may not work for the next. For example, getting a continuous glucose monitor may help with anxiety because it ensures that they’ll be alerted if your blood glucose goes out of range; for some people, however, having a CGM can causes them to check their blood glucose an excessive number of times per day. Talk to your doctor about options to treat your anxiety and keep your diabetes in control.
If you’re managing diabetes and anxiety, you are DEFINITELY not alone. Take courage in the knowledge that many before you have gone through this and that there is help to be found. Remember to discuss your options with a doctor. Don’t let this issue control your life!
Elizabeth Nelson is a wordsmith, an alumna of Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, a four-leaf-clover finder, and a grammar connoisseur. She has lived in west Michigan since age four but loves to travel to new (and old) places. In her free time, she. . . wait, what’s free time?