Lashing out when low

Hi, This November I’ll have had diabetes for 20 years. I was diagnosed just before I turned 10.

I’ve just moved in with my partner of 3 years and I never expected that allowing someone else into the ins and outs of my care would be such a difficult part of cohabitation. The biggest struggle is how I act when my blood sugar is low. As I’m sure many of you have experienced, it is impossible for me to multitask when low. I’m on a mission to get juice or some other carb into my body and it’s like that is all I can handle. My boyfriend, who is very supportive and caring, will try to help me and it usually ends with me snapping at him.

For example, last night we were making dinner together. When we started my CGM was at 85, but about 20 minutes into food prep I was 65 and dropping. I had to stop what I was doing to get juice and he asked me “are you going to be ok?” To which i snapped “I don’t know! I’m doing everything I can!”…not an appropriate or even rational response. He understands it’s the hypoglycemia talking but he’a also a human being and I know it hurts to have his partner yell at him when he’s trying to help. We’ve talked about how it’s more helpful to me when I’m low if he asks direct questions, so rather than “are you going to be ok?” instead ask “do you need me to help you?”

I also know that even though hypoglycemia makes me insanely irritable, I don’t get to claim total innocence here. I still have to take responsibility for how I treat others. I’m wondering how other people handle their emotions and irritability when they are low and if it’s been a problem with their partners or spouses?

Hi DaniPancakes,
My wife and I have the same scenario when I am having a low. She has told me to try to tell her immediately when I feel a low coming on but that can’t always happen. She is very observant and can usually tell when my BS is low but not all the time. To date the best advice I can provide is after you are stabilized to take the time to tell your partner how much you appreciate them being there for you when you can’t think straight, I often apologize for not warning her I am having a low and I always tell her how much I love her especially for her understanding. It is a problem I think about all the time because I have been in lows previously where I start flailing my arms around probably because I can’t find the glucose tabs or juice I am desperately searching for. She has observed that before and now will find something for me and force me to to eat/drink it. She knows I can be stubborn so if I am too difficult to deal with she threatens to call 911 and it seems I start to cooperate after hearing that from her. One thing we did do which I have found to be a good idea is to place more tubes of glucose tabs in the open at more places around the house. If you can convince your partner to ask you whether you are having a low whenever he wonders about it also a good idea. I used to snap back at my wife when she did that because it could be anytime and often if you were with others I would feel embarrassed. I do not do that anymore because I have realized that it is more important for someone to check on my condition than worry about how others may think of me. I now thank my wife or others who ask me if I am having a low or if I am alright. It is part of thinking that just because I have this condition I can always take care of myself. It is better to allow others to help than to always believe you can take care of yourself. Just thought I would connect with you to let you know you are not alone with that issue. Keep your chin up!


after a number of years I make a very concerted effort to not say anything, ever, when I am low. =)

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Hi DaniPancakes,

I’ve struggled with this problem since my diagnosis! When low, I often lash out at my family for literally no reason, even when they’re showing concern and genuine care. I’ve found that the best way to deal with my emotions is to calmly recognize when I’m going low and to fix the situation as quickly as possible while reassuring my family or friends that I’m okay. It helps to remember that they are genuinely concerned and only want to help.

Of course, if I act irrationally, I always apologize right after and think about how I can improve my actions in the future.

Best of luck!

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I cannot tell when I am low or getting low. So whenever I lash out, my husband just assumes it is the low blood sugar talking. (I had diabetes before I met him 48 years ago.) But sometimes, I am trying to lash out and my blood sugar is normal. I have sort of the opposite problem. Everything gets blamed on my diabetes. I do have a CGM, but it can be 20 points off. So it can read 85, which is normal, when my BG is actually 65.