Stress and Diabetes: Four Effective ways to Reduce Stress

It’s been a while since I wrote anything. I had the worst experience of my life and I became inactive in many ways. My son, my only child died and it would appear that a huge part of me also died on May 20, 2019. Something else happened during the grieving process. My blood sugar spiked above any numbers I have ever experienced in my life.

I will use this forum to share some information with you. Stress and the high blood sugar levels had me more worried and I was unhappy to see myself so ill and hopeless. It matters not how many people are around you. When your head hits that pillow and you start reflecting, that becomes a real stressor.

I am now totally convinced that stress can effectively erode your blood glucose efforts and leave you with way too much sugar in your blood. The trips to the bathroom alone had me more stressed and frustrated. Marry that situation to the countless nights of tossing and turning wondering why you had to be the one to experience losing your son, an only child who was a mere 21 years.

Below I will share with you some of the symptoms I experienced due to being stressed.

Some Stress Symptoms

Once I admitted that I was stressed, it was easier to make a list of the things that were relatively new and so I figured they were happening because I was feeling stressed from losing my son and watching my father losing his vision and his physical strength. Please see the list of things I experienced and some I am still experiencing after the death of my son.

  • Constantly tired and lacking the motivation to do anything.
  • Headache is a new norm.
  • Not enough sleep. My brain is always super active when I try to sleep, so I do not rest well.
  • I feel ill most days, but, can’t explain what is happening.
  • My eyes are constantly wet as I cry a lot. The littlest of thing said to me now can just leave me “bawling.”
  • I am more irritable than before. This has left me snapping at loved ones.
  • Feeling sad and maybe even a bit depressed at times.
  • Withdrawing from friends and family members. Almost like a disconnect and it certainly helps me to remain in this place when they are too busy to even notice the changes.
  • Some days I either eat too much or too little.

Help! My Son is Dead, but I am Not

Graduation from TGHS
DaMarco – Gone too soon

Hey, I am writing this article with my eyes filled with tears. I am however determined to complete and publish this article so that I can use my experiences to help someone else rise above their situation and control their blood glucose, even whilst they grieve or experience immense sadness, whatever the reason may be.

Please note that I am in my second month of trying to complete this one article. Yes, this would normally be done over a two day period. By now, some of the issues outlined above have disappeared.  I still cry, but for shorter periods.

If I could have avoided this stress, then my son, DaMarco would be one of the pallbearers at my funeral. But, that is not how it goes. Things happen and we must find ways to manage our stress and remain healthy through it all.

Rising Blood Sugar: A Dangerous Place

There were days when I tried to prevent my blood sugar from spiking to a dangerous level. Sometimes I failed, but other days I was successful. Imagine seeing your blood sugar spiked to 400+ (22+) when you are some days doing what you did before and had the readings between 98 to 110 (5.4 to 6.1). I was scared.

My eyes were blurry some days and my feet ached. My head was constantly throbbing and all the issues made me fearful that my funeral could be near. The truth be told, I am still feeling lost and I still wonder why I was not given a choice between Marc and myself. I would have gladly answered the Masters’ call and given this young man an opportunity to live and experience more.

So, here I was with the numbers climbing and also slipping habits. Yes, I was eating very differently and so one would have naturally expected spikes in my blood sugar. It was, however, a bit of an odd situation. Even when I started to eat right and take my medication, I still experienced those weird spikes.

I now knew I needed to confront my stress and find some way to cope and have more promising numbers. I also knew that I couldn’t continue with my website if my numbers were not improving. How could I share blood sugar lowering ideas when mine was out of control?

Exercise and Stress: Lower Blood Sugar

Recumbent BikeI knew that exercise made me feel better and that it had a lot of benefits, so, I got the dust off the stationary bike and started riding away. Not so easy though. I rode amidst tears and thoughts of my son. My mind remained active as I still tried to understand and to accept his death.

I blamed myself for becoming a teacher with such a small income as we get in Jamaica. My son remained in the public hospital where there was not a burnt unit and even though they did their best, I know he would have stood a better chance in the private system or in the United States of America.

Here was the challenge, there were no available ventilators in the other public hospitals or even a private hospital that was notified. Yes, you figure out the rest, there were no funds to move him to the United States and he also could not take the journey because he was so unstable.

