I’m 17 years old, and I’ve been Type One Diabetic for more than 16 of those years. I recently started college but am back home quarantining because of COVID. Recently, I have been struggling more and more with my management. I just feel so burnt out, and everything I seem to do doesn’t seem to have a big impact on my blood. I feel like such a horrible diabetic all the time and like I’m constantly failing at taking care of myself, just nothing seems to be working and it’s so frustrating. It does not help that I also struggle with mental health issues and I get so inside my head because nothing is going right with diabetes right now. I also feel like I’m judged a lot since I prefer shots over my Omnipod, which just doesn’t make me feel any better, especially when things just aren’t going right. I also have a Dexcom CGM, but I get really discouraged looking at the numbers now. Any tips on how to deal with burnout, especially just going into college?
Hi, @evvysammi welcome to Tu-diabetes. Burnout is common with chronic illness and most anyone here has experienced it at some point or another and everyone’s tactics for dealing with it will vary depending on their personality. Since you are getting too focused on the bad you may need to take a step back and look at the good things you are doing for yourself and accept that sometimes diabetes doesn’t cooperate no matter how vigilant you are but with time and effort these issues will resolve themselves.
MDI can be just as effective as pumping as long as you are willing to take extra shots as needed to do corrections or to splurge on a treat. Could you elaborate on your BG issues? Are you having swings in your BG or sitting at a higher number than you would like? Were you regularly working out before you came home and aren’t now?
Finding ways to de-stress is critical to diabetes control and mental health so find a hobby that you enjoy or meditation or yoga can be really helpful for clearing your mind.
The good thing about diabetes is you can start today and not feel guilty about the past. Just forget about how you haven’t been handling and look forward. You can ever only do the best you can at the moment. So just look at today and go what will I do today to try to keep my blood sugars the best I can. And we all make mistakes, it doesn’t matter, it happens.
And you’re fine on MDI, a lot of people prefer them. But personally I would use your Dexcom. You don’t have to look at the past numbers, but it sure beats finger pricking so much. Plus I let the alarms warn me before I get out of the range I want to be at. So if I can do something about it I do.
Big Hugs. Today really is a new day. Just start now!
I agree with the previous posters that we all go through burnout. D takes its toll in time, effort, well-being and mentally! It is hard to be a pancreas!
I also think stress has a huge impact on BGs, so it is understandable your BGS are difficult to control while going through this period in your life.
Participating in some daily exercise is what works for me. Running or walking outside in a natural setting can be a great destresser. You get exercise and a nice time to meditate. Good luck!
I am so sorry that you are feeling so low. I just wanted to say that I have been a type 1 for 61 yrs, and I have never used a pump. I don’t like to be attached to technology, and find shots to be no problem even when I give several a day. I just started wearing a CGM and I take breaks from it. My diabetes is very well controlled.
I would suggest wearing your CGM until your glucose levels stabilize though.
Can you tell us more about how you handle your diabetes?
@Marilyn6 I use Lantus as my long acting insulin, and Novolog Flex-Pens as my short acting. I also always wear my Dexcom CGM, it makes life easier.
I generally exercise and eat pretty healthy, but in my transition to college and back, I haven’t been as good with it. I’m also self isolated away from my family since I just got back, which limits my exercise. I pre-bolus my meals and try my best to catch when I’m rising, but since I’ve been burnt out, I haven’t been doing as good at that.
@Firenza I definitely got way more exercise when I was on campus. Now that I’m home, I have to self isolate from my family which is basically just me sitting in my room. My CGM definitely looks like a roller coaster a lot of the time, just going up and down and up and down, and that definitely makes me feel like I’m doing a horrible job and failing at being diabetic. I know that balance is difficult especially with T1D, it just feels like there’s way more bad days than good days.
Well, you certainly sound like you understand what you need to do for good control. You are having to deal with a lot right now, especially since you have to isolate in your room. Can you try to do some exercising in your room? A good exercise routine will make your diabetes easier to control and will lift your mood. I realize that it is hard to do when depressed, but exercise really is the best thing you can do.
I am sorry that you are going through so much. Are you doing classes on line?
