Strong emotional outbursts...11 year old. Advice?

Thanks to all the advice about the refusal to eat and take insulin.  My family is going through a hard time with our sweet girl who literally freaks out several times a week.   She screams, runs away, fights us on everything.  This from the girl who was so good before the diagnosis.  I know why she is acting this way.  She can say why.  But I can't help her.  I don't know what to do with her.  I don't know how to help her.  I have a therapist appt. but she doesn't like this one.  It is only her second appt.  I have to search, again, for a new one, but that takes weeks to get into.   How do you deal with the outburst?   She hates them as much as we do...and her sugar is not high or low when they happen, typically.  So it isn't that.  It is just trying to deal with everything.

This first stage is very hard. I feel for you both. My daughter was 9 when she was dx’d and she had moments like you describe. Sometimes I would just hold her while she screamed and cried. I told her it was okay to be angry. It was okay to cry and scream. The only parameter I set was she couldn’t be intentionally mean to her family – older sister in particular – because that was an easy outlet for her. Take it one day at a time. You will get through this

It might be a little late into the summer but maybe you can find her a spot in a diabetes camp. We were fortunate that there was one for my daughter only a few weeks after her diagnosis. She got to be in a positive environment, meet new friends that have her same illness and how to deal with the disease like everyone else. If she is on shots try to switch her to pens. They are less painful. I would also try to give her some choices and control of where to give injections. Giving her a little control over things might help calm her down. The Lantus shots were horrible. They are very painful. If she is using Lantus I would suggest switching her to another long acting insulin. I think Levemir was much easier to tolerate.

What you are going through must be very difficult. One of her older brothers started having anxiety and depression soon after her diagnosis and I can tell you that was much harder to deal with than the type 1.

He is better but has had a few set backs since but not as bad.

Things will get better. Take it one day at a time.

Thanks so far.  I just don't know how to help her through those several hours every few nights....And the Lantus does seem to be really bad...some nights.  others no.   She is using a pen.  She doesn't complain about pain 99 percent of the time.  But the whole managing it is hard.   She wants to be independent, and she is.  She goes on sleepovers, to the lake with friends, etc. and texts me with questions.  But I think she also wants me to be in charge because it is hard work.  And scary.   And bothersome.   So she goes from no problem to refusing to do anything, including taking insulin.  

Thanks for your advice and listening.   We will get through this, I can't imagine how you all did it.  I am a teacher married to a teacher so both of us parents are home and able to deal with this without the stress of a full time job right now...but school starts in a month.

I think diabetes camp could really help her. Please look into it. All the other kids will be just like her and they will set a good example for her behavior.

I looked into camp.   The closet one here with an opening, as of June 1, was 6 hours away.  Just couldn't swing it.   I am not sure she could handle that now, her cats, she owns four, are her therapy and I worry that a week that far from them could be hard on her.   Yet I see the value of camp and will have her signed up the second she can next year.   Thanks for all your help.  To top it off, after an incredibly hard time with her last night, the dog got sprayed by a skunk at 11:30 and I had to rush to the store, twenty minutes away, ten minutes  before it closed, and deal with that.

Sorry to hear you and your daughter are going thru a difficult time. My son amazes me as I watch him do everything so naturally and does not complain exceot for Lantus burning. As a duabetic myself, I do understand that it can be frustating and sometimes yiu just want to be “normal”. Today was rhe first time I sent my sin to a regular camp that us twi minutes up the street from me at a church so I an close by in case of an emergency. This is a very stressful and tiring disease so hang in there.

Thanks Jodi...How old is your son?  Mary tries so hard, then she loses it.  

Do you make sure the Lantus is at room temp?  That makes a big difference.  She still complains, but not as bad or often.  Good luck with camp.  Is it sleep over?  

You may want to do a Google search or ask your Endo if there are any support groups or online forums that your daughter and participate in.  She needs to be put in contact with at least one other person in her age range who has Diabetes too.  

About the Lantus....  we keep ours at room temperature and pinch the area until the injection is completely in. Then we rub the area for a few seconds.   My son is 7 and doesn't complain about it when we do it that way.

Everything your daughter is doing is normal for her age and being newly diagnosed. You're having to deal with the stress of this life change, plus the strong emotions of a pre-teen girl.  

