Saturday, July 9, 2011

Cult of Personality Changes.

Recently, a close family friend of mine, who is also a Type 1 Diabetic, mentioned to me that Diabetes was affecting his personality. I honest to blog have never put those two things together...and I'm not sure why I haven't! It completely and totally makes perfect sense.

Diabetes has changed my personality. Diabetes also changes my personality when my sugar is low or high. That's a fact that is undeniable. We can't choose the mood or pick our personality when our sugar drops. I know one moment I can be tying a hand towel around my neck & flying around the kitchen like I'm Superwoman.

The next moment I'm grabbing scissors and threatening to cut people while spittles of anger fly from my mouth. The same thing happens when my sugar is high but not to the same extent. When my sugar is high I typically turn into Superbitch, not Superwoman.

I can remember being a 16 year old carefree, happy, giggly, positive, hopeful girl. I would find humor, joy & fun in everything. I was rarely angry, there wasn't any reason. I was only sad when a boy I liked didn't like me. I wasn't mean unless given a reason to be. I wasn't more moody or tired than any other teenager.

I wasn't sick.

That quickly changed.

Now, 26 years later, I'm moody at a moment's notice. I can experience 42 different moods in 42 seconds. I'm angry to the point of destruction. Sometimes I scare myself. I'm beyond mean & can tear a person down with my verbal assault. I'm so tired from trying to survive every moment of every day. I'm a total bitch who can make a person emotionally unstable. I, myself, become emotionally unstable.

I am sick.

That isn't quickly changing.

Diabetics are prone to many types of personality changes, yet, people do not really talk about them. These personality changes are typically the result of glucose levels changing. When your blood glucose levels become dangerously high or low, a normal behaving person can become angry, hostile, combative, silly, stupid or confused. The brain is not getting the normal glucose that it needs to function properly.

Not only does this happen at the time of uncontrolled glucose levels, it also seeps over into constant life behaviors. Personality changes are just one of the many things that a Diabetic has to deal with, accommodate & learn to live with every day.

Here is a reminder of some of the wonderful things a Diabetic deals with on a daily basis:

Mental confusion
Mood swings
Heart palpitations
A craving for sweets
Cold hands and feet
Blurred vision
Inner trembling
Outbursts of temper
Sudden hunger
Crying spells

Keep this in mind when the Diabetic in your life gets bitchy. Keep in mind that it's not an easy thing to have a chronic invisible disease. So, please understand, and most of all, forgive.



  1. Hi Kelly, I get this...

    Being a diabetic and suffering other long term chronic conditions alongside it is hard on us, but also on those who live with us.

    When my BS is low, I'm not at all nice, but I never remember, and that stems over into the rest of my relationship as there is an assumption that that part of me must be there constantly and hidden...

    Hard isn't it!

  2. I haev a daughter who appears to be lost in her life, life choices and desires. *Her most current A1C was 11.3. Her thoughts are scarcely parallel with the world and her direction seems always against the wind or tide (figuratively speaking).

    At first my husband and I thought it was her age, though her mental capacity seems to be years behind her physical capacity when she interacts with adults and responds to any given situation that is less than her desires. We have searched resources, looked into medical help with this point of view with hope of someone having experience yet we get the same answer... "diabetics don't have anger issues, or mood changes." It's at this point we have found ourselves scratching our head and wondering what is it we are doing wrong or missing? this is topped by her making extremely irrational life choices, irrational behavior issues (including screaming at cops or other public in a very disrespectful manner that would be tv material to most on an candid camera). There are days we wonder, is she inside trying to get out, or just content with her choices and life as is and this is her and how she will be for her entire future.

    I suppose I'm posting this in hopes to create transparency for another struggling family members who loves their relations as deeply as we do. If you are lost, you are not alone. Is there light at the end of the tunnel, I don't know.. we aren't even close to the end.... but we care so very much for her and worry that her life will never be as full as it once had the potential of being. She definately does not appear happy at all,consistently.

