On Blood Sugar Fluctuations and Not Knowing Why…

It drives me up the WALL when something doesn’t work and there is no clear reason WHY. Most people get frustrated with this, but it drives me absolutely batty! Just this evening, I was trying to make some new software communicate with a piece of musical equipment I own. I tried EVERYthing, checked every setup guide, updated every bit of operating system, and…nothin’! Every single time I tried to connect, I got the same incomprehensible “time out” error code.

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I think this absolute impatience with unpredictable malfunction comes from diabetes. Now I know what I’m about to say is bad Diabetian behavior, but it’s true: If I have a high number because I ate more than I should have (and I KNEW I shouldn’t have), I’m OK. I don’t do it often, but every once in a while, for whatever reason, I’ll just get lazy and think to myself, “eh, I took insulin before dinner, it’s probably still working in my system, I’ll be fine!” I don’t LIKE the high number, and I generally work very hard not to run into that scenario, but when I do, I’m able to brush it off.

But when high blood sugar numbers come at me with no real pattern, and I can’t understand any GOOD reason for them, I get seriously annoyed! Diabetes is such a control-obsessed disease (with good reason), and that can really backfire on us occasionally.

Spilling over
So this software bug I was wrestling with tonight — it’s not anything vital, and I’ll probably figure it out in due time after browsing through another 10 support pages. It’s annoying, and yes, right now it’s confusing. But the answer will come. What I’m saying is that there’s no good reason for it to be bothering me this much.

This is a good example of “diabetes spillover.” People do this kind of thing all the time. We’re mad at our job so we snap at our spouse. We missed one deadline and suddenly we label ourselves a “failure.” It’s all spillover — taking one situation and applying it universally instead of keeping it contained.

I think diabetes is particularly susceptible to this kind of problem just because it’s so constant. We are literally dealing with diabetes 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. We never get to take a break from it, and that makes it really easy to let it color every part of our lives. But we don’t have to. Heck, as I write these words, I’m coming out of my own little funk about the software! Seeing that it’s just spillover, I can let it go.

It’s the “seeing” that’s important. It’s recognizing the pattern for what it is that lets us move past it. This is a central tenet of therapy — we don’t exactly try to FIX a bunch of problems, we try to put a name on them. It’s the naming that really changes how we feel. We’re not trying to eliminate anger, or sadness, or irritation, or any of it. We’re just trying to put some perspective around it, and stop some of that spillover that can cause so much trouble.

Only perfect will do…
The other strong urge diabetes can give us is the drive for perfection. Of course we know perfection isn’t possible, but when we’re keeping such a close eye on our numbers ALL THE TIME, it’s easy to get stuck thinking that ANY failure is total failure.

How often have you let a high number ruin your day? I know I’ve done it. And while we don’t want those high numbers, it also makes little sense to beat ourselves up every time we fall a little short of our goals. And here again, the important thing is just to notice the pattern. Notice when you’re deciding that your one out-of-range number in the last three days is making you decide you’re a “bad Diabetian.” You’re not, and nobody’s perfect.

So, I’m off to bed. Tomorrow I’ll come back to this infernal computer and see if I can’t figure out this software, but I’ll try to keep my perspective.

Nearly three-quarters of children with Type 2 diabetes have or are at high risk of complications, according to new research. Bookmark DiabetesSelfManagement.com and tune in tomorrow to learn more.

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