Diabetic Mood Swings

I hate admitting this, but, I have always been a moody person. It’s something that has always annoyed me and made me feel a little bit insane.  This last weekend I was all over the place emotionally. When I was trying to pinpoint the problem I remembered reading about high blood sugars affecting our emotional state. Could there be any truth to this? I decided to pay more attention the next time my mood swings kicked in to see if the change in my BS was causing me to be more moody than normal.

Overtime I started to find trends. If my numbers are low I can have high anxiety, or could just start bawling my eyes out. My most recent emotional break down due to a low was at a gas station. I was putting gas in my car, realized I had low blood sugars and went inside to grab a soda. I grabbed a Dr. Pepper and went to pay at the counter. I don't know how the rest of you feel when your sugars are low, but for me things tend to slow down and take longer to register. I swiped my husbands debit card thinking it was mine and entered my pin number. The clerk let me know that my pin number was declined and asked me to try it again, again, my pin number did not work. On the last swipe the card declined altogether and I could feel the mini melt down beginning. Tears began to well up in my eyes as I tried to keep myself calm. I took a deep breath and explained to the clerk (through tears) that I had diabetes and just needed a small amount of soda to bring my blood sugars up and that I wasn't sure why my card wasn't working. She looked at me with empathy and gave me my soda for free. I couldn’t thank her enough; I got back into my car, drank my soda, and calmed myself down. I was so embarrassed by my reaction, but there was nothing I could do to stop it, my blood sugars took total control.

When my blood sugars are sky high I become irritable, lazy, and want nothing to do with the outside world. I just want to sit in front of the TV and make it through the day. Usually, I become annoyed with whoever is around me. One day my blood sugars were getting particularly high and nothing was bringing them down. My sister was worried about me because the only thing I wanted to do was lay in bed all day and mope. We watched my blood sugars for about an hour and when my numbers kept creeping higher my sister wanted to take me to the ER. I remember barking at her about how that was the dumbest thing I had ever heard of, but agreed to let her take me to the urgent care (because in my mind that would be different). I grumpily got into her car and hunched over in my seat. When I finally decided to lift my head we were pulling into the hospital parking lot. I was furious, I remember telling the front desk girl how ridiculous my sister was being, then telling her I wasn’t feeling well and that someone else could fill out my forms. My sister was handling the situation very well considering everything I had to say to her was putting her down (which I feel terrible about now, even though I would never have admitted that to her then). Thankfully she had done the right thing by taking me to the hospital. They flushed the sugar from my system and slowly the dark rain cloud hanging over me lifted.

My hubs is also learning when I need to check my sugars based on my mood. There have been moments where he will literally stop me in whatever mood I am in and ask if I need to check my blood sugars. We have had a few conversations about when this statement is appropriate to ask, because to me it can be the same as asking a girl "if it's that time of the month?" And no one wants the wrath that that question would bring. We have decided together the right way and the right time to ask this question to prevent further fights. 

Over the years of diabetes I have learned the signs of my blood sugars going out of range. For lows you have the shakes, sweats, and disorientation. But what I didn't know is having a fit out of nowhere is also another sign. For high blood sugars my skin dries out, my mouth dries out, and I have to pee every five seconds. And now I know that I also become very irritable. Next time you begin to have a mood swing, stop and check your blood sugars you might be surprised. 


  1. Have just discovered your blog through TuDiabetes, I can relate to a lot of what you are saying! I have had T1Diabetes for 9 years but it is not until recently that I realised how much blood sugars affect my mood! And I also realise that I feel awful when I have big swings and go from low to high over the course of a day.
    Definitely agree with what you are saying about listening to your body, it is something I plan on doing properly from now on! Best of luck, Shonelle

  2. I feel the same way! Yeah, my moods are totally bizarre when my numbers go awry. I've been this way since 2005, but I'm still going! Life has got those up and downs for everybody I guess.

  3. I certainly empathize with what each of you are saying about your changing mood swings...but as a contrasting thought I'd like to ask you about how your changing mood swings have affected your partner/spouse over time? The reason I ask is that my wife doesn't seem to either understand or let me use my changing blood sugar as an excuse for my often erratic mood swings. To give full context, before becoming a T1D, I would consider myself a happy/go-lucky type person but have changed into a much more mild-mannered person....from my point of view. So my question(s) are; is it fair to put the burden of our mood swing on the ones that we love the most? Considering that each of us here are T1D’s, is it fair to ask our partner's for a "free" pass in light of our continually changing mood swings? Part of me thinks that it's something that we should learn to deal with and to compensate accordingly however the other part of me wants total freedom and expects others to just deal with my ever changing moods. Is there a balance?

  4. Hi Dominick, I really liked your response to this. I don't look at my mood swings due to highs or lows a get out of jail free card. We are all responsible for our own behaviors and need to either own up to it after it happens, or try and stop it when we feel it coming on. It is definitely a part of our diabetes and there is a point of blame, but most of us are adults and need to be able to control our temper. My husband acknowledges my mood swings, but that doesn't mean he ignores them. If I have crossed a boundary with him he let's me know and I have to take responsibility for it and apologize.


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