Category: Struggles

Phoenix Rising Out Of The Ashes

Phoenix Rising Out Of The Ashes

By: Colleen Mattson-Goos

A few years ago a friend of mine referred to me as a “Phoenix Rising Out of the Ashes” and after thinking about this for some time I have come to the conclusion that he is right. I have a quiet strength that many people do not see until I feel the need to call upon it. Some have even mistaken this sense of quiet calm as weakness. They are wrong.

Unlike many others who have submitted their stories, I did not have a happy or healthy early childhood. I was often sick with ear infections or viral infections. I did not physically or emotionally grow