Three Stages of Dealing with Hypo Grief

I’m ashamed to admit that hypos have gotten the better of me in recent weeks. My diabetes management certainly isn’t as terrible as this post makes it look, but I definitely think what I go through during these times is too funny not to share (because we have to look back and laugh at ourselves, right?). So, here’s what I like to call my Three Stages of Dealing with Hypo Grief.

Stage 1: Anger and Frustration

Going low is the most frustrating thing. And the more often it happens, the more you start to feel like you’re slipping into a hole. And the further down you get, the harder it is to find your footing and climb on out.

And during times like these, that frustration boils up to the point of anger. Like wanting to shout. Like wanting to slam the door. Like wanting to throw something against the wall. Like wanting to punch the wall as hard as I can. I want to feel the pain, so I have something physical to match my anger. I have a million different emotions boiled up inside of me that I need to let out.

Stage 2: Emotional Eating

So, the wave has finally crashed. I’ve let all of my hypo related frustrations and anger out of my system. My mind is finally ready to start processing what’s happened, and its also time to start thinking about fixing that hypo.

A hypo that I’m not expecting will really tug hard on my emotional heartstrings. Especially after a day where I felt I did my very best. I ate healthy. I thought very carefully about my insulin dose. I didn’t take a second helping at lunch. I didn’t have a snack in the afternoon. I tried so hard and yet I still failed. So what’s the point? Screw it. I reach for the most delicious thing I can find to cure my hypo. Like a bag of chips. A tub of ice cream. A box of chocolate. And I’ll sit on the couch and eat my hypo sorrow away. And no, not just the 20 grams to bring me back up into range. No, today I’m going to finish off the entire packet. Just because.

Stage 3: Acceptance and readiness to move on

So, I’ve gotten angry, and my emotions have taken over my rational thinking and I’m finally ready to move on. I’m ready to accept that sometimes diabetes is plain unpredictable. Sometimes we approach diabetes with the best of intentions. And yet we still don’t get the results we expect. Sometimes these things are just out of our control. And its our job to accept this, pick up the pieces and move on.

14 thoughts on “Three Stages of Dealing with Hypo Grief

  1. so true- have been dealing with recovery from a hypo now for two days…BG still high and I have no idea why. So frustrating! You post reminds me to just keep going and trust my body will rebalance.

  2. I feel you, Frank! Just yesterday I suddenly felt irrate and wanted to scream. I realised this was very strange and unreasonable of me so I checked my blood sugar… 3.7. Usually I fix a hypo well with a jelly bean or two… but I kept going and over treated! Ruddy hypos!

  3. Hey Frank I feel your pain! I went through a few hypos when I first got diagnosed and was still getting adjusted to my new low-carb diet. I woke up drenched in sweat in a panic and ran to the kitchen and tested to find my sugars in the 40s!! I squeezed a glucose gel and chugged some orange juice to get back to normal but it was a very scary feeling to feel like you might not make it to the kitchen in time 🙁 thank God I woke up in time to know something was happening. Try to maintain a high-fat, low-carb, high-protein diet and you may find your hypos will go away if you eat 6 times a day. Don’t give up, you’ll get it under control. In the mean time, keep some glucose gel or bars on you at all times, just in case!

    1. Thank you! Night time hypos are definitely the worst ones. Like I said, I don’t struggle all the time, I just think that it is important to share some of the low points with diabetes. I do try to balance my carbs with fresh foods as well which definitely helps. Can I ask – won’t a high fat diet cause a delayed blood sugar rise several hours later? How do you manage that?

      1. No actually fat causes little to no change in your blood sugar. In fact, it’s the only macronutrient that keeps blood glucose and insulin levels low. Here’s a great TED talk explaining a high-fat diet for diabetics. It really made me think about a few things… I’d love to know your thoughts!

        1. Thanks for sharing the link. I have type 1 diabetes, so my body produces no insulin at all to regulate BGLs. Whereas type 2s on that diet would produce insulin to regulate BGLs after eating high fat foods. If I did that I would have to correct myself several hours later.

    2. I agree with you here. Not being able to get up to treat a hypo or not knowing in time is the scariest part. Happened with me once, ended in the hospital and had such a guilty feeling like it’s all my fault. But at times it’s not in our control.

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