Try not to be so hard on your self. A few days of poorer control is not going to hurt you. Who is bugging you about wearing a pump and why? Don’t wear one unless you want to. Great that you wear you CGM!
I feel for you. I developed T1 in my senior year so I didn’t really deal with in the dorms.
However I still feel burn out even with cgm. I get these weird days.
I eat the same meal same insulin but some days I get this.
A sugar that goes high an will not come down no matter how much insulin I throw at it. Then suddenly it drops out.
Still I’m in better control now than ever before. I’m fortunate 32 years later with no real complications.
Unfortunately this is for the rest of your life. Just get through these rough times.
@Marilyn6 Yes! I’m doing online classes. I’m studying to be an elementary school teacher.
My family and a ton of my diabetic friends think that I need to be on a pump. My mom’s my biggest advocate, and she always has been. It took some tome to get her on board with switching to injections, but now that she is, she helps me out when I get comments about my injections.
If you want to post your CGM data an your insulin dosages, we can try to walk you through how to verify the dosages are as good as they can be. Unfortunately, a lot of people are not taught that stuff. It makes things very difficult.
It takes a long time to figure all of this stuff out. I was a mess all throughout my undergraduate degree. But, eventually, I got everything worked out.
Its hard when your young because you have a lot of demands on your time. But, the sooner you figure things out, the easier your life will be in the long run. It takes time. Feel free to keep talking to us all here. We have all been through this.
Sometimes a pump is a good fit and sometimes it isn’t. Sometimes a pump is a very bad fit. It might not be a good fit now, and then it might be the perfect thing down the road. People go on and off their pumps over the course of their lives. I would recommend, as a first step, understanding your manual injection the best that you can. That is one tool in your arsenal that has value and is worth knowing about. Pumps can make things worse and more dangerous. I don’t think its uncommon at all for undergraduates to switch to a pump and then die as a result because they haven’t the time or the training or the experience or the interest to properly manage it.
I recommend getting a good, solid handle on the basics before making everything more complicated with a pump. Its a process of learning. If you make little steps forward here and there, things will be much better over time.
I think that burnout is probably more common now, among us, with covid going on. I’ve been burned out for months. I think this is probably my longest streak of complete and utter burnout ever. When you feel like it, talk to us about the numbers and we will try to help.
Many diabetics feel that they get better results from using a pump, so I am not surprised that your friends think you should do it their way. If you and your doctor are usually pleased with your control, then shots are fine. I am glad that your mom supports your decision.
So glad that you can do your college classes on line. It will be wonderful when you are able to get back in the classroom at your college. These are such difficult times.
I did a couple workshops with the doctors at Behavioral Diabetes Institute that dealt with depression, burnout, distress. It was so refreshing to know doctors actually understood what it is like 24/7, day in and day out, no time off.
A couple take away from all the classes and reading Dr Polonsky’s book. Don’t try to do everything. Pick just one thing that is going to give you the biggest return on your effort. Like walking after dinner, even if it is just around the block with a face mask on ( sorry about this one!). Or maybe taking up a hobby you can do in the evening instead of that “werewolf” snacking some of us do. (Me!) Review you CGM reports once every week or two to see if there are any noticeable patterns you can correct to get better results.
Don’t try to fix it all. If injections are working for you, great! Why add another piece that might be more hassle? If the pump answered a difficult overnight issue, it might be worth it to fix that problem that is easy to correct with a pump. Just need those CGM reports to see where the patterns might be, to see if there could be an easy answer to overnight problems. I do find if my overnight is on target, the rest of the day is easier to manage.
Please, don’t beat yourself up! This is a tough disease to deal with. Problems can arise with one little change. So, you need to cut yourself a little slack and come up with goals that are good enough for you, that keep you in a safe place. And do not compare your goals and safe place to others. We are all our own little scientific experiment. Just keep yourself in a safe place for you.
Good luck and take it one step at a time. This is a marathon so every step matters, little ones or big ones.
Also the same for me. When I am trying to get out of diabetic burnout or restrictive eating patterns, it is just working on one thing, getting it a bit better, and then going on to the next.
the first thing for me was really carb counting and not eyeballing. This fixed most of my highs. Then I was able to get on to the next problem.
Good luck and remember that it doesnt have to be perfect!