Too Hard on Myself

Balancing blood sugar numbers can be an emotional roller coaster.

Diabetes Management PlanBy Scott Johnson

November 2008 — For those of us living with diabetes, each and every day is full of decisions, calculations, estimates, guesses, then we look at these results and often self-judges with phrases that use words like "right" or "wrong."

We have often been told not to attach any emotional meaning to our numbers.  We are not supposed to feel that a high or low blood sugar is "bad," or that our target range numbers are "good."  There is no right or wrong, instead it is just information that we can use to help make decisions on what to do next.  I totally agree with this idea, but find it much easier to say than to do.  I think that it comes down to many of us being way too hard on ourselves.  
There are situations where I have set myself up for high or low blood sugar numbers (by being very sloppy in my carb counting, or succumbing to the rage/serial blousing, or even over treating a low blood sugar).  Feeling crummy from that kind of stuff sucks, and even though I know why it happened, I feel very down.  It is a very emotional feeling, as if I feel like I lack the willpower to "be good."  I feel that I am not mentally strong enough to fight the urges and compulsions that drive the decisions I made.  That leaves me feeling very weak and small, and unable to beat diabetes.

There are the situations where I've done everything by the books and for whatever reason I am dealt these high or low blood sugar numbers.  Those tend to piss me off and make me angry.  The first thing that comes to mind is "what did I do wrong?"

Do you see that?  I did everything I was supposed to, and yet I'm looking to place the blame right back on myself when it doesn't work out.  Even though I know very well that diabetes doesn't always follow the rules.   Why do I need to blame myself then?

For some reason I think this is all quite natural for so many of us.  But why is that?  It is such a destructive behavior and doesn't help us at all.  And what exactly made it natural to feel that way?  Is that just how it is, or has that been drilled into our minds over the years? 

I'm not sure.  What I do know is that I am WAY too hard on myself.   It makes me feel bad and brings me down, which leads to more comfort eating and blood sugar roller coaster rides, which in turn makes me feel bad.  It is a vicious cycle.

I am determined to ease up on this.  I need to be more patient with myself, be more forgiving and less eager to blame something (by keeping in mind that diabetes doesn't always cooperate), and work towards a more positive outlook on these types of days. 

Sometimes being angry can motivate you and push you past some barriers.  But other times being angry can start you down that destructive downward spiral.   I don't know about you, but I'm getting tired of dealing with my own negativity, and I'm working to turn it around more often.

Visit Scott's blog.


dLife's Viewpoints columnists are not all medical experts, but everyday people living with diabetes and sharing their personal experiences, most often at a set point in time. While their method of diabetes management may work for them, everyone is different. Please consult with your diabetes care team before acting on anything you read here to find out what will work best for you.

Last Modified Date: June 11, 2013

All content on is created and reviewed in compliance with our editorial policy.

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