Hi everyone! My name is Ellen. I’m 27 and have been a T1D for a little more than 13 years. I’m looking a few people with diabetes to form a friendship with. Am currently struggling with diabetes burnout. Any advice or tips are greatly appreciated.
I’m sorry you’re having a bit of the burnout. I have a son with type 1 and when he was younger, diabetes was all-consuming and I found myself becoming numb to it and just about anything in my life. We want to help. I’m going to bump this up so others will see it and give their tips on coping with burnout.
I do not have TD1, but TD2, but I have celiac disease and that alone requires constant attention to every food item I place in my mouth (gluten) or I will trigger a huge flare up that can last for months. I also maintain a LCHF diet (control my blood sugar) which makes my diet even more restrictive.
My best method of avoiding burnout is to participate on forums like TuDiabetes, and keep up on current research on topics that are applicable to me. I am also involved with a local celiac support group.
By the way, TD1 is strongly linked to celiac disease. You should be screened even if you are asymptomatic. Why plug this? Researchers know that genetically 1 in 120 people have celiac disease. The problem is that only 20% are actually diagnosed. Celiac disease presents in so many different ways, that doctors often overlook it.
Hang in there!
Welcome to the forum @EllieBelle -
Most of us T1’s go thru burnout at some point in their lives, and usually end up not caring about ourselves the way we should.
I’ve been T1 for 55 years, and I’d be more than happy to share my experiences with you so you can avoid some of the decisions I made in my youth
I have been Type 1 for about 30 years, and was diagnosed with Celiac about 20 years ago (it’s been so long I do remember exactly). They obviously didn’t have Insulin Pumps or CGM 30 years ago, so they definitely make it less stressful now. Insulin pumps give you much more freedom and flexibility than syringes, since you can change your mind about things like what you are going to eat any time you want rather than need to know hours in advance. Also, even though BG testing is still necessary, CGM makes it much easier when at parties or other events (so that I can get an estimate until I get home or get a break to do one, as well as find patterns to tweak pump settings). The Celiac, is also much easier, since there are many more gluten-free products available. Our lives may never be as good as they were before we were diagnosed, but that doesn’t mean they need to be torture, either. Some of the best ways to prevent burnout are places like this, where we can talk about it without feeling like an outcast. Also, even though it would be stupid to tell somebody to ignore it, one of the best solutions for burnout is distraction. Once you’ve taken care of the necessities, spend your time doing other stuff, such as a hobby or whatever you would normally be doing, instead of stressing yourself by saying things like “Did I do exactly the right amount of insulin?” “Am I going to be OK tonight?” You’ve survived 13 years, so unless you became an instant idiot (which I strongly doubt, otherwise you wouldn’t be able to read this message!), you obviously know how to take care of yourself very well.
Hi Ellen, welcome!
Burn out means different things for different people. What’s it for you?
Sometimes I try to make small changes to my routines, add new foods or activities, give myself a break on BG Goals, get together with friends I’ve not seen in a while.
Coming here and VENTING can be a great help too.
I know there was a book or blog written on this and will try to find it.
Hi Ellen and welcome!
The book that was suggested by Dr Polonsky is a great starting point. I had the privilege to see him in private practice and even though he doesn’t have diabetes, he so gets it! I am a firm believer that great medical professionals dealing with people and diabetes don’t need to have diabetes.
Many of us at some point deal with some kind of burnout. You know, when you just don’t care anymore.
I have taken a couple workshops that the Diabetes Behavioral Institute has held a while back dealing with this issue. And it really comes down to finding something, one something that you think will give you the biggest bang for your effort. For you it might be just testing every morning, or every evening. Or walking around the block a couple nights each week. Or maybe if it’s your insulin dosing, finding a way to make those injections happen in a better time frame. But just pick one thing. Don’t try and do everything you think you should be doing. Just find one thing and make it your goal to do that every day for a few weeks. After those few weeks, it becomes your normal. Than you can think about what might be the next thing. And please celebrate that first success!!! Each little baby step is a baby step to your happier and healthier self. You can do this, just one thing. One thing! I saw a little girl in your profile photo so maybe your little girl can do that walk around the block with you. Good luck Ellen and let us know how you’re doing. What your first thing is? You’ve got this!
Book is by Bill Polonsky -a clinical psychologist who is also a CDE (trained at Joslin). Great guy. I don’t know where you live, but checkout TCOYD.org (Take COntrol of Your DIABETES) AN ORGANIZATION THAT SOLDS CONFERENCES THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY, bILL IS PART OF THE LEADERSHIP AND ALWAYS HAS A GREAT SUPPORTIVE AND EMPoweriring presentation (sorry, hit the caps key)
If I could recommend you try the Patch Adams approach and find some meaningful way to help others. I have been volunteering for some Diabetes education programs because I want people around me to better understand my condition.
Good luck, Be well