Sunday, August 22, 2010

sickly sweet

Yesterday, my parents came into town to bring me some furniture (including my much beloved writing desk). We wanted some lunch and ended up at Cafe Nino, which was fantastic. Except, the only things I've eaten in the last...three days? are pasta, whiskey and cookies. After that huge influx of sugar and carbs, I felt awful. I gave myself an injection as soon as I got home (something I had forgotten to do that morning, in trying to get my internet provider on the phone, clean up for my parents, etc.), but it didn't help much and I sat, dizzy and pale, on my couch while my mom kept asking me, "Are you okay?" I tried drinking some coffee, which only made it worse and I started getting tunnel vision. My mom asked, "What's WRONG? Like what feels the worse? Nausea? Headache?" but it's difficult to describe that kind of malaise, that feeling of knowing something is very wrong but not in any extreme sense...just enough to be debilitating. Walking down the hall felt like a 10 mile run. My kidneys began to ache. I tried to keep out of my dad's way, since his own mother died of diabetes-related complications and, though he never talks about it, I know my blood sugar issues deeply worry him.

I'm not careful enough about what I eat because I hate HAVING to be. I HATE it. I hate thinking that eating some pasta or white bread is going to make m sick like that, because my system is just unpredictable enough that it might. Sometimes the medicine works, sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes, I could eat a pint of ice cream and feel fine and other times, I eat a few cookies and I'm throwing up with a migraine. The obvious solution is to completely cut out "bad" foods like sweets, refined sugars, etc. but that's not only difficult, it's depressing. I know it sounds whiny and stupid, saying "I feel sick, but I don't want to give up these things!" but there it is. As ridiculous as it sounds, sometimes I eat foods out of spite, because it makes me angry that I'm not supposed to have them.

This is especially odd, considering that giving up the foods that make me sick would probably greatly assist in helping me lose weight, the object of my years-long obsession. But I still don't want to do it. I don't understand my own logic (or lack thereof) here either. I baffle myself. But there is a deep-seated emotional battle when it comes to weight and blood sugar for me. It's similar to the one I went through with depression (and, to some degree, still deal with) when I knew that certain pills could probably make me feel better but they also made me feel awful in a different way, so was it worth it to take them? In the end, I decided it was not and I learned to cope in different ways (this is not to negate the effects of those pills. I had one anti-depressant that worked very well for me and I would have continued on it, had not the elevated dosage made me so sick that I could not function). The difference here is that my depression wasn't going to directly kill me (though it certainly contributed to my eating disorder, which may have contributed to the blood sugar issues and/or, ironically, the depression could have been partly due to the PCOS, as depression is a symptom), but diabetes can. I'm not diabetic but I recognize the very high potential of becoming one. The PCOS that is part of/caused by my insulin resistance could cause me to become infertile. It's not something to take lightly or take revenge against.

I'm just tired of feeling bad.


  1. hm. i have wacky blood sugar too and will feel sick/angry/cold sweaty/nauseous/incapable of eating/like i'm dying/start blacking out.... if i don't have a megadose of protein with every meal. caffeine exacerbates it. i can't even get a fancy juice at a juice bar (we have a couple in town) because for some reason, no matter what else i have with the juice, i will be shaking in 45 minutes. traveling is a huge pain in the ass because for whatever reason - eating pattern is out of whack or something? - i always get a crazy blood sugar attack and there's no food handy and we have to go hunt for whatever is going to make me feel better. and it's always inconvenient, not to mention difficult to explain because i have a hard time talking when it's going on.

    so i say this to say: i relate. and it is annoying to have to eat certain things or not eat others. and i'm not (as far as i know, although this week i was wondering if i should go see a dr about it) pre-diabetic and so there's no actual restrictions on my food intake, so i don't really know what it's like to feel deprived of foods i like.

    but. i know what makes me feel bad. and it makes me feel SO BAD. and it takes SO LONG to get back to functional when an attack like that comes on. i can't eat waffles or pancakes or more than one doughnut because it makes me feel like i'm going to die. and i apparently can never be a vegetarian because i can't find non-meat foods that keep my blood sugar steady enough. but, you know, there are much worse things in life than not being a vegetarian and having to steer clear of pancakes. and there are much worse things in life than having to eat certain things with every meal. one of which is: feeling sick because of what i did or didn't eat.

    you know what you need to do to feel good. do the thing that will make you feel good. because the alternative is to feel like ***total shit***. it's not even like you're (only) having to choose now because of long-term health consequences. it's a choice that makes you feel good or bad within half an hour! doesn't even seem like there's a real choice to make there...

  2. Short response: I know, you're right, but...

    There's a twofold response here and it's difficult for me to articulate because the whole topic is a bit confusing for me as well. It's also difficult to get into without sounding defensive, so please bear in mind that I don't feel defensive about it at all, so please don't read it that way.

    First, I feel like shit all the time. This is, in part, due to the medication I have to take to keep my insulin in check, but there is rarely a time when I am not nauseated or having a headache or so tired that I could fall over at any given time--generally it's all three. Feeling sick from eating is painful as well, but it's not more extreme, just different. Of course, because I almost routinely go on and off my medication due to this feeling, it could definitely be argued that I'm extending the symptoms, but they went on, with little ease, for three and a half months at one point. I think that's well past the adjustment period. I have had periods where I tried very hard to eat correctly and well and...I still feel awful. This isn't to say I've given up--you might remember that one of my items on my 101 in 1001 list was to start taking my medicine on the regular again and I'm working on that right now. But my threshold for feeling "good" has been lowered so significantly that it's hard to work up the willpower to give up the few things that bring me pleasure (albeit, briefly), like ice cream and fruit and coffee (your thing about juice is true for me as well--I still drink it on occasion but fruit in general makes me dizzy). I think if I felt genuinely better after doing so, I'd be way more inclined to keep on with it, but I don't.

    The other thing is that I'm loathe to go cold turkey on certain foods because I'm very adept at twisting health into deprivation and I have a very bad habit of slowly cutting everything out of my diet once I start realizing I can go without "bad" foods. This isn't an excuse; it's obviously a problem that I need to address and, the thing is, I kind of feel like I'm in a place to address is, but I'm afraid that if I try, I'll find I am not and I'll start slipping into old ED patterns. (hey run-on!)

    So yes, that combination, plus my admittedly illogical anger at my condition, all are factors in this. I'm not stupid--I know if I want to get better, I have to stop doing and eating these things but the only way for me to really convince myself to do that is with the long-term goal, because "better" doesn't really exist in the short term for me. It's difficult to resign myself to the fact that I'm going to feel like shit and throw up in public and have no relief from that and ALSO not be able to have anything I want to eat for months on end. But yes, it's something that needs to happen.

    On a side note, I don't think it would be a bad idea to go get tested and see if you're pre-diabetic, because your symptoms sound a LOT like mine.

    So, honestly, I do appreciate the concern and encouragement and I hope this doesn't put you off of offering it or make you think I'm whining with no intent to change. It's just a hard thing to explain to people because it does sound insane.

  3. nah, it doesn't sound insane at all. it makes total sense that if you eat the wrong stuff, you feel like shit...and if you eat the right feel like might as well eat the fun stuff. in your case, i think focusing on the long-term is the right thing to do. but also, i know you are sad right now - but a) it doesn't sound like you are eating much of anything at all and b) what you do eat does not exactly sound like a balanced meal. all of this is just a reminder to take care of yourself. meds too, but i just mean the basic stuff, like remembering to eat! that's like...not loving yourself.