Low crisis or verbal abuse?

(Nicole) #1

I am a newly retired paramedic. I thought when I met my soon to be wife, a nurse and T1D, her chronic illness would be “easy.” I assumed “I’ve seen highs and lows. I know what I’m getting into.” She has a pump. She eats fairly well but I don’t fault her for giving into occasional cravings. She does drink beer on the weekend and that doesn’t help at all.

As the wedding approaches, 30 days from today, her lows are lower and her highs are higher. I know stress plays a large role in this. I keep thinking cold feet maybe.

For the last 4-5 months, she has had some SERIOUS bouts of screaming, crying, name calling … mostly associated with lows as shortly after her episodes begin, I’m getting alerts from dexcom she’s dropped.

I’m extremely careful to be sensitive to her feelings when she’s “low.” I discreetly encourage her to eat, drink, suspend the pump.

Now… even when she’s dropping but not to the point she typically (historically speaking) can maintain reason… she blatantly REFUSES to eat and won’t touch her pump. She continues to cry , scream, wake up the neighbors, throw things… I’ve felt fairly close to being hit but have had the sense to leave the room for a moment when that time comes.
As the wedding gets closer, she’s dipped into the 30’s and it isn’t until I give her the option of eating or calling the medics, Will she eat. And then when the food is in front of her, she eats it as slowly as possible… I know she’s nauseous so I don’t push it.
In the moment I’m getting ready to call the medics, I asked her today “Do you want to die? Why are you doing this?”
I know I won’t get a rational answer. I’m just verbalizing my thoughts. But she responded, “I don’t want to live.” Knowing I’m capable of having her medically and mentally cleared on a psych hold for that comment regardless of her bgl, she retracts her comment quickly… giving me the impression she IS thinking with some sound mind.
What makes it worse is she won’t acknowledge her sugar was low tomorrow… or apologize. Then I feel guilty- feeling like it’s similar to asking a cancer patient to apologize for chemo brain.
Does this make sense?
Today was not a good day. As I sit her checking the dexcom app every 5 minutes, she sleeps, I realized I need help.
I’ve heard “I’m done with this relationship” so many times I don’t know what’s her and what’s hypoglycemia talking.
She won’t get help. So now I’m looking for it.
Anyone been through this? Spouses parents or T1D’s?
T1D’s: do you apologize for lows when you’ve clearly hurt your partner?

Thank you.
-SchooledButFooled

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(Hannah Strickland) #2

Hello. I do not have all the answers for this one, but your concern struck a chord and I can address a few things from my personal experience. You asked about apologizing and I can address that one. So, I am a fairly new (2 years) type 1: diagnosed as an adult with nearly grown children. One advantage this gives me is that I know my range of emotions before my diagnosis and can pretty well identify things caused by highs and lows. You are correct, the highs and lows can cause huge swings. In my case, it is the highs which cause anger. (I know to test if I suddenly have a huge wave of anger sweep over me) Usually with a low, it is agitation. Nevertheless, me being aware that these are “false” emotions helps me control the expression of them- which is not to say I always do. I do, however, apologize. I know, my spouse knows, my children know that it is “the D” talking, but it doesn’t mean I am not a pain in the rear. If nothing else, the apology gives me control over an uncontrollable condition. It says, I may have moments where this disease attacks hard, but I don’t want those moments to define who I am.

In your case, I think you are right to think there is more going on…I am not a doctor, but it seems there is some deep stress/anxiety/ depression. I would try to have that examined.

On the other hand, This may seem silly, but perhaps one concern is weight? I know I hate eating when I am low because I struggle with weight and right around a wedding is especially a vulnerable time for those concerns. As is having diabetes at all. We often have a lot of expectations tied into big moments in life like weddings, birth of children graduations and sometimes those infilled expectations could be the cause of some of this.

I hope others in this community have insight on this one. You seem like a very caring person. I hope you are able to work through this and get to the source of your fiancé’s pain.

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(Bill) #3

@SchooledButFooled,

I obviously don’t know you or your partner. And, since you said you are “newly retired,” I take it that you are at least into “middle age,” if not older.

Yes, hypoglycemic episodes can lead to emotional disinhibition. But, sitting here, I don’t have a clue if what you are describing is a “marked change” due to the effects of hypoglycemia, or if it is an “exacerbation” of existing personality characteristics. Whatever the case, it does not sound good for either one of you, or for the relationship.

I’ll keep this very short - it sounds like the two of you need help if this relationship is going to work. I would encourage the two of you to, first, visit with a counselor who is skilled in resolving relationship challenges, and, second, visit with your partner’s physician. For some reason your partner is on a “blood glucose roller-coaster,” and that is not good for brain cells. The challenge here, or so it seems to me, is to discern how much of this is due to problems in the relationship and how much is due to diabetes management issues. That will take a little help to figure out.

Many years ago my wife and I came to an agreement on how to deal with my hypoglycemic episodes if they become severe - she tells me what to do and I do it, no questions asked. Even through the “mental fog” of a blood glucose level of 29 mg/dl I can still remember my obligation to her. I just do what she says. It has saved us tremendous anguish and has saved me many brain cells.

From where I sit it sounds like you need a little help. I hope your partner is willing to work with you on this.

Best of luck to both of you!

Bill

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(Dennis J. Dacey, pwD) #4

Hi @SchooledButFooled, I can offer only from the perspective of having lived with my diabetes for 62 years and from being married to the one woman for 52 years. During that time I / we have experienced the stresses and pleasures of raising a family, working continuously and diligently for more than 50 years, lived through out-of-control diabetes as well as well managed diabetes, many “highs” and “lows” including a couple severe hypo events when medics had to revive me from readings of something less than 10 mg;dl.

I don’t have any idea how long you have known your partner, what kind of communication there is between your partner and you when she is not experiencing hyper or hypoglycemia, if you and you partner can communicate, your or your partner’s prior relationships, etc.

So back to my personal experiences: when “high”, my emotions and response is more reflective of what I did to cause this and particular frustration. I may try to blame the weather, work [I managed companies through multiple “depressions”; 1974, 1999, 2007] , family matters. When I’m above range I’ve never lashed out at my wife or did anything that would need an apology from me. I recognize that that if anyone is to blame it is me - or the restaurant chef who added and hid carbohydrates is a dish.

When I’m below range, particularly in hypoglycemia I know I’ve done foolish things and said some stupid stuff that I later regret and apologize - usually denying that I’m “low” or should do something like eat. Much like @BillHavins, many years ago my wife and I arrived at an unspoken agreement that when I’m going low, whether or not I recognize my condition, is that I will listen to her and do what she says - NO, she is not a dominant.

As someone just observing from a distance, and not as a professional relationship analyst, I suggest that both you and your partner step back and look at yourselves - probably with professional assistance - and decide where you are at and if marriage is appropriate.

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(Andy) #5

I know this sounds harsh but have you tried filming her when she acts like this so that you can show her what you’ve been up against? Lows suck and highs aren’t much better.
That being said, I hold all that frustration close to my chest and never lash out. Like Dennis, I have done some stupid stuff while low which my family revels in telling me about afterward.
Diabetic highs and lows don’t bring out feelings of anger in me. Just the way I’m wired, I guess. (of course, the Banana tree we USED to have in the backyard would probably say differently if I hadn’r chopped it into 1000 pieces with a brand new ax purchased the day after I got diagnosed.)

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