This added to my stress and all these thoughts bombarded me as I rode. I however continued, sometimes angrily, again with tear-filled eyes. I noticed in a few days, as I continued to cycle, that the anger was disappearing and I had more positive thoughts.

One thing was for sure, I wanted to live. My life also needed to be of quality and I wanted to continue to teach and impact lives. I wanted to write and help others to see that there was hope and that there was absolutely no reason to fear diabetes and that it could at least be controlled. So, I continued to ride my bike as my head cleared.

Within days I was calmer, still highly emotional, but I noticed a drop in my blood glucose level. I was not yet at a normal or close to normal reading, but, I was seeing a move in a positive direction. This for me was a “cloud with a silver lining.” My tunnel was now lit and I knew I could not turn back at this stage. I also was loving my mood again.

Allow me to share some links to other articles that could help if you need to be more serious about exercising for better health. Please follow the links and read the articles.

Please allow me to share that when I finally started riding to reduce the stress I was feeling, many days I felt exhausted after only 2 minutes. I continued and now it is easy for me to ride for 20 minutes. I also try to ride more than once per day to increase the time spent riding and most importantly it makes me feel better overall.

Reduce Work-Related Stress

Work-related stress can be a real backbreaker. For me, this got so bad that I contemplated finding another job. Don’t get me wrong here. I went to work already stressed, but, I had one person who just sent my stress level above the roof. Here it was that I was dealing with the death of my son and this person was wasting my precious time with trivial matters.

I’ve always resented laziness and even in my stressed-out situation, I still hated the fact this person was so lazy and kept making excuses. How could I make this one person cause me to leave a job that I love dearly? I reached out to people higher up on the organization chart. Yes, they listened, but I felt that once I walked away, that was it.

Okay, so I quickly realized that my peace will come from within. I also knew that I was stressed and no doubt had a zero-tolerance approach. My only method of coping after asking co-workers to intervene was to just back off and to have very little professionally to do with this person.

That is working beautifully. I now see that person trying harder to achieve. It is however sad that sometimes when we are down, that is when others launch their attacks. Remember too that our own mental state also read more into things when we are stressed.

Reducing Emotional and Mental Stress

These were the ones that made me felt like I could go crazy. The constant bawling, the headaches, the extremely sad and lonely feelings, coupled with a lack of desire to keep pushing for the things I once desired. I was scared at how quickly I transformed into someone who couldn’t care less about most things around me. If you know me well, you would know that this is totally out of character.

I was always learning something new. I believed in lifelong learning. I felt that with God’s help and a lot of focussed hard work I could achieve whatever I said I would. I cared about people in general. What was happening to me? Why was I feeling so strange? Why was I pretending to be happy? Why suddenly the world seemed to be against me? Why was EVERYTHING going all sour around me? At least, that is how it felt.

You guessed correctly. My emotional and mental being needed help. I was stuck in crisis mode and I needed out. I love the Internet. Yes, that is why I am also writing this article. I know I have a responsibility to use my experiences to help others and I figured others have traveled this road, so I started searching for help. Yes, I was praying, but I also needed to take some responsibility for my mental and emotional health.

My research led me to deep breathing exercises and a lot of meditation. I started to take deep breaths, had more pleasant thoughts and I would just drive to the beach on my way from work and just allowed the wind to blow in my face as I praised God for His continued Grace and Mercies. I was forcing positive thoughts to the forefront and I was taking deep breaths and my world was returning.

Conclusion

The light at the end of the tunnel is that my glucose was more controlled in time and today I am able to complete this article because I can testify that stress does impact our blood sugar levels, but there are things we can do to reduce those numbers.

Exercise, meditation and a recognition that you are emotionally and mentally bankrupt will help you to get to that place of sweet peace and reduced numbers. Having a job means that we interact with people and they do not necessarily have our interest at heart. Knowing this and choosing your battles carefully will also lead to that sweet peace arena.

Maybe you lost a child or a loved one. I am truly sorry for your loss. Please know that there is hope. You are alive, so enjoy every minute that you are given. Be comforted in knowing that we serve a mighty and caring God. Yes, even though death walked through your home. Be at peace.

Until when next we “meet”, please continue the fight to rid your life of diabetes and may you find your place of “sweet peace.”

Please see below for my contact details and please subscribe for more information. Sweet Peace is yours, just act now.

