A while ago I was in hospital for a random rash I had, well still have, and while I was there I had my blood sugar checked.
Bearing in mind before I say ANYTHING and before anyone comments, while I was there, I had not engaged in any eating disordered behaviours or periods of lack of food for around two years. I had been eating more than I ever had and eating very regularly and still gaining weight from recovery (around 1kg a year, almost exactly which was funny to me because I couldn’t do it exactly if I tried and believe me I did try to alter my weight exactly when I had eating disorders, first bulimia and then anorexia, it’s impossible). I was a super healthy weight and definitely eating enough, I was definitely eating enough because I was gaining weight, I had gained over BMI 20 and was still gaining. You’ll see why this is important later.
Anyway, I was at the hospital and they checked my blood sugar and it was 3.2. We measure in different units in the UK, it’s 57.6 US. Pretty darn low.
So they asked me had I eaten today, yes, I had, and asked me if I was still acting on any ED behaviours, no I wasn’t. So they gave me glycogen packs, and biscuits, and it would rise slightly, before jumping straight back down to 3.
I started feeling better when I realised it was that, because I’ve been having these killer headaches, weird vision problems, palpitations, weird anxiety that is more irritability anxiety, tremors, and if it lasts for a while, I get INCREDIBLE tiredness and I just have to sleep, all of which I’ve been to the doctors for, and had tests like ECG’s for my heart and all they’ve ever said is, “It’s super fast, but it looks healthy”. These palpitations have been doing my head in because they wake me up in the morning, and they stay that way until 12pm almost exactly. My heart rate was 127 bpm at the doctors last week, my normal heart rate is around 70.
I couldn’t understand why, when I ate more, i.e when I do not have an eating disorder, this stuff gets worse.
When I restrict my calories, this stuff seems to get a lot better which made no sense, and no one has EVER believed me. Although my nurse believes some of it now because I’ve proven it to her. When I restrict I start sleeping better, palpitations don’t wake me up and I don’t have weird ass nightmares, I feel less like I’m on a rollercoaster with my irritability and less anxiety, I have SO MUCH less anxiety, I don’t have these weird episodes of I-have-to-fall-asleep-right-now as much.
But wait, because if I’m restricting my blood sugar would be lower right and I’m more likely to get crashes, so this can’t have anything to do with restricting can it?
Well, because of the low blood sugar, I got a blood sugar monitor, so I could a, work out, what the heck is going on, and b, fix my issue, so if I felt like crap and it was because my blood sugar was low, well, there’s an easy solution for that. Eat something, plus because you know I still have ED crap in my head despite eating like a normal person if I had to eat because my blood sugar was low, the anxiety of seeing my blood sugar being low would overpower the anxiety of don’t eat anything else or you’ll get fat. Now because I also feel like crap for all different reasons, I needed the monitor to know which issue it was.
What I didn’t expect to happen was seeing that I actually also struggle with high blood sugar, especially during the day.
I woke up with a blood sugar of 12 (216) which I decided to test after being woken up with a pounding heart, which was a fasting measurement because I’d just woken up which is WAY too high for a person without diabetes fasting blood sugar test.
I carried on monitoring it for a couple of weeks. It seems to be that it’s very often high in the day time, and then it goes down to normal around 12-2pm time it’ll go up again if I eat something carby, and often it’ll come down too far after dinner and late at night giving me the hypoglycaemia I suffered in the hospital. My body likes to chuck out a bunch of insulin all at once, probably the stuff it should have given me earlier in the day. I have insulin lag.
Suddenly a lot of things started to instantly make sense for me. Why I cannot eat intuitively ever, I force myself to eat all day because I feel so not hungry that I feel physically sick, but I see food like meds and eat anyway, and why I get what I thought was “binge hunger” at night time, despite the fact I’m a healthy weight and I have eaten ALL DAY. I get so darn hungry.
People say, “Oh you WILL get hungry for breakfast/lunch if you eat breakfast/lunch everyday”, and I didn’t and I really did eat them EVERYDAY. I just kept feeling sick as a dog until around 2-4pm. Now, thanks to the monitor I know, the only time I ever get hungry in the day time is when my blood sugar is normal, and I do have days where it is normal if I have restricted the day before.
