Teen Topic 35: This week’s question comes to us from the mom of a 10 year old: “How do you explain to your friends that sometimes when you are low or high you have less patience, get angry, or other mood symptoms? My son doesn’t want to blame his diabetes, but he would like them to understand.”

Cameron (age 17)
When I was younger, most of my friends already knew I had diabetes, and I usually didn’t act that different when I was low or high. But if I were in that situation, I would just tell them about my diabetes and the effects it can have on me. I mean it’s something you have to live with nor can you control it, so that’s what I would do.

Nick (age 19)
I’m not sure about 10 year olds, but I usually just tell people exactly what is going on. Sometimes, I get so hungry I feel like I’m literally starving. Other times, I have so much sugar in my blood I feel awful.

Claire (age 17)
Honestly, I blame the diabetes, because that’s the cause. There’s no reason to hide what it is.

Ashley B. (age 15)
I explain my symptoms to my friends when I start to go high or low. They’ll see the gradual change in my behavior and know if I need to eat or give a shot.

Ian (age 14)
I really can’t answer this one truthfully, because I don’t have many problems with mood caused by blood sugar. The one suggestion I do have is to make sure that blood sugar is a possible factor before blaming it. (i.e. if it is 130, then it’s probably not blood sugar)

Lexi (age 15)
For me, when I have a low blood sugar that’s when it affects my mood. I try to tell people that I’m having a sugar low and then I just stuff my face with food until I feel better.

Jessica (age 20)
I don’t recall if I have explained to friends that young how I felt and how my mood changes with high and low blood sugars other than “I don’t feel well”. However, I do use an analogy when I give speeches and talks which you may find useful and I recommend asking your kids if they feel the same. Diabetes is like a light dimmer switch: when my blood sugar is high, the dimmer is turned all the way up and the light is too bright, causing headaches and not feeling well. On the other hand, when my blood sugar is low, the dimmer is turned down and I feel lethargic (sometimes anxious or impatient). This analogy is free for any and all to use, as well as modify to your personal symptoms. Hope this helps!

Jordan (age 18)
You should just explain how when other people feel sick they don’t have the same patience, so when your blood sugar is off it’s like being sick and you don’t have patience.

Mercedes (age 16)
When your child is talking to a friend about his/her diabetes they can mention the signs of a low or a high and add in that they could be rude or upset at the time. So then they don’t have to explain it when it happens, they already know.

Erin (age 17)
I have anxiety and depression so it’s hard for my friends to understand how I act overall sometimes, and when my sugars are bad it’s even worse. I just talk through my feelings to my friends and those that care stay around and listen, others just leave if it’s too much for them to listen to. Your son could try explaining that sometimes he feels one way but is acting another way because of his diabetes, or just say tell his friends it’s been a hard day because my sugar is high or low. I’ve had to blame diabetes a few times, and people are very understanding of what is going on and offer support.

Ashley C. (age 14)
I tell my friends after it happens if my blood sugar was one of the extremes, and then I apologize for acting the way I did. Most of my friends understand and when they see me acting like that, they ask me to check.
Skylyn (age 16)
Well, sometimes you have to blame your diabetes. Maybe don’t be so serious about it but you have to tell them that sometimes when you have high or low blood sugars, your mood can change. Then they will understand and not be upset with you. They won’t know unless you tell them.
Laura (age 16)
I never explain to them while I’m having mood swings during the time period my sugar is being weird, but if I end up being really rude I usually apologize and explain that my sugar was out of whack when it happened. I don’t like blaming diabetes for when I act out of line either, but sometimes that really is the case and there’s no other explanation.


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