June 2, 2012

Is Diabetes Causing You Burnout?

This blog in Diabetes Health is interesting. Yes, diabetes burnout is common and happens more often than we might like. Many people have burnout and wonder why they feel like they do. Some people do not recognize this and have a difficult time dealing with this for a period of time. Others become depressed and know they have something that needs correcting, but it can take time. Some that have depression and don't know they have it. As a result, their management of diabetes takes a vacation. Some of the solutions are unrealistic for many people and others will not be able to consider the solutions offered.

The second article is from About dot com and is a little more realistic. I enjoy this analysis of diabetes burnout. Unlike the first article, the author recognizes that recovery happens, but not all at once. She says rightly so that it often takes baby steps to overcome diabetes burnout. I know this is right because even though I have been blogging consistently, I am fighting burnout myself. I am not enjoying this at all and wish I could say that I have not had depression. The depression is behind me now and I am working on correcting the areas of diabetes management that have suffered for the last two months.

No, this is not easy to write, but it needs to be written about by people that have been through the wringer. What started it, I am not totally sure. I know an argument with a doctor did not help. I can think of a lot of little things that add up and make you want to find something to take it out on. I have a couple of people that are what I term “the food police” and I see them more often than I like. I try to ignore them, but when they are constantly in my face, they are hard to ignore.

There have been other health concerns as of late and until mid June, I won't have an answer. I also know that I had about a week that blood glucose readings got higher than I like and by more than I like, and with a lot of analysis, I could not figure out what or why it happened. This may have been much of the trigger and the food police that just aggravated the situation. Now it is climbing out of the pit I have gotten myself into.

Since I am researching diabetes burnout, I have to say this makes the most sense to me so I will use the points that Elizabeth Woolley lays out and make comments about each.

Accept that you can't be perfect. Being the near perfectionist that I am, makes this almost as bad as the lesson I had to learn when I was diagnosed. What has happened can't be changed so accept it and move on. It is almost behind me and I have got to keep it there.

Remember it's all about you. Yes, I am the only one that can take responsibility and make the changes necessary. I cannot blame anyone else for my errors or shortcomings. I have to get my good habits back in control for better management. I think that a positive attitude helped me from sinking too low, but now I have to recapture this as well.

Become proactive in solving management challenges. I am hoping the fact that in dealing with the medical community I am a proactive person will aid me in being proactive in improving my diabetes management.

Connect regularly to the diabetes world. This will not be difficult, as I will have my appointment next week with the endocrinologist. The A1c will have to be what it is. Approximately two months of poor management can't be corrected in a week. In reviewing my first month’s records, I was doing so well – shame it has to be this way.

Now I wish I had the list that comes next in the article. A couple of them may have made it harder, but I am still using this list so that next time, I may be able to short-circuit some of the problems. Here is the list and my comments.

Take small steps in the right direction. Sometimes this is the best and then if you succeed you are able to celebrate a success. If you fail, you won't have lost a lot of ground. Continue with the small successes and eventually you will have your diabetes management back.

Take a doctor-guided break if needed. I will definitely give this some consideration, as this may be a way to lessen the effect of burnout. Hopefully, this will be possible, communication has been good, and this looks like something I could handle.

Find inspiration. I will have to work on this. Yes, I was reading, but reading for research and blogging. I had to work harder to write blogs and often reread some articles. I missed several of our group meetings and spent much of my time just writing and rewriting when it was not making sense.

Reestablish a connection with the diabetes community. I am hoping that just by continuing to blog will aid me in getting rid of this down feeling or energize me to be myself. According to the author, I am to reconnect with the diabetes social community.

See a diabetes educator. This is not possible. Insurance will not cover at this time and I am in no mood to have mantras shoved at me. This is me and I feel that this would put me back in depression. I know, I know, for some people this will be an advantage and serve them well. What will work for some, will not work for me this time.

Count your blessings. This can be important for many. This will also aid in getting you back to a positive attitude and feeling good about yourself. Give this an honest try.

Make peace with the diabetes police. If you are able, this may go a long way in restoring peace in a family or among your friends. Include the diabetes food police, as they can be worse than the diabetes police. I am in luck with two of these individuals, but with the third person, I am not sure this is going to be possible. I feel this may be one that has to remain at arms length.

Make sure you are not experiencing depression. Sorry, I've already been through a minor depression and have my life back. For anyone reading this, sometimes a person is able to work their way through and out of even a minor depression and at other times, it may be necessary to talk with your doctor or other qualified professional to help you. They can also determine if other means may be needed for the short and long-term.

Depression is not sometime to take lightly and sometimes professional help is the best solution. I admit that I have not needed it, but I am prepared if it becomes necessary and have talked to my doctor about just that. The doctor will give me a referral if needed.

I have several blogs about depression, but I find it a difficult topic to define and the professionals just like their technical jargon and apparently find it difficult to write about it in laymen terms. My attempt may be read here.

How you handle diabetes burnout depends on you and your attitudes. I have found that having a positive attitude about diabetes has generally served me well and made it easier to handle diabetes burnout. Not everyone will react the same. Another article on how diabetes can take a toll on our emotional health may be read here.

There is one important topic missing.  Take your medications, if you are on any.  I feel fortunate that through the burnout and depression something kept reminding me to take my medications.  Yes, often it was after I had gone to bed, but something in the back of my mind would not let me sleep and was saying insulin, insulin, until I got up and took my medications.  I guess after almost ten years, habits are good at times like this.

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