How do you get out of the hole you've dug? (Diabetic burnout)

I've come to a point in my diabetic journey where I'm sick and tired of my life revolving around my diabetes care. In fact, I've not really done much for my diabetes lately and I know I can't keep this up: I've had type 1 for 20 years now. I know how devastating this way of thinking can be, but I don't know how to get out of this mind set. I've read many great articles and blogs but I'd love to hear from all of you. How do you keep motivated? What steps do you take? Do you do little rewards, what? Any tips would be greatly appreciated!!!

Hi daydreamer,

I was feeling exactly the same way just a few days ago. Very tough blood sugars during the holiday break wore me WAY out. I go through those burnt-out periods a few times per year, when I'm having a particularly hard time controlling my BG. It helps me to remind myself that it will pass, and also to make a list of things I can do to help myself (like calling my CDE, getting to the gym... Stuff I may not really want to do, but which I know will help). For me, the burn-out is always related to extra erratic BG, so I know that the most important thing I can do is try to keep my emotional equilibrium and figure out what's going wrong so that it doesn't become a vicious cycle.

Sometimes crying on a shoulder or two helps, too... which is one of the reasons we're all here on TuDiabetes :)

I think it's completely understandable that you're tired of the 24/7 care that diabetes seems to require. Everyone's motivation triggers are a bit different but I am motivated by monitoring various data measures relating to my BG control. One big thing I've noticed, however, is that I don't like doing it when my numbers are poor. Just like I don't like to review my investments when I know they're down!

Somehow, though, I'm amazed that paying a little attention to the data makes me want to behave in a way that positively influences those measurements. Does that make any sense? Maybe you could identify some measure that's important to you and then track it. It could be as simple as checking your BG before and after every meal. This may not motivate you at all but I find it useful.

I agree with Emily; out of range BGs for an extended time will bring you down simply due to its physical nature. Your reaching out to do something about your blues is a healthy response! Good luck with whatever you decide.

I think I'm the same way. If I go through a long stretch of good Bg's and then suddenly they go out of control, I get really bummed. Then I see myself little by little just letting my control go out the window. Thanks for sharing how you try and get out of the rut! I'm good with lists so maybe one centered around my diabetes can help me get this crazy train of diabetes back on track! =)

I just carry on. After 50 years, it still annoys me, frustrates the **** out of me, and changes constantly. I can cry in my beer, but it does not change anything.

The motivation is to stay alive, stay as healthy as possible and live a happy life, see
my grandbabies through college, marriage and become a GREAT grandmother, even with the diabetes. Maybe I will get to 75-80 years of T1 D!

Daydreamer, I hate to say this, but your life will continue to revolve around diabetes care. Attitude is everything. It is what it is and the only way to is to accept it and carry on.

I will admit that I have a wonderful shoulder to cry on...

That makes perfect sense! I'm super motivated when I'm seeing good trends, my trouble is when I start seeing numbers I don't like. A few bad readings I can handle but when they're all over without reason I get frustrated and well, give up. Diabetes is hard enough to worry about but throw life in the mix and it's CRAZY. I notice I have a harder time dealing with everything when things around me start getting difficult, like exam week!!! That was a nightmare. Any who, thanks for the tip! I'm ready to try something new, since what I'm currently doing isn't working out very well.

I used to use a Cozmo pump and it had a feature where you could put personalized text on the home screen. I actually had "This too shall pass" as my text for the longest time (picture here), as a reminder that tough blood sugar or emotional days would pass.

For me it's always a question of balance. If other things in my life are also feeling like struggle and there is a shortage of things that give me psychological/emotional/mental/spiritual rewards, then I get depressed and when I'm depressed it all seems like too much trouble. I can't always reduce the amount of struggle (though I try) but what I can do is work on the way I see things. Sometimes we let even the good things in our life feel like burdens, or things we "have" to do, rather than things we want to do and take satisfaction from. But the bottom line for me is what I do have control over: The goodies! I can add activities or events or projects or even people into my life that make me feel good. Then those things help right the balance again!

That's brilliant! What a great idea! I don't think I can personalize my current pump but maybe little quotes like that on my phone might help! Thanks a bunch!

