I feel like I’m always being told relax or slow down; but, I never seem to be able to switch my nerves 100% “off”. My mind is always racing and thinking about what needs to be done and what comes next, and it’s actually gotten to the point where I find myself becoming more anxious worrying about why I am so anxious! But, I may have found my answer/explanation/excuse: Diabetes.
Since my diagnosis at 5 years old, my days have been scheduled to maintain the consistency recommended for managing diabetes. Now, thanks to treatment advancements, I may not need to be as rigid as I am; but, when you live and think a certain way for so many years, it becomes a habit that is hard to break. Especially when the habits start so young.
When something unexpected comes up, my mind runs through all the possible scenarios and how it could affect my diabetes:
1) how will this affect my emotions?
2) how will the emotion affect my blood sugar?
3) will this change my schedule?
4) am I going to miss a meal/snack?
5) do I need to wake up earlier or go to bed later?
6) will I be able to check my blood sugar?
7) can I re-schedule my day to fit this in while keeping meals and snacks the same?
8) what happens if I don’t have time to do this today?
9) do I need to move other tasks to different days?
10) what is most important? How can I prioritize?
11) if I finish earlier than expected, what else can I check off of my list to decrease the pressure on tomorrow?
12) am I forgetting something?
All these questions (plus the fact that there are no guaranteed answers since each scenario can have a different effect on blood sugar, for me) leads to increased heart rate, fidgeting, sweating, and overall anxiety and restlessness. I don’t stop thinking about my to-do list until everything on the list is done. Now, whether this is the result of a personality trait or my obsessive-compulsive desire to manage every minute of the day to ensure consistency, I don’t know; but, it does affect my blood sugar.
Most people feel uneasy when something unexpected happens. It’s the “fight or flight” response; but, when diabetes is thrown into the mix, things get complicated. Hormone changes make blood sugars difficult to control and fluctuations difficult to anticipate. Personally, my blood sugar changes very fast (both up and down); so if I’m not “on my toes” and aware of how a specific situation is changing my blood sugar, I could be in trouble.
So, I worry. A lot. I think a lot, and I know this about myself and try to manage it as best as I can. There are times I wish I could stop thinking; but, it just doesn’t seem worth it when the changes happen so quickly and the outcomes could be so dangerous.