Blogging through Burnout: Part 1
Yesterday I wrote a post on my instagram and described myself as having "a bit of burnout." The funny thing is, I hadn't even thought about it until the words spilled out of me while writing the post. And when I was checking over my post for spelling errors and un-correct-auto-corrects, I had to stop and think for a second. Did I actually have "a bit of burn-out" or was I just being dramatic? (please read that last sentence like Carrie Bradshaw's voiceover narration hehe)
I've had diabetes burnout a few times before, most memorably in the fifth grade. I remember disconnecting my pump at school most days, just because I didn't care. I threw up in the school bathroom on many occasions because my blood sugar was so high, but I didn't tell anyone. I would reconnect my pump, give myself enough insulin to not pass out, then disconnect again. I would reconnect my pump at home too, so my mom wouldn't suspect a thing. But of course, moms are much smarter than we think we are. She caught on pretty fast. So did my endo.
But this time it isn't like that. It's different. More subtle. Less invasive. I've had a few more blood sugars in the 200s but not by a landslide. I am off my pump but diligently replaced it with shots. I'm still eating plant-based and healthy. But I definitely don't feel how I normally do about diabetes.
So I did some research to see what actually constituted diabetes burnout. And it turns out it isn't just one thing. Different sources have different "symptoms," such as missed doctor appointments, avoiding insulin injections, or disregard for blood sugar levels. But they all agree on one thing: diabetes burnout doesn't have to "look" one way.
Mine may not be as extreme as it once was, but I also look at my symptoms relative to the level of management that I now have for diabetes. There is a definite decline in motivation and caring. For example:
The past week I had missed several boluses, even though I'm a typically an avid pre-boluser. Like I never miss boluses.
My time in range had dipped below what I consider normal for me on many days.
I've slept without my dexcom "high"alerts for a few nights now. This is very unlike me.
And as I am writing this I get a beep on my phone. Dexcom alert. 156 with a straight up arrow. I don't react and do 50 squats to stop the spike like I normally would. Instead, I'm realizing that I forgot to bolus for the plant-based caramel coffee drink that I made this morning. *sigh*
I kinda feel like a rebellious teenager. But at the same time I've come so far in this journey of my health-- I think that's what's keeping me from giving up completely. And while my diabetes burnout right now may not look like what constitutes a more severe situation, it still feels out of control and disheartening for me.
Which brings me to my next point. How do I get myself back?
First off, I called my endo and set up an appointment with a diabetes educator this week. I'm currently not in the headspace that I would sabotage my health in a serious way, but if there's anything that I've learned on my health journey it's how important it is to ask for help, even if you don't think you need it.
Then I looked around the internet. There's a lot of articles out there about diabetes burnout. They have advice like "try new recipes" or "refocus your goals" or "talk about your feelings". Okay, but that is like my daily life haha. I don't think I'm going to get myself back by doing what I've always done. And all these suggestions seem quite externally focused (which I will say, on one hand, is a good thing. Sometimes I think it's best to get our of your own head to make improvements.)
However, I have a feeling the cause of my current burnout is a lot deeper than something that can be solved externally. I don't think starting a new behavior is going to get me through this. I think I need to slow down. Do LESS. Simplify. Find whatever in my soul is not aligned and re-calibrate myself. That's what this blog series will be about.
I'm as much a scientific person as I am a spiritual one. I trust doctors and medicine and psychology but I also trust intuition and chakras and the universe. I believe that both can exist simultaneously and both can get me out of this funk.
And if you're going through a burnout too, please remember that your feelings are valid. Your burnout is real, even if it doesn't seem severe. And no, you're not just being dramatic. Thank you for being on this journey with me :)
*Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor or medically trained professional. I am simply blogging about my experiences with diabetes burnout and how I am dealing. Please do not take this blog as medical advice.