Kid Approved & Diabetic Friendly

Diabetes Burnout

*Cough, cough*

Please excuse the dust, everyone. I know it’s been awhile since you’ve heard from me. I truly apologize that it’s been so long since I last posted and especially that there has been no explanation for my absence.

Each spring our schedules seem to fill up at lightning speed. Even though I have now learned that it’s coming and even try to take precautions to soften the blow, I still seem to find myself floundering through the days, just making sure the necessities are done for the family and making sure everyone gets where they need to be on any given day. It seems the time for “extras” becomes quite slim.

That’s half of my explanation…and the prettier/lukewarm version. The other half probably took about a full month and a half for me to even put my finger on myself. I knew what I was feeling inside, but wasn’t even able to articulate it to my husband when asked why I hadn’t been posting.

It was a slow progression to get to the point I got and that’s why I didn’t even necessarily feel it happening. I would say it all started with a routine checkup with the endocrinologist. We got a good report and only slight basal changes were suggested, but my husband and I just weren’t happy with C’s A1C. His Dr. wasn’t concerned as it was within the range for his age, but we just know we can and have done much better. We left that appointment feeling a bit deflated but vowed we were going to get it down by the next appointment. Next appointment comes…not only had his A1C not gone down, but it went up. Are there instances we could look back on and say, “Hey, maybe we could have handled that situation differently?” Absolutely. But even so, each and every day we make our best judgment calls into every decision we make for Carson. When those efforts don’t seem to be reflected in his A1C it feels incredibly defeating.

The other realization I had was that simply by creating this blog, I have interacted and been exposed to more things about diabetes than I ever had been previously. In SO many ways that has been one of the most wonderful things to come from this blog…hearing from so many of you who either are, know someone with, or have children of their own with type 1. The part I struggled with was suddenly having my news-feed full of everything diabetes. I don’t feel I live in oblivion with this disease, but I came across articles about complications, etc., one too many times when I was just not at all emotionally prepared to do so.

Without ever really making a real decision to do so, I kind of just found myself pulling back. I stopped posting and stopped patrolling my other social media sites on a daily basis. I just needed to take a step back. Unfortunately one week turned into two, and two into three, and somehow 2+ months have now passed.

The conclusion I came to…I had diabetes burnout. In short, or at least what my interpretation of what diabetes burnout is, is just being tired of the endless care and attention that diabetes requires. Especially when it seems you are doing your best and everything “right” and still just don’t have the control where you want it to be.

For just about everything in life, we are given breaks. Kids get regular breaks from school, we get to take vacation from work, heck we build two days into each week just to give everyone a break from the weekly grind. If I need a break from the daunting and sometimes exhausting days of stay-at-home mommy hood, I go run errands, maybe grab a coffee and leave the kiddos home with dad for a while, while I clear my head and regain perspective. Diabetes is just about the only thing in our lives that we simply cannot take a break from. Ever.

Diabetes doesn’t say, “Hey, I know you’ve had a really long day today, why don’t you just go ahead and not set any alarms tonight. I promise I’ll be good.” And more often than not you can bet that on your very worst weeks, that’s when a birthday party will be added to the mix, or a field trip at school, which requires adjusting the entire family’s schedule just so that you can go along and be the helicopter mom, that you are trying so desperately not to be.

I know diabetes burnout usually happens to type 1 diabetics themselves. To be honest, I feel guilty even admitting that I have diabetes burnout myself. I feel like I don’t deserve to feel sorry for myself. After all, it is C who feels every high and low. It is C who has to sit in his classroom while kids enjoy birthday goodies (on nearly a weekly basis) while he tucks his away in a plastic bowl and brings it home in his backpack, hoping he can enjoy at least some of it for dessert at dinner.

Even though I may not feel fully justified, I assure you diabetes burnout can happen to caregivers as well. Even though I didn’t have a name for it for years, I can tell you I have certainly felt it before. It comes in waves and while the lows are low, I usually pull myself out of the rut and come back out on the other side with more motivation than ever. That’s where I currently am.

With summer upon us, a break from school, and just having diabetes management be in my control for a few months, I am feeling hopeful it will be just what I need to get back in the saddle.

C has not yet displayed or voiced that he has ever felt diabetes burnout yet, but I imagine as he gets older and takes on more control of his management that he will feel this as well. I am thankful I have been able to shoulder some of it for him in these early years, and hope I can always be that person for him to lean on, and teach him ways to cope. Or at the very least we can figure it out together, as I am still, very much so, a work in progress.

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  1. So glad to see you back on your blog! I completely understand what you are saying. I can totally relate to how you are feeling and my son hasn’t even had Type 1 for a year. Hang in there!

  2. The fact that you (not even having diabetes yourself) are having diabetes burn out says so much about you! It is a beautiful picture of your selflessness for your son and family. The journey of diabetes definitely has its ups and downs, just know that it happens to all of us. Thanks for sharing, I will be praying for you!

  3. Stephanie says:

    Glad to see you are back. I was missing your inspiration meals and lunches! I am in the same boat as Theresa, we aren’t even a year into diagnosis yet and it gets tiring some days (having to count carbs for lunches, figuring out healthy snacks, making sure he has all his supplies, etc). We are still in the honeymoon phase and his numbers have been excellent, but I am waiting for the day when his morning numbers start rising. Hang in there.

    • Thanks, Stephanie! Some days/weeks are definitely tougher than others. It helps to know we’re not alone in this. :)

  4. I’m so glad I’m not the only one who gets burned out dealing with this disease! I was diagnosed in January with type 2 and my A1C was at 10.5. It is now around 6.2 and I have to tell you that this blog has helped me so much! You showed me that I could eat some really good stuff while maintaining my bgl. Thank you so much! We all get burned out…you’re not alone! Best thoughts and wishes to you and your family.

  5. I stumbled upon your website, and found this article you wrote. It touched me personally…I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes about 4 years ago at age 30. I have 3 small children, and it gets very hard to take care of yourself and your family. I’ve been told by a dietician that I had diabetes burnout as well (I guess it’s a medical term now), and you just want a BREAK. The lows, the highs, the exhaustion, the tingling feet…need I go on? And I couldn’t even imagine having to do it for my child. Caregivers do get burnout (I try to remember that with my husband, because in reality, I am a different person now), but you’re doing wonderfully, and we can persevere! Again, you’re not alone :)

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