6 ways we feel diabetes burnout, and how they can be overcome

Managing diabetes is hard work at the best of times. The constant, relentless need to test, take medication and think about a huge number of factors can become overwhelming. This is even more likely when things are not going right with diabetes or other parts of life.

Let’s then look at six common feelings that can accompany diabetes burnout, as well as what can sometimes help in each situation.

1. Everything I do goes wrong

One reason we can feel burnout is when everything we do to get our diabetes under control fails to get good results.

It’s very common for us to bounce from high to low to high and back again, over and over. So we find ourselves constantly chasing results, making changes to fix one problem but making new problems which we then have to fix.

This constant chasing of results can be exhausting and it’s not surprising that some of us feel burnout if going through this on a day-to-day basis.

This can sometimes be helped by doing the little things right, like taking more time with eating and dosing decisions. Common problems with large blood sugar swings come from over-treating hypos and from dosing errors caused by rushing dosing decisions.

If taking any correction doses, take your time in working out whether they’re really needed, and secondly, how much insulin is needed for the correction. If you’re low when an injection is due, such as a background dose, treat the hypo and give your sugar levels enough time to recover before taking your background insulin. This will eliminate errors.

2. I feel like a failure

If you feel like you’re a failure, it’s important to know that you’re not alone. Diabetes is no walk in the part, and almost all of us have felt like a failure at some point or other.

If do feel like you have failed at something, try and look at things a different way. What may look like failure to you can instead be seen as an opportunity to improve.

Try not to dwell on the failure but instead think ‘what can I do to make things better’. We’re not talking about getting perfect control necessarily, what’s important at this point is to get just a bit better.

3. I don’t know what I’m doing

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It’s very hard to control diabetes if you don’t start with a clear idea of how you’re supposed to control it.

If you’ve not been on a structured diabetes education program, ask your doctor about going on one as the courses provide clear, and also simple, guidance on how to control diabetes.

If you have been on diabetes education course before, ask your doctor if you can go on a refresher course. Failing that, make some time for yourself to re-visit what you learned.

4. I know what to do, I just don’t do it

This is a common feeling amongst those of us that have been living with diabetes for a number of years. We know what to do but, for some reason, just don’t apply the rules that we should.

Often this comes down to wanting to get on with life rather than obsessing over diabetes. We know there’s a set of rules but, for some reason, we don’t take the time to properly work out what the right action is.

The truth is, it will ultimately make life easier for us if we do apply those rules, and frequently it can actually end up saving us time.

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5. I can’t take it any more

Many of us feel we can’t stand living with diabetes any more. Sometimes this is just a temporary feeling that gets better later in the day or later in the week but for some of us it can be a constant feeling that never really resolves itself.

If you feel like you’ve run out of hope and you’ve felt this way persistently for a number of weeks, it could be a sign of depression and it’s important to get support from your doctor.

6. I have no-one to talk to

Dealing with diabetes involves a lot of thought. It’s only natural to wish to share some of the things we have to think about and experience from day to day.

It can really help to release some of those pent up thoughts by talking with people, especially people in the same position as us, and one great place to do this is the Diabetes Forum.

Have you been through or going through burnout? How do you feel and are there any things that you’ve found help to cope when you’re feeling all burnt out?

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About the author

Benedict Jephcote

I have been researching and writing about diabetes for the best part of a decade. I have a passion for helping people with diabetes and championing their rights. Outside of diabetes, I have a love of music and seventeenth and eighteenth century history.

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