Having a Parent with T1d1

My father has had type 1 diabetes since he was a little kid. There are times where I felt I had to grow up fast because he had type 1 diabetes. Some of my earliest memories are of my dad going “low.” I should also prefis that when my dad goes low he more often then not he goes strait to having seizures. When I was little I was in a car accident with my dad when he went low. Later in life I remember having to go to the bedroom with my younger sister when an ambulance had to come and take care of my dad, many instances of that really. I have had to call 911 for help since I was a little girl because of this. When I graduated high school I spent an hour of my family grad party crying in the back seat of a car by myself because my father went low. He didn’t have seizures this time but going low made him act as if drunk and I didn’t want to burden anyone with the pain or fear I was feeling. When I graduated college I spent my family party in constant fear of the past repeating.

I’m in my early 20s now and I still get really affected by my dad going low, even just the fear and anxiety of him possibly going low (I should note I am currently living with my parents). It feels like I am carriend all this emotional baggage and I don’t know how to articulate that to my dad and my mom. Most of the time this isn’t thier fault but there are also times that despite how much i love and respect him. I am angry at my dad for missing meals or not taking better care of himself. I am not only scared when he goes low but also I feel contempt torward my dad at times. I feel like like he doesn’t see how him ignoring his health can hurt others around him.

I am writing this actually after my dad went low, having seizures. Usually I get woken up in the middle of the night with my mom screaming for me to help. This was no different. Tonight was also following a previous week full of “lows.” My dad uses a pump now, which has helped a bit, but two weeks ago the needle was messed up and long story short he went low 4 nights in a row. That was fixed but now he had another episode, not related to the pump, and I am tired of holding in all these feeling for what I have always felt was to the benefit of my parents. This expecially due to the fact that he always goes low this time of year due to his over working himself at our church’s fish fry… Making this particular low epidode somewhat an annual thing.

Whenever my dad does go low my mom tends to know what to do and how to react despite the way he behaves or if he’s having seizures which is usually what happens when he goes low. My younger sister was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes about 7 years ago and so she also has his connection with him and being able to understand what to do in signs of to look for in order to help him when he goes low. Meanwhile, I am constantly fearful of my dad having seizures from going low and not being able to help him. Whenever it’s just him and me in the house I’m fearful of sleeping through one of his hypoglycemic episodes. If there are times I think he is getting low I feel contempt, and then guilt for that contempt, when he does not take this seriously and/or refuses to test his blood sugar. These fears, of my dad going low and having his siezers, at times can keep me up well into the night… Haunted by fears of the future as well as scars from the past.

Anyway I just wanted to reach out to other kids who had a parent with t1d. I have spent so many nights crying quietly alone not wanting to bother others with the emotions I was feeling. I know this isn’t something my dad has much control over but I also don’t know how to deal with the emotional bagage I feel I am carrying. Is there a way you deal with the stress and anxiety? Am I not alone in feeling this two sided coin (anxiety, fear, anger/ then guilt for having those feelings)? How do you deal with the fears and anxieties and how, or do you, share that with your parents? Have you lost sleep to worry, oradrenalin from a incident; Or because no matter how many times it happens or how old you fet, watching your parent sucoming to sesizres and dealing with all the emtions you feel still rattles your nerves once you are back to being alone with your thoughts?

Thanks. Sorry for the ramble. Thanks again.

@Daughtero hi Kate, welcome to TypeOneNation

first I want to state that I am a parent with T1, Not the way you asked but the other way around.

I get it and I need to say that I try very hard not to burden my wife or my son, for fear they will “take on” the grief of diabetes the way I am forced to. I always felt that they should not bear this stress… honestly I shouldn’t have to either but if I don’t I’ll die… but for them I have to do everything in my power to take care of myself because I want, more than anything else, to be part of their lives for as long as I am able to.

I realized before I met either of them, that taking care of myself is something I do for me, but since I am not an Island, that other people care a lot about me and by my taking care of myself, I am respecting me and them as well.

The opposite is also true. If i neglect or not test or take my insulin on purpose, I am disrespecting myself and them. I am treating them in a way they should not be treated. Ever.

There is a lot of psychology as to why someone would not take insulin, not test, allow themselves to be high or low to the point of damage. I’m a mechanic not a head doctor so let me just say that I neglected my diabetes for a very long time but have found help and no longer do that.

When I changed, I needed to make amends to everyone that I hurt, by not taking care of myself. This also healed me and further grounded me as to why it’s all important.

Your dad may have problems that go beyond how we can help you. It would be great to tell him exactly how you feel, but please do not bank the whole rest of your life on him changing on your time frame. You have to be OK no matter what the people in your life are doing, even when what they are doing is hurtful or damaging to themselves.

Please don’t take this the wrong way. I hear you. I can’t change your Dad. You are here because YOU are the one looking for help. I respect that and honor it. It is frightening. It is a very brave thing you are doing.

In my opinion, therapy would help you a great deal. If you have access to it, I suggest you talk to someone about this 1:1. Another great place to get help is CODA. Codependents anonymous offers help in relationships where you may be trying to help by going beyond what you can support… with the result being that you are hurting yourself.

Just like talking to your Dad, you have to state your feelings and then let go of the results. I stated my feelings. They are just my feelings. I hope you find peace. I hope like heck I didn’t offend you and that you’ll hang around and talk about your issues - but if i did…

take care of yourself.