 

Contact Information for Josephine Crawford
Contact Information

To My Readers

I know I promised a recumbent bike review and I will deliver soon. I just needed this ice-breaker. Thanks for understanding and I appreciate you.

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12 Comments


  1. // Reply

    Oh wow! What a powerful article! I’m glad you were finally able to finish it, and it has definitely been worth the wait. I know others who have lost a child, and there’s just no way to describe the pain. My two boys are physically healthy, but – being a mom – I have those nightmares. You actually lived through one. I know it’s ongoing, but you’re alive! Kicking! Riding! Writing! You are setting a magnificent example for everyone experiencing any kind of stress. God bless you for being you!


    1. // Reply

      Thanks for the kind words and I do appreciate the time you took to not just read, but to also make a comment. Yes, I give God and only God alone the Praise. I will continue to help others as long as God so desires. Be blessed and continued success.


  2. // Reply

    This was an incredible read! Firstly, I would like to say how sorry I am for your loss. You are so strong and what you are doing is remarkable. Thank you so much for putting the knowledge you have out there for others to learn from. You are an inspiration.


    1. // Reply

      Your words are kind and truly warms my heart. Do know that you are appreciated. Thanks for stopping to read and make a comment. Much appreciated and I pray continued success in your journey. Be blessed.


  3. // Reply

    Hi Jo. I had to take the time to read this heart tugging and emotional spilling of your soul. I truly empathize with you and can commiserate with your experience. I have been working through a traumatic experience myself and these things shake your core and rock your foundation. You are required to stand firmly and dig deep within to tap into your coping skills. The road to recovery is slow….but if we take it a step at a time, we will be victorious. Peace my friend.


    1. // Reply

      My friend, thank you. I am delighted that you took the time to read and comment, even though you have your own story. Allow me to also encourage you to keep fighting for your peace and your “sweet spot.” Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help you in your journey. Continued blessing my friend.


  4. // Reply

    I am so proud of you for being able to finish this, you did a great job getting your thoughts out – sometimes it just takes us a little longer than usual, and that’s okay! I have a very close friend and also a family member who struggle with this every single day and I can’t even begin to imagine the struggle. I will be sharing your post with them and I wish you all the best <3


  5. // Reply

    Such a powerful post. Firstly, I am so sorry for your loss. Losing a child is the worst thing in the world a parent could go through. I’m glad you were able to get through sharing this post and pushed forward under such awful circumstances. Unfortunately, you learned the hard way how stress can affect your diabetes. However, with your insight, knowledge and lived experience you can also share how powerful stress can impact sugar levels. Finding exercise as an outlet for managing your emotions as well as lowering sugar levels has been very effective and therapeutic for you. I hope your message here can be found by anyone who experiences stress to help them manage their sugar levels.


    1. // Reply

      Thank you Kat. It is indeed a really bad experience, but I give God the glory for His continued guidance and His everlasting love. He is indeed my source. Yes, I am praying that as I continue to heal and control my blood sugar, that I will help others by sharing my experiences about the effect of stress on diabetes. Your kind words are appreciated and I pray for continued success in all your endeavors. Peace.


  6. // Reply

    Oh, Josephine, my heart aches for you.

    I am so thankful you’ve been able to share your story. The loss of a child is unimaginable pain. I lost my younger brother at 37 years of age and watched my mother go through what you did.

    I’m diabetic myself and know how stress affects our blood sugar levels. I’m happy to hear you’re getting yours under control.

    I’m also very happy to hear of your faith, which is something we all need to cling to through these dark times. Our Lord still has a plan for you. And I’m sure helping others through their grief is a big part of that.

    Your son is home with his Lord now and no longer suffering. You will see him again!!

    Blessings on you,
    Suzanne


    1. // Reply

      Suzanne, I do appreciate the time you took to read and to make a comment. I am sorry to hear about your brother and I speak peace into your mom’s life. Do give her my regards. I know she will continue to feel that pain, but I trust God that it is more bearable every day she gets out of bed.

      My Faith in God is taking me through. I talk with Him throughout the day and I now hear Him more than before. The truth be told is that He now has my full attention.

      Suzanne, is your diabetes control? Do you mind sharing with us how you managed the stress of losing a brother and watching your mom hurting? What are you doing to control diabetes when you are stressed?

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