Could your diabetes doctor recommend a counselor?  Frankly, I never got much out of counseling until I was older.  But maybe it would help her.

Camp really is a great idea.  Hope it works out for next year.  Maybe she could post on the teen forum on this website, to hear from other people her age with D.    

We have an 11yr old daughter who was diagnosed almost 2 years ago. She handled everything wonderfully for about a year, and then started having strong emotional outbursts as well. I'm talking full temper tantrums that you'd expect from a toddler. It was very hard to deal with, and broke my heart to see her going through so much.

Only one thing helped, and it changed her/our life: diabetes camp. She came back from a week with other diabetic kids knowing that she's not alone, that her disease doesn't have to hold her back, and that people are proud of her for being so brave. She gave herself shots for the first time (and now does it every time), and she hasn't had an outburst since. I have to say that it was the hardest week of my life, with her 4 hours away at a camp I'm not familiar with and it was rough, but I can't believe what a difference it made.

Good luck with your girl. I know what you're going through :)

Hi Diane

Hi Diane… My son is 10 (Type 1 for almost 2 years now). I do keep the Lantus at room temperature and actually change the catridge every two weeks as I find it loses its potency. The camp is day camp and because he is so close by I gave it a shot as he has a friend there. For the Lantus shot, I actually rub another area of skin vigorously to get his mind off the burning…I was told not to rub the injection area after the shot as this impacts the affect of the insulin (making it get absorbed more quickly-that was what our nurse said). My son does get moody outburst but I think anyone with a chronic illness will have bad days and mood swings and of course sometimes blood sugars will affect one’s mood. I certainly get very irritable when sugar is high or low or when there is a quick drop in my blood sugar even if not low. Keep up the good work:-)

I have plenty of experience with skunks. There are two things that work. One is a product called Skunk Off. It is very safe so it can be put in their eyes and mouth.

The other thing is this.

1 quart of hydrogen peroxide.

1/4 baking soda

1T Dawn dishwashing detergent.

I keep these ingredients around all the time because we have two dogs.

Both of these destroy the skunk chemical instantly on contact. You juts have to be careful not to get the home made one in their eyes. It can also bleach fabrics.

Please don't use tomato juice. It is worse than useless.

Thanks Terry,  I was out, of course, of everything last night.  And it had been such a horrible night with Mary.   We did the peroxide, baking soda and it works great.   And I thought to buy double for next time.  

My daughter was dx'd when she was 11 and is 13 now.  She did pretty well for the most part, but there were definitely meltdowns over the Lantus.....she said it really burned at hurt.  The whole process would literally take an hour.  We talked with our endo's nurse and she suggested that she use an ice pack and inject in the bottom.  We have been doing that ever since and it works well for her.  She ices for about 10 minutes and we alternate sides each night.  Her nurse also has T1 and she said the preservatives in the Lantus can cause irritation and before she was on the pump that was what she did.  The meltdowns and the anxiety stopped shortly after that.  Now we are done in 10 minutes.  Good luck...I know how hard it is.

Is there any way you can switch from lantus to levemir?

My daughter was dx at 9 and is now almost 12. She hated the Lantus every night & we actually got a Rx cream to numb the area of injection. That seemed to help quite a bit. She switched to an insulin pump 6 months after diagnoses & that works better for us. She can manage her diabetes easier & it does the calculations for her! A few months ago she also hopped on the emotional roller coaster & quit taking care of herself as much as she used to. I now am back to supervising her blood sugar checks to make sure she does them especially at bed time.

I can't agree more with everyone about going to Diabetes Camp. The first year I was scared to death to send her there. HA! They take better care of her there then I ever would at home & she LOVED it! She has met so many kids her age all going through the same thing. It's awesome! She is actually at camp this week!

I would also recommend looking for a JDRF chapter in your area. We have met some amazing families through JDRF. Our Eastern Iowa Chapter has local events throughout the year to keep the kids connected. It always seems to give a little boost of "yes I can do this every day" when you meet others doing the same thing. Good luck to you & hang in there.


Thanks everyone.  I am going to get her to camp for sure next year.   And the lantus advice is great.   What is the difference between Lantus and levemir?  

And did you notice, it is the girls around 11-13 that seem so emotional, wanting to just get rid of the diabetes?  We will get through this.