Living with Type 1 Diabetes is hard and that makes it so important to understand “Type 1 Diabetes Burnout” and develop a plan to deal with it.
It can easily affect any type 1 diabetic or their caregiver at any time. It doesn’t matter how long it has been since your diagnosis, burnout can happen at any time.
Type 1 is a very demanding illness that requires constant management which can be the most exhausting thing you have ever had to do in your life.
Type 1 Diabetes Burnout can range in severity from just feeling sad and angry to feeling completely detached and giving up on following your Diabetes Management Plan, which can be quite dangerous.
Let’s begin by learning to recognize Diabetes Burnout
As I mentioned before the symptoms can vary but they can include:
- feeling angry, frustrated, or overwhelmed about diabetes
- feeling controlled by diabetes
- feeling isolated or alone with your diabetes
- avoiding some or all of your daily diabetes management
If you are feeling these things you may have Diabetes Burnout and it is important to recognize that living with Diabetes is hard work. Until there is a cure it will continue to be hard work. There are things you can do to help ease those negative feelings.
Learn to recognize the symptoms and reach out to those around who are there to offer help and support.
Talk to family members, maybe they can take over at least part of the diabetes care for a few days to give you the mental break from doing it all.
There are support groups available with other diabetics who totally get all the frustrations you are feeling. Reach out to them, they likely have suggestions to help ease the stress.
Your Health Care Team is always there to help you. They will remind you of your successes and help you revise your plan if you find things are not working for you.
Permit Yourself to Not be Perfect
Diabetes can feel like it is taking over your life and it is OK to feel angry, sad and overwhelmed because the reality is your days have suddenly become filled with Diabetes Management.
It truly can feel like all you do is poke fingers, count carbs, and give injections. I get it, it seems Diabetes is preventing you from doing the things you want to do.
You have to plan every activity around finger pokes and injections, remembering to have meals on time, and always have snacks available as well as fast-acting sugar in case they are needed.
It is OK to not get things perfect all the time.
The thing with Diabetes is that there will be “highs” and “lows” despite your best efforts. Diabetes does that, things go wonky, sometimes for reasons you can’t explain. That is OK. Don’t beat yourself up over it, understand and accept that is just a part of Diabetes.
Ensuring you get a proper amount of sleep can help you stay clear-headed and help keep those negative emotions under control. I get that “lows” can often interrupt sleep. All you can do is your best to try to get a good night’s sleep regularly.
If you have a habit of going low at night try having a higher carb snack before bed to compensate. Talk to your healthcare team, they may have suggestions for you as well.
Take a Break
Constantly managing diabetes night and a day does take its toll and can be mentally, emotionally, physically, and financially draining.
While Diabetes doesn’t take a break, you may need to find a way to be able to have a short break.
That break could be taking a night off your meal plan or maybe checking your blood sugars less often for a day.
Check with your doctor first to make sure it is safe. He may have some suggestions to help you plan for your break.
If you live with parents or a spouse, maybe they could take over the diabetes management for a while to give you a break from the responsibility.
Naturally, it is wise to let someone else know what you’re doing in case a problem arises.
As the parent of a Type 1 child or an adult child caring for a Diabetic parent, the stress can be overwhelming. You are constantly worrying, monitoring, adjusting, meal planning, and the list just goes on and on.
While it can be rewarding, being a caregiver is physically, emotionally, and mentally draining. It can also be substantially limiting on both your social and financial life.
It is when these stresses become overwhelming and begin to negatively affect your life and health that caretaker burnout occurs.
When caregivers get burned out they may experience:
- and depression
They may also feel guilty if they take any time to focus on themselves.
As grand-parents of a Type 1 Diabetic, it became very important for us to learn all aspects of our grandson’s care so we could take him for sleepovers and fun adventures. This gives his parents a much-needed break from the stresses of Diabetes Management.
Naturally, as our grandson gets older he will learn to manage his own diabetes but that will be a few years yet since he is only five.
Caretaker burnout can be minimized with the following:
- ask for help
- get support
- eat healthily
- get regular exercise
- get enough sleep
Other family members can certainly help out. It doesn’t always have to be you.
Whether you are a diabetic or a caregiver, “Type 1 Diabetes Burnout” is real. It can affect anyone who regularly needs to manage diabetes.
Don’t feel guilty if you experience any of the symptoms, it is a natural response to a very demanding illness.
Establish support early on so when you feel overwhelmed you have someone you trust that can take over to ensure your safety.
Talk with your health care provider to see if any changes may make things easier for you to manage.
Understand you are not alone and reach out to your local community support group. It really does help to talk with others going through the same things.
I hope that whether you are a Diabetic or a caregiver if you are experiencing symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes Burnout that you will now be informed of the options you can take to help alleviate the stress that is so overwhelming.
While the diabetes journey will always have many ups and downs, recognizing and being prepared for them will help you avoid burnout.
Stay safe and stay positive, you are not alone.
Thanks for dropping by, please leave comments and questions below. I will respond.