I think nothing keeps me motivated more than success and I am willing to redefine success from time to time to achieve it. When I'm running too high, I work at bringing the numbers down but consider it a success if they stop going up and begin to head towards normal.

An occasional square of dark chocolate doesn't hurt either :-)

Good luck with getting back on track,


Wow, that was beautifully put! With this new year it's a perfect time to try and look at thing in a new way! I'm guilty of being in the mindset of I "have" to do this or that. I'm not calling this a resolution -because those always seem to fail- but a new healthy habit! Thanks!

Maybe that's all I really need is to be able to vent to people that have been there. My family tries to help but their solution is to just "Test, Test, TEST." That more than anything annoys the heck out of me. Thanks for pointing out the hard, cold truth. I think I need a reality check once in a while!

I think we all love a little success! =) I guess not focusing on the fact I've had a bad reading but getting them back to normal is the key. It's not going to be an easy feat but I'm gonna give it a shot. Tee-hee-hee get it. =D

This is a little off topic - but I am still in mourning for my Cozmore. Best pump ever! The hypo manager that told me exactly how many carbs I needed to get to where I wanted and the customized correction ratios that could change according to my bg were awesome.

Per the topic, I also like the suggestion to make little goals, e.g. stop bg from climbing, then bg to be steady, then bg to come down. Each one is doable without being too huge and too easy to fail

I didn't even have the newest Cozmo, and I still miss it! The only thing I didn't like about it was that the screen was impossible for me to read, even with a magnifier (too low contrast). But otherwise, in terms of features and user interface ... best pump ever. The day the announcement went out about Smiths Medical will always be burned into my memory. :(

I'm still using my Cozmo 18 months after the warranty expired. My newer Medtronic pump sits in the drawer as a back-up.

Testing is key, but in my case, lots of testing has made me a little OCD about me D. I am working on that, but it is not easy.

This is a fantastic place to vent--and a lot of us use it! But venting here also provides responses with different perspectives and ideas, which I have found invaluable.

These moments are brief for me. Taking care of the minutia of Diabetes is just a part of life, kind of like needing to brush your teeth a few times a day.

For those times when I do have these bouts on the futility of managing diabetes, I just think to myself that managing it is a lot easier to deal with than losing appendages. I severely dislike the hospital, and I'll do anything to avoid it. So managing the numbers is what I do to stay out of there.

So, I walk on the treadmill, or the elliptical, to force the numbers down, and I feel better. The exercise makes it easier to manage the numbers too.

If the feeling of futility is really bad, after the walk, I allow myself a treat.

I'm 13 years in....honestly, I'm tired of hearing about it or being reminded of it, as if I'm not sick of this dis-ease already....

I have always felt that it was important to have something else to do. I was dx'ed at 16 then went through a rock phase (which still goes on...), learned how to play bass and guitar, played in bands, had a *really* good time but had to test my BG a lot, fortunately student health services at the U of Illinois was very liberal w/ strips in the mid-1980s so I was like 7 tests/ day pretty early on in my career maybe more if we were partying all night. Which happened a lot. Those were the daze.

I had some middling years where I didn't do much but got bigger and then decided to stop that and became a bit of an exercise junkie which is probably a more useful hobby. Even during the less active phase, I devoted a lot of time to reading (this was before we had cable, which now we shell out a bunch of money for, so the teenager can watch the Disney Channel...eek) and was pretty obsessive about that. I always wanted to keep diabetes in line so that it didn't get in the way of my other interests, however absurd some of them may have been, they were still more important than diabetes. I've exercised with groups quite a bit and music always involved groups, getting together, rehearsing, testing to make sure I didn't pass out at practice or shows or whatever. Sometimes there's new challenges to work around ("6:30 run...hmmm...I've never done that...but there's no reason I can't") but they are challenges to be worked around.

I always felt good when I did somethign whether it was sitting on my butt reading a book or walking around the neighborhood when I started exercising. I think exercising might have some advantages because it can provide ****enormous**** health benefits. It's extremely rewarding to go to the doc and have the nurse go "oh, do you run?" when she takes your pulse instead of "so you have diabetes...?" which we'll get to anyway.