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The Anxiety Factor

It’s amazing what a few SWAG-free days can uncover.

Since last Monday, I’ve been (almost) meticulously counting every single carbohydrate I eat. I’ve noticed what may be an overzealous dinnertime insulin-to-carbohydrate ratio. I’ve noticed recurring trends in the late morning and early evening. And I’ve noticed that the rises I used to pin on carbohydrate miscalculations are probably not carb-related at all.

It’s not artisan sandwich bread or exotic sushi rolls that are to blame — it’s my good friend anxiety.

I’ve always read about the ways that mood can influence blood sugar levels — and vice versa — but I never thought they’d be enough to influence my numbers (or CGM graphs) on a day-to-day basis. But yesterday, after several hours of uncomfortable meetings, the unrest I’d felt all afternoon was plain to see on my pump screen — and my meter. Sure enough, about 45 minutes after my first meeting had begun, the line on my CGM graph had taken a 95-degree turn north. Four hours and two meetings later, I was still hanging out in the low 200s.

The only other time I’ve really noticed this trend is on weekends, particularly Saturday mornings. It’s not unusual for me to begin the weekend in the low 70s. And even after my requisite bowl of cereal and string cheese stick, even after I’ve spent an hour watching DIY network in my pajamas, even after bolusing as modestly as possible — I’m still on the low side of normal. Contrast that to a typical weekday, when I can slink out of bed with a blood sugar in the high 50s, and depend on nothing more than the ritual panic of a Tuesday morning to send my numbers into the 100s before I’m even out of the shower. Make that the 200s if I can’t decide what to wear.

The more I think about it, the more pathetically fragile all this makes me feel. To be sure, I lead a pretty drama-free life. I have a great job working with great people. I don’t have kids to feed Pop Tarts to or cart to school in the mornings, and my commute to work is less than a mile long. All this anxiety is in my head — and subsequently, my liver, my bloodstream, and on the screen of my blood sugar meter.

The most frustrating (and anxiety-inducing) part of the whole equation is that there’s no bolus for the freak-outs. I can’t pull out my shiny new kitchen scale and weigh my angst or stress in grams or ounces. All I can do is bolus, re-check, and get on with life. And, hopefully, chill the hell out.

Image via the ever-hilarious Natalie Dee.

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