    We continue to love her and care about her, but she is steps away from walking out the door again and really not caring. And she doesn't seem to care who she hurts, including herself.

  3. My husband, lifelong overweight, was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes abt 7/8 yrs ago. A teetotaler w/ drugs/ alcohol, but insatiable sugar addict. Goes through cycles of eating well, exercising, ckg b/s, & being the man I married, then something sets him off & he'll eat white sugar/flour nonstop for months, refuse to go to his dr & gain 3/4 lbs/wk.
    He'll become mean as a snake and verbally abusive. Someone else's fault - mostly mine. He has said to me some unconscionable, evil things & worst of all, will either deny or tell me it's my fault. When we go out he usually drives. When he is in sugar la-la land I am in fear of my life. He goes off at drivers - honk his horn, cut them off, curse at them, ride their bumper, slam on the brakes, tell me about myself & "women drivers". Or he'll fall asleep, when I wake him up to pull over he won't, he's not going to "let" me drive.
    It took me a few of these cycles to connect the sugar w/ the evil personality.
    I will quietly tell him that his out of control sugar consumption is adversely affecting our marriage. He will alternately deny it, not remember, blame it on me, his job, his ex-wives, his parents, etc., etc. The other day we had planned to go out at 7:00. At 6:15 I got dressed, I have learned that if I say get ready I'll get sarcasm, so I wait in the car. At 6:30 I told him I was ready & the explosion was phenomenal. In the car he told me I had made him late. Another time he dropped me at a store & said he would park. When I came out he was gone. I walked through the whole parking lot and was wondering if his temper had finally left me stranded. Later he came back from getting gas, told me that I had purposely hurried my shopping in order to trick him. These types of changes seem on the verge of a break with reality to me.

    I understand the high blood sugar messes with a person's brain, but he can keep his temper at his job, he rarely explodes at others & now that his kids have moved out they are no longer targets of his temper. There is nothing I do or don't do that is not a potential "trigger".
    My real issue is this: like any addiction, sugar addiction can be a choice, not easy, but like an alcoholic who chooses AA & their family over addiction and living on the street. Does there come a point where an addict gets a free pass for their choices, actions and words and their victims should just put up with the abuse because we love them?

    Any doctor or professional who says diabetic sugar problems do not cause personality changes does not know what they are talking about and has clearly never lived with an out of control diabetic. Any diabetic who denies it is living in denial and "excuse-land".

    If you love a diabetic -- beware, it's a roller coaster ride over which you have no control yourself and it may take you to places you really never want to go.

  4. These are some serious comments and I hear you. I feel you. I see you. You are the people in my life. The people I have hurt. The people I scare. The people I worry. All I can do is apologize from the bottom of my heart.
    But, please, remember, we are there. We are. We are fighting every moment of every day to be who we are. Sometimes we fail. Sometimes we win. Above all else, and I promise I'm not making excuses, it is not us. It is our disease. Do not take it personally. Do not.
    However, if the abuse becomes more than a Diabetic episode, then seek professional help. Diabetes does not create abuse patterns or behaviors on a regular basis. Diabetes does not create irresponsibility and the inability to take responsibility for our behavior. Those are personality disorders that need counseling. I will always say and believe...take care of you first. Save you first. Love should not hurt.
    Also, this disease does create mood swings, abnormal emotional behaviors, and any Dr. who states differently is not the proper Dr. for a Diabetic. We don't remember most of the time the actions that occur when our bs is out of control. Our brains are not working. We are not who we are. We become someone...something else and, sorry to say, there isn't really much we can do about it. We try to control and uncontrollable disease and sometimes, we just can't. I cannot stress this enough.
    Please know that there are people out there who will and can help in any situation presented. Diabetes is a serious condition and those who live with it daily know this. We know our lives hang on a sugar thread. We know one miscalculation or slip could be the end of us. We know that, if it's not and we make it, it will undoubtedly kill us any way. That's a lot to deal with even with normal blood sugars.
    To love a Diabetic is most definitely a roller coaster. However, only you can decide whether or not you want to ride. We can't.

