My Story: When Diabetes Burnout Strikes

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I haven’t had a day off from type 1 diabetes in 37 years – Not once in all that time have I received time off from diabetes for good behavior, vacations, family weddings, funerals, etc.

I’ve accepted that I will never have a day off from my diabetes unless “they” find a cure, and I do my best to live a great life – and have a great life with diabetes.

But like every single person living with diabetes and regardless of the type, there are moments (sometimes extending into weeks,) where I deal with Diabetes Burnout.

Living with diabetes itself is a never-ending full time job:

The continual blood sugar testing, battling insurance companies to cover the insulin that you require to live. Counting of carbs of absolutely everything you put in your mouth and the anxiety of doctors’ appointments & the lab results that accompany them. Insulin pump tubing getting tangled in doorknobs and ripping out my infusion site, just when I’m ready to go out the door.

The diabetes guilt that creeps up and then into my heart, just when I think I’m passed it. There’s the worry that’s always in the back of my head, and every PWD (person with diabetes,) head regarding both the present and the future.

My diabetes burnout comes in waves and not always necessarily when you’d expect. Sometimes it strikes when I’m packing for a trip and my diabetes supplies take up more room then I think it has a right to. And in those moments I wish I could chuck my Diabetes and my diabetes supplies out the window and for good – but I can’t. So I acknowledge the frustration and forge ahead with a vengeance.

Other times my diabetes burnout appears right on queue and has lingering effects. Like when it’s 2 a.m. and I have to be up in four hours and & my blood sugar refuses to go down, even after 4 correction boluses and 2 site changes.

The same can absolutely be said about my blood sugar refusing to stay up – even after lowering the temporary basal rate on my insulin pump twice and downing 4 juice boxes in three hours and a fist full of glucose tabs.

In those moments of diabetes exhaustion, anger and fear, tears sting my eyes and I physically and mentally feel like Atlas – And it’s hard to shake off the diabetes muck of it all

And there are days when I cry for those I’ve loved and lost to diabetes. People like my sister, my father, my two aunts and one of my best friends from Diabetes camp who passed away last year. I think about them every day – And most times the memory of them makes me smile and gives me strength. And there are days when I cry for them and feel their loss so very profoundly.

And sometimes diabetes burnout occurs just because it can. On those days, I do what I have to when it comes to living with my diabetes, but I don’t do anything extra. I’m very lucky that I have an amazing diabetes support system when it comes to dealing with diabetes burnout.

I have my Diabetes Pit Crew: My amazing Endocrinologist and Certified Diabetes Educator, who understand diabetes burnout and who treat it as a very real symptom of diabetes. I have a counselor who I can reach out and schedule some one-on-one time with, when I find that diabetes burnout is creeping into the picture of my life. I have family members and friends who are there for me whenever I need them.

And I have a strong and supportive community of people living with diabetes.

The Diabetes Online Community lifts me up during bouts of diabetes burnout because they not only understand diabetes burnout; they’ve experienced it and show me that I am not alone in my life with diabetes. And thanks to my multi-faceted/tiered support system, I am a lucky duck, indeed.

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Kelly Kunik

Creator/Editrix & Siren of the Diabetes Patient centric Blog, Diabetesaliciousness.
She’s a passionate Diabetes Advocate, Speaker, Writer & Consultant who has taken her biggest weakness (her busted pancreas,) and has turned it into her greatest strength & biggest passion.