7 Real-Life Tips to Get Through ‘Diabetes Burnout’
I’ll start off by saying I have had diabetes for 16 years. I was diagnosed when I was 10 and my family and friends have been supportive ever since. I have gone through high school, college and university with (reasonably) well controlled diabetes. I have completed my teacher training and I have been a qualified primary school teacher for nearly five years. I have gone traveling with my partner, spent months abroad living from a backpack and I have had an absolute blast.
However, in recent months I have found living with diabetes difficult. Add in some poor control when I received a new insulin pump, the beginning of a new job and coming back home from a year of traveling; I had all of the ingredients for a perfect recipe of ‘diabetes burnout’. I’ve had all of the symptoms: stress, anxiety, depression, ignoring my diabetes, not accepting help from friends and family. It has been awful, BUT I’ve gotten through it. I am currently coming out of that very difficult period and I really wanted to share the real life tips that I’ve used to get through this.
- Don’t blame yourself. This is probably the most obvious for someone not going through diabetes burnout but when you’re in it, it’s really difficult not to. I talked this through with my parents and we thought about all of the things I do to look after myself. It’s important to remember that you are amazing, you keep yourself alive every day and you’re up against a lot. Remember that.
- You’re going to be angry. This was/is one of the hardest things for me. During diabetes burnout you can be seriously annoyed and angry at the world. Why me? What did I do? Why do I have to go through this every single day for the rest of my life!? These are going to be just a few of the questions that run through your head every day and boy, it’s going to irritate the hell out of you. Try and stay calm, don’t put yourself in a situation that may increase your anger and most of all, remember your loved ones are around you to help; not to be shouted it.
- Don’t drown your sorrows. This might sound like an obvious one to some of you, but unfortunately I fell into that trap myself. Sometimes, people’s ideas of getting over something is to go out for a drink, have a wine or a beer to forget about things, but just think twice about this. Diabetes burnout is all about wanting to get away from having diabetes for even just a second, but you’re better off staying in, getting a take-away and trying to spend some quality time with the ones you love.
- Talk it through. I am lucky enough to have an incredibly amazing support system. I have a brilliant mum and dad and a wonderful boyfriend who have made the time to be there for me, whenever I need them. If you don’t have the support system immediately at home, try and speak to a member of your diabetes team, speak to a close friend, join Snail Mail (I did!). It’s really important that you talk about how you’re feeling and how it’s affecting you. For me, it’s really helped me to get over and through this; working through all of the issues I have and thinking of solutions.
- Be outside! While I was going through diabetes burnout, I just wanted to be inside. Tucked away in my bedroom, hiding under the duvet away from all my problems and worries. For me, this made it so much worse. I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to get outside, do a bit of exercise, even if it’s just a walk around your local area! I opened up to one of my closest friends and she’s been really good about getting me out of the house. It’s important to get up, get out of your pyjamas and get a shower! You are a strong, incredible person and you don’t need to be stuck inside while you feel like this.
- Ask for help. There are going to be times that you feel at your absolute worst. During the last few months, even though I have been surrounded by incredible, wonderful people, I have felt lower than I have ever felt in my entire life. There are days I didn’t know if I could carry on. But I did and most of this was down to me plucking up the courage to ask. I explained how I felt to my parents, broke down to my boyfriend and booked an appointment at the doctors. I had to accept that my HBa1c wasn’t going to be brilliant but knew I needed to speak to the experts. The people that love you and your diabetes team are always going to help you—you just need to ask.
- It gets better. Remember, there are millions of people all over the world living, succeeding and conquering their diabetes and their life in the world. You can do this, it will get better and regardless of your diabetes you are wonderful.
I know these tips won’t be useful for everyone, but I just wanted anyone out there who was struggling to know this is how I got through ‘diabetes burnout’ and I hope it can help you too.
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