  5. Hi Kelly.
    I'm a type 1 Diabetic and recently had the desperate need to find more info and/or someone to connect with about these anger spouts/moodiness.

    I knew there wasn't much info out there about this and although I did manage to find a few blogs/forums/articles... I just wanted to tell you that I was most put at ease after finding yours. I connected with your post completely.

    I'm hoping this information about the mood swings and anger, etc., starts getting a whole lot more attention. It's just too significant in a Diabetic's life and in the lives of their loved ones.

    Anyway, if you're interested at all, I've also started a blog (just started) and it was exactly because of these emotions we go through. Take a look if you like...

    Wishing you all the best.

  6. My husband got LADA, I think it's called. Because he got type 1after his 32nd birthday they misdiagnosed him as type 2. After a difficult year the hospital gave an official apology for the misdiagnosis and he started on insulin. Things got drastically better! He now lives an active happy(ish) life, but has only been on the right meds for about 5months. We've hardly talked about the effects of diabetes.
    Tonight we had a serious talk though. I have emotional issues related to hormone imbalance but hormonal treatment makes me very sick, so we decided to just deal with my emotions every month until other symptoms shows up. I get all "I'm unloved, rejected..." and now hubby is pulling away, making it worse. So after 2 years of this, and another 2 weeks of crying myself to sleep, I had enough. I gave him an ultimatum, he must either sort out himself, or he must make an appointment with a Dr so I can go on something like Prozac. Even though I've asked him before what effects his diabetes will have he only had a proper open discussion with me tonight. We decided he'll speak to his Dr first as he is already on mess, then we'll go from there. However, I'm shocked at how little information there is about personality changes of diabetics! I've only seen like what you mentioned! My hubby is the opposite, though. He's almost emotionless. Aloof, distant. At some point I actually thought he was having an affair!

    I'm so grateful that the medical profession has made it possible for type 1 diabetics to have a (semi) normal life, but it's somewhat frustrating that their knowledge is still very limited!

  7. Aw, Annie. I wish you both the best of luck. I'm not gonna lie, the personality can change in a moment. I haven't had insurance so haven't been taking my Celexa for the past month. My boyfriend is ready to put me in a straight jacket. I feel like you. Unloved, rejected, insecure...I feel pissed off, violent, super emotional. It's ridiculous. I've started taking them again for the sake of our sanity and I can already tell a difference. Since he was just diagnosed, there will be a lot of things you will try that don't work. Not every Diabetic is the same. Just have patience, know that it's the disease, not him....most of the time. :). Also, take care of you first.

  8. PS- I'm always here if you have any questions or just need to vent. Every Diabetic and the people in their lives needs a strong support system. :)

  9. My wife and I were married 12 years. She had always had extreme PMS and we once broke up for two weeks before we were married because of her nasty mood. Her Dr. changed her birth control pill brand and it cleared up. She has always had an "I'm the boss" attitude anyway, but there was once a sweetness to her (no pun!) that I loved if she was feeling good. Then at age 40 she came down with type 1 diabetes out of the blue. The last four years of our marriage were hell. The last six months were agony for me. She went from occasional mean days to all the time nasty. I would come home from work and be in a knock down drag out fight within five minutes of walking in the door! I would leave and drive around or go to my mothers for a few hours. Later, I would think to myself "what were we just arguing about?" Nothing really. She just liked to argue as a sport I thought. My wife's father was a minister and she was brought up in church, but she stopped going. She started hanging out at bars with girls she would have called lushes and sluts before. (that's what she said about a friend I worked with who got pregnant before she was married) She has done a 180 degree flip. We have been divorced almost a year now. She told me she didn't love me and really never did. Then she started cheating on me with many different guys. I don't know what else to pin this on. There has to be a cause. Maybe this is it, along with menopause and sleep apnoea. (we are 46 now) I wish I could get her family to get her to a psychologist. She was just at her endocrinologist and passed out on the table, fell on the floor and cracked her tibia! (this by way of her mother who is still friends with my mother)