The Church of Hypoglycemia


Low blood sugar episodes have provided me with some of the most creative, and spiritually insightful and expansive, moments in my life.

Once, when my blood sugar was very low, I experienced the certain realization that the interconnectedness of all life on the planet contributes to the betterment of mankind in a way that is unfathomable but also active and intensely real.

Another time I felt with a startling degree of certainty that the life I was living was a life I had lived before and that it had a definable purpose for its existence.

And once, for a few minutes, I saw with pristine clarity the specific ways in which the people in my life contributed to who I was as a person and how I, in turn, contributed to their existence in a positive manner that would resonate down through time and effect others in ways I could not imagine.

I also once decided that the perfect diet to follow was one in which I purchased all my food only by color.

Then there was the time I plotted out a way that I could actually perform Waiting for Godot as a one-man play. All right, so they ain’t all winners. But, they are altered states of consciousness, in their way.

This sounds like heresy. To say anything positive about a complication of diabetes that could, and does kill people, is like extolling the virtues of cigarette smoking because it looks cool. And I am in no way saying that it’s a good idea to amp up your insulin dosage one day in order to touch the hem of God.

As far as I’m aware, there is not a direct cause and effect relationship between hypoglycemia and spiritual and creative expansionist thinking. And there probably haven’t been any clinical trials to try and find one.

But that doesn’t mean it does not exist.

I know that, on those rare occasions when random and meaningful insights rain down while my blood glucose reads in the low double digits, it’s caused by a chemical reaction in the brain due to a lack of glucose. But that doesn’t communicate an appreciation for the experience any more than staring at the molecular model for oxytocin explains the foundations of love.

The experiences have so far enriched my life. They have given me a deeply felt spiritual appreciation about existence. And no, that does not mean I wish to become the first pastor of the Church of Hypoglycemia. As a Roman Catholic who is also a quarter Jewish, my spiritual life is grounded and fairly straightforward, if admittedly confusing. What I mean is that for certain some hypoglycemic experiences have imbued my belief system with greater gravitas and depth while also instilling in me an improved appreciation for the human condition and the spiritual connection of all things.

For a condition that does little more than beat me up all day long, I find that to be a pretty cool bit of a bonus. So, while I’ll never understand it, I’ll take it. 

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Andy K
Andy K
8 years ago

Thanks, people, for having this thread here – it’s so cool to know that I’m not alone and not stumbling around or drowning in some new life insanity! My situation is I’m a type 1 diabetic who got straight onto the needle 20 years ago, aged 40 – at precisely the same time as I started my 12 Step rehabilitation journey out of alcohol and drug abuse. I always found it somewhat amusing that I managed to abuse drugs for 20 years without going within 10 foot of a needle (I was virtually phobic about them) then within a few… Read more »

Lady Imp
8 years ago

I too have had some rather interesting mental experiences while in an extreme hypoglycemic state. Every time I think that I’ll be able to write a best-selling tell-all book about my experiences that will make me a million dollars, or blog something that will go viral and I will be able to work from home in my pyjamas. Sadly, I don’t ever think to write my insights down and I will always forget them after the Butterfinger gets shoved down my throat by the family member who recognises that my babbling of greatness is really my brain saying “sugar. In… Read more »

8 years ago

Very interesting! I wish I had similarly clairvoyant experiences while low. Instead, the most exciting thing that’s happened to me was a time, shortly after I was diagnosed, when I got approached on Broadway by one of those guys who says, “Excuse me, can I ask you about your hair?” and walked away having bought $150 worth of certificates for a salon I’d never heard of. 

Jennifer LeQuire
Jennifer LeQuire
8 years ago

Insulin has been used to treat psychiatric issues by causing extreme hypoglycemia.  Which, having both type 1 diabetes and bipolar disorder, I’d rather just stay bipolar than experience the treatment that has been given using insulin for psychiatric issues.  Google it, it is interesting.

Scott E
8 years ago

I’ve done some pretty profound thinking also while low.  I guess the effect of hypoglycemia is that it tends to dull our senses, and without all of the distractions and stimuli of the things around us, we can just sit in that haze and think.  (Perhaps it’s not unlike being high on an illegal substance, but I wouldn’t know — I’ve never been).

Thanks for bringing this up — it’s good to know I’m not the only one. 

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