Sunday, 23 October 2016

Diabetes Burnout: It's Real

Diabetes Burn Out. Diabetes UK describe diabetes burn out as: Diabetes burnout, also known as diabetes distress, is a natural and rational response to living with a demanding, long-term condition.
 It’s the term given when people feel frustrated, defeated and/or overwhelmed by diabetes.

So many people I have talked that have Type 1 Diabetes have experienced this at one point or another. Everything just builds up and get on top of them, and it becomes harder and harder to control. And even though it happens to so many people, it is still a very stigmatised topic and something that is difficult to talk about. People end up feeling isolated, and frustrated, and overwhelmed.

Me Modelling "I am greater than my highs or lows" T-shirt
It is something I feel like I am experiencing now. I don't want to have type 1 diabetes anymore, and I get so frustrated and annoying by it. It does hold me back, and that's is the worst part. I can be surrounded by people, and still feel alone because no one will understand how I'm feeling. And I feel like I'm isolating myself, because I do become unwell quite a lot. And I don't want to be feeling like this anymore, but I can't help it.

Fact - Type 1 Diabetes is 24/7

There isn't a moment where I can forget about my diabetes. I have to think about my blood sugars and if I've given my insulin and if I have to adjust my insulin for the walk to the shops. It's exhausting. It is part of my reality and I find that so difficult to comprehend sometimes. It is draining having to put health on top of everything that sometimes it is easier to put it to the back of your mind and deal with it later.

The photo shown above is an amazing painting done by my best friend Lydia Parkhurst, who also writes a blog called "The Backpacker and the pod". On the left side it, shows the external appearance of someone suffering diabetes burnout. It just looks like a normal, smiling person. On the right, it shows how someone suffering diabetes burn out feels on the inside. The picture on the right shows the true feelings of the person, rather than the mask they wear on the outside.

Lydia said, "We put this pressure on ourselves to be normal and never let diabetes get in out way. I do this with my diabetes and I'm sure many other people do too. There is no such thing as a perfect diabetic! It's impossible. Yes, we all want a low HBA1C because we want to have the lowest risk of complications but at the same time Type 1 Diabetes is unpredictable."

Lydia and 1 at a conference
Her painting is amazing because it is so true. Diabetes burnout is real, but we often want to hide it from people, so we wear a smile and pretend everything is okay. But it is okay to feel this way!

I asked one of my good friends, Julia Edwards, to tell me her experiences of diabetes burnout, because she is also Type 1 Diabetic, and it is something she has been through and eventually overcame. She said "Over time I have learnt that there is no reason to beat ourselves up about this. It happens to more people than you probably realise." She also said, "DO NOT BEAT YOURSELF UP. You are not alone. You do great 24/7. It's ok to have an off day. Be kind to yourself."

I find it really reassuring to know that I'm not the only one who I going through this or that has gone through it. It's natural. Having a chronic disability that affects someone all the time will eventually become draining, so I just need to remember that it is normal, and I will get through it.

Julie Edwards aka Jules
If you know someone who is struggling with controlling their diabetes, please don't judge. Diabetes management is hard, and they may be struggling. It is a very personal thing, and it's something I struggle to talk about, so just support them and be there for them.

Be patient and don't judge anyone experiencing Diabetes Burnout!

Until Next Time,

Alyssa x

Lydia's Twitter: @lydiasara19
Lydia's Blog:
Julia's Twitter: @Jules1315