I had a panic attack

I think a panic attack is the only way to describe my reaction to yesterday’s virtual doctor’s appointment. I didn’t fall apart on the outside, but man, inside I was freaking out.

I somehow had the idea that the doctor or his assistant would say something positive about my blood tests — but all I heard was my glucose is too high. I kind of thought the fact that I’m otherwise super healthy would be noted, but nope. They again (this was my 2nd appt) tried to get me to take long-term insulin to bring my glucose down to an acceptable basal level. But I again refused, due to my experience with the stuff causing explosive weight gain (a pound a day).

The doctor’s tone changed. He seemed to be talking to a child and explained how effective insulin is in helping diabetic people like me control glucose. A little weight gain is to be expected, he added.

I’ve gained 25 lbs since last spring. Most of it came on from a short stint of using long-term insulin along with the short-term stuff. The rest was just the result of the short-term insulin. I hate my body. I can’t fit in my clothes but I hate the thought of buying larger sizes. I can barely control my anger that my body has turned on me in this way. I don’t lack for exercise (often reaching 20k steps a day), but walking doesn’t bring the glucose down. I eat low-carb foods, no fruit, no grains or processed foods, no alcohol, nothing to drink but coffee and water. I feel like I’ve sacrificed 90 per cent of the food I love and get no benefits.

I tried to express this to the doctor/assistant but they kept on talking about the wonderfulness of insulin. I tried to explain that weight gain will raise my blood pressure (“Oh we can give you a pill for that!”) I talked about additional weight causing issues for my heart and joints. They didn’t hear what I said. They’re hyper-focused on glucose, at the expense of the rest of my body and emotions.

They wanted to prescribe me drugs I can’t afford. I’m not sure they’d help me anyway. In the end, I was urged to use more of the insulin I’m using. Just use more.

I’m going to kill myself!” I shouted in my head. I had the same thought during the first appointment a few weeks ago. It’s a form of extreme thinking, but one that stems from panic and desperation. I’m looking for an escape.

Then I remembered the blood tests that show that I’m in perfect health with the exception of the damned glucose. It’s alarming that I get so panicked I want to end it all. It was a fleeting but powerful thought.

And I remind myself that I do have a way to lose weight — fasting. I know I’ve had trouble with it this year, but persistence is key. And my most remarkable traits are determination, the ability to focus on a goal and pig-headedness.

Later, I drove out to buy dog food and tried to process what transpired with the appointment. I kept coming back to the mental rant that I had had enough, and the only way out was death.

But who interceded but Barry Gibb singing on the radio:

Whether you’re a brother or whether you’re a motherYou’re stayin’ alive, stayin’ aliveFeel the city breakin’ and everybody shakin’And we’re stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive

And I laughed. It was all too perfect.

2 responses to “I had a panic attack”

  1. Maura McCarley Torkildson Avatar
    Maura McCarley Torkildson

    Hi Sandra, I found you via a email from Irene Lyon. I also have Type 1 diabetes. I was diagnosed at 13 and I am now 62. I have also been piecing together the trauma story and my diabetes.

    I struggled (and still do to an extent) with blood sugar care and at one point felt done and just wanted to die. I took a different route to healing that (Ayahuasca) and overcame the wanting to die piece. Soon after I got a Tandem Insulin pump and it has been such a huge relief. No more shots, it self regulates me, I only need to bolus when eating, and no longterm insulin. It works with my Dexcom CGM. My blood sugars are not perfect, just so much better.

    I just wanted to thank you for writing about this topic -so important, and offer a potential help for the blood glucose control.

    Working through the traumas is an ongoing process. I also resonated with the not being in the spotlight (although I deeply crave it), but learned this was “conceited.”

    Glad I saw you on Irene’s video!

    Maura Torkildson

    1. Hi Maura. Thanks for the comment. My plan is to go on an insulin pump but was told the has to be better managed before that will happen. My experience with ayawaska was traumatic. I end up having a nightmare I couldn’t seem to escape. I find writing is helpful getting a perspective on my past. I’m glad you’re getting something from it.

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