hello @ryansmith welcome to the forum.
I can’t tell you exactly what is in your son’s head, but I was diagnosed just before my 13th birthday and I can tell you what I remember about my journey and maybe that’ll help you. His behavior around testing reminded me of my past.
When I was diagnosed, I didn’t have the language to talk about what I was going through, and your description made me think about my own teen years. All through my young adult life, I would get upset and defensive about my diabetes. If I had to describe how it felt to me as a teen, I would say that I wanted everyone to leave me alone so that I could pretend I was just like everyone else. It was so important for me to get back to normal that I was willing to do anything to not remind myself that I was not normal anymore. Looking back as an adult, I would say that as a teen I was devastated about being singled out and having to deal with diabetes, when everyone else had it so easy. I felt abandoned and lied to by my parents. Up to the moment I was told I had diabetes, I believed that my parents could fix anything. I could not imagine there was anything in the world that they could not “make go away” and even if there was, well then a doctor could fix ANYTHING else. I was even more dismayed by the absolute failure of the doctors who got very quiet and whispered to my parents. It was terrifying to me. I was alone. I have 3 brothers and a sister and yet I was alone. I had friends in school but I was alone. I was lost and there was no way back. My father failed me, as did science, and my faith, and no matter what they said my heart was broken and I was by myself.
Of course, I was a teen. Up to that moment I only really cared about having a jean jacket and the right kind of boots. The idea of being sick forever or dying was just simply impossible to me. I thought 50 years old was ancient and I liked sports cars and dogs. Now this same kid has to wrap their head around a chronic illness, a disease that was never going to go away. It truly was a tough time, and something I could not ever have imagined before. In my 20’s I developed a feeling of “even this couldn’t kill me”, so I also thought I was indestructible at the time. As a young adult I escaped using drugs and alcohol to avoid any feelings I had regarding my isolation and anger, and I did as little as possible in treating my diabetes to stay alive. It was an awful time for me.
Your kid suffered a major loss. Grieving that loss is a process that involves anger, guilt, denial, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. It affects different people in different ways and I’m not saying your son is like me, in fact I hope he does not shut down and he finds the support he needs to talk this out, so that it doesn’t affect his life. I closed inward on myself after diagnosis. This thing affected my life and my relationships for decades, before I hurt enough to get help.
Depression is very common with diabetes and in my opinion, something I recommend you watch for in your son. It took me many years to accept my loss of good health, and to start taking the best care of myself that I can. I did many years of work in therapy to uncover my fears, my bad self-esteem, and the triggers for my anxiety and depression. This work helped me discover the core reasons why I thought diabetes was a punishment I didn’t deserve, why I rebelled against everyone and everything, and ultimately, how to forgive myself and my parents. I’m a dad now too, my son (he does not have t1) is 14. If my father was still alive I would want to have a different kind of conversation with him, about my new understanding of what the whole thing must have felt like for him. Anyway, for me, therapy was worth the time. The most important thing is to never give up and keep working. If you think your son may be depressed, I urge you to try to get some additional help. Any therapist who has worked with chronic conditions, trauma, and especially post-traumatic stress, would be very helpful.
I want to share a link with you as follows: Psychology today has a provider directory where you can enter city, state and choose filters like “chronic illness, depression, adolescence”, also filters for specific insurance plans. It is a great tool for finding a therapist: Psychology Today: Health, Help, Happiness + Find a Therapist
I hope you find some peace with this. I know for sure that many decades of “not taking perfect care of myself” did lead to some complications, but I am now well managed, and it wasn’t because someone yelled at me or bargained with me or reasoned with me… at some point I felt sick enough to want to do something about it.