Hypoglycemia, a story

The more I learn about alternative mental health care the more I read again and again that hypoglycemia can be a major source and/or contributor of mood “disorders” I’ve known for many years that I am hypoglycemic. I start to get cranky, light headed and often have a general feeling of malaise when I don’t eat often enough. On occasion I will feel a little revved up or perhaps mildly hypomanic when I don’t eat.

I’ve also learned that most psych meds including antidepressants but especially neuroleptics can permanently mess with blood sugar. Of course, neuroleptics can cause hyperglycemia and diabetes which are much more dangerous than hypoglycemia.

In any case my hypoglycemia over the last year and a half has gotten much worse in that I simply cannot tolerate going without eating for any length of time anymore. I actually need to eat every 2 to 3 hours and if I don’t I really start feeling a bit batty and really quite physically ill as well.

The most embarrassing moment due to my hypoglycemia happened yesterday because even though I know this about myself I fail to prepare myself well and in advance if I’m to be out or away from somewhere with easily accessible food. Many, many times I’ve had to stop everything I’m doing when I’m out shopping to stop and get something to eat. I usually run to a gas station and get some nuts. Or if I’m in town I’ll run to the local health food store where there is an all day buffet and I can get a small salad with beans and cheese or maybe a bit of meat for about $2.50. (you pay by the pound—so it’s a great place for a very small but essential meal)

Anyway yesterday I had an appointment for neurofeedback and it took me 20 minutes more than usual to get there because of all the lovely Christmas consumers returning their gifts or going for the sales blocking traffic completely on my way to the office. Since I was 15 minutes late the appointment ran late. I had to next go to a chiropractor whom I’d never met and I didn’t have much time to get there. As I head in the direction of the office (in the next town) it struck me, “shit I need to eat before I get there!” So I started to scope out the area for anywhere I might buy some nuts or cheese or get a really small meal. I didn’t know the area and after stopping at one (closed) gas station, ran out of options and ended up at the chiropractor on time, but in hypoglycemic hell. I really can’t tell you how awful it is but I knew I couldn’t stay for my appointment unless they fed me!

I walked in to this office where I’d never met anyone and said, “I’m so sorry, this probably sounds crazy, but I can’t stay here unless I get something to eat. I have hypoglycemia.” The woman who was behind the counter jumped to attention. She was wonderful. She said she might have some protein bars and went about looking for them. She offered me a piece of candy which I had to apologize and say sugar was not a good idea. She did not have food. I said, I’m really sorry but I’m going to have to leave. She said leave and come back. Really? I said. Absolutely! We don’t want you here sick.

So she told me where I could get the closest snack and I ran off and fed myself and then returned and had my chiropractic visit. The doctor was incredibly nice too. He went way overtime with me and did not treat me like I was a nut.

For hypoglycemia the best most stable source to boost sugar levels in such a way as for it to last is protein. I like to do protein and a piece of fruit or veggie to get in a stable carbohydrate as well. Some orthomolecular doctors swear that changing just how often you eat, (and what you eat) can cure what ails you in the mood problem department. It certainly seems that if I stay on top of it I’m much, much better off.

Final note: I needed to see a chiropractor because the withdrawals are causing me very uncomfortable back pain and tension. The doctor was good and totally blissed me out. And I was a stress case when I walked in there (hypoglycemia and running late to all my appointments will do it—I’m a punctuality freak)

8 thoughts on “Hypoglycemia, a story

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  1. w,
    if you’re only eating twice a day and small amounts at that, you might find that if you eat good whole foods every couple of hours and don’t eat junk that you might not need Effexor!!

    Hypoglycemia especially and unhealthy diet in general can reek havoc on mood and anxiety.

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  2. i’m glad i found this blog…i too suffer with the same illness as well as being bipolar..or chronic anxieties..the doc can’t decide which at the moment..but one or the other..he hates to attach lables ,so he prescribed effexor and it’s working great.. i also have hypoglycemia and hadn’t thought about it til now,but i’ve been feeling light headed and foggy for a long long time ona daily basis and considered it to be my other ailment(s)..now i’m convinced to try eating more often to see if that’s the problem( ie NOT eating ).
    i only eat about twice a day,,small meals..maybe i’d better take eating more serously/. i’m glad i ran into this blog. i’ll be coming back frequently.

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  3. oh no, that does not sound awful. It sounds lovely!! i want to get a juicer.

    I actually went to a health food store today and had a kale, parsley, spinach, celery and cumcumber juice….wowee…intense!!!

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  4. I actually eat bananas quite a bit based solely on instinct. They do make me feel good.

    As far as juice goes—only veggie juice and I love it! Fruit juice is just too sweet. What I do like to do is have about a quarter cup of juice with about 12 ounces of water. That is yummy and refreshing!

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  5. this isn’t a scientific comment, but as far as bananas go; it is what many musicians eat before a performance, it helps calms the nerves, and interesting to note, bananas have a “natural” form of Prozac in the chemistry. besides the potassium. in the afternoon about 2-3pm it helps to drink a high potassiuam based drink; spinach,carrot, apple, etc. many times, this is what ppl need, as a boost. juice ‘bars’ or at home machines for fresh pressed nutrients work.

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  6. one time I went shopping to the mall of america and i nearly passed out. that place is so huge and i nearly got dizzy from too much walking and not eating. Thankfully they have lots of benches around to sit. People just can’t comprehend fatigue unless they’ve lived through the constant energy drains themselves. Bananas are a great quick pick me upper.

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  7. I can totally relate. sugar has been a major source of my depression since i was 7. Alternative Medicine has a great article in the Jan issue “Confessions of a Sugar Freak”. That magazine always covers lots of good alternatives for mental health.

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