Everyone told me “Oh but, it’s IMPOSSIBLE. If you eat enough in the day time this definitely doesn’t happen” and I’m sitting here like, fine, okay. It doesn’t happen I’m obviously making this crap up because I don’t want to eat anything (I can really understand them thinking that but it got annoying once I reached a healthy weight and it was still happening and getting worse, and they still wouldn’t believe me), and then go home and suffer the same thing everyday with no one listening to me.
It’s not binge hunger at all, it’s “My blood sugar is dangerously low, I need to eat or I might pass out or go unconscious” hunger my body is giving me.
So I was sat on the kitchen floor the other night after my headache woke me up at 2am with a blood sugar of 3.2, eating a nutella bready bar (this is the best invention ever by the way), a peanut butter cereal bar, and peanut butter on bread (Yeah I still love the stuff), while I felt like I was going to pass out, with the worst headache I’ve ever had in my life, trembling and sweating and thought, but this IS my binge hunger. This is exactly what my “bulimia” binge hunger ALWAYS has been. It hasn’t ever been anything different. Most of my binges were not binge hunger at all, I think I just was experiencing hypoglycaemia, and BECAUSE I have to eat a lot to get my blood sugar up, evident by being in hospital, I got guilty about how much I used to eat because you know, mental health issues and body issues and yes I did also have an eating disorder, I felt like I had to restrict, to purge, I did have all the other symptoms of having bulimia and anorexia. I haven’t been misdiagnosed.
Restricting my calories seemed to work for me because the first thing I restrict when I experience ED stuff is, can you guess what? Carbohydrates. They are the first thing to get sanctioned faster than the tories sanction people with their benefit ban hammer. So I feel better because my blood sugar isn’t going crazy.
I ate a pizza the other day and my blood sugar was amazingly high, probably shouldn’t have eaten the whole thing but you know, pizza is life.
So since the pizza, I’ve been monitoring my carbohydrate intake, and following guidelines for that, and I do tend to eat well over it normally, because I am a savoury toothed carb fiend. If I have beans on toast for instance, usually I have two slices of toast, and then another two slices of bread to dip into the beans because I hate that there’s too much liquid so I mop it up with more bread because I love bread. Same with soup, easily get through 4/5 slices of bread. My favourite is the malted grain from Asda’s special range, oh it is heavenly. I eat entire pizza’s to myself, I weighed my chips the other day, usually I have at least 3 portions worth of chips. I basically eat carbs all the live long day even if I’m not hungry because I know I have to, and mostly to excess. It’s weird to talk about what I eat because I always thought if I ate that way I’d gain super amounts of weight but I didn’t.
I need to actually gain weight right now though because I lost some weight even, so I guess I’m going to add more protein and fat and curb my carbohydrates (But yes I am still eating them but I’m using portion control from what it says on the packet and on this app I have). It has made a difference. Yesterday it was a little high because I had fruit bread and slightly extra carbs to walk up the giant hill to where the mental health clinic is and I was stressed because I had to go see my psychiatrist, but I haven’t seen a 12 since, Saturday and Sunday when I was quite careful it stayed within completely normal limits.
It’s weird because I always get lactose intolerance symptoms when I have too much sugar especially apple juice and stuff like that but I never really got why, it’s like exactly the same symptoms. I figured it was a sugar alcohol intolerance because my daughter gets lactose intolerance symptoms (she has been diagnosed with that) when she has sorbitol or mannitol or any of the sugar alcohol fiends. Poor thing, she loves squash (cordial stuff not the vegetable), but it’s actually hard to get squash now that’s made with sugar and not what her body thinks are powerful laxatives. I can have them though, I say while drinking a litre of lemon and lime squash and puffing on my high VG Smok vape pen.
I had a blood test today, but I’ve been careful so I doubt they’ll notice anything. Think I need one of those glucose chugging tests or something. It does come down though they don’t stay high all day or anything, unless I’m in crazy stress like when I had my wisdom teeth out at the dentist a couple of weeks ago, or when there was a shadow on my lung x-ray (it had disappeared on my second).
So I guess, if this is STILL happening to you and no one believes you like they didn’t believe me, check your blood sugar. It might even have something to do with why I had an eating disorder to begin with and why restricting gave me so much energy and relief.
Now I know that though, and why it feels so darn good, I can monitor my carb intake and still eat normal calories and have the best of both worlds.
But please, someone tell me, what else can I put peanut butter on? Because I’m going to need to eat that.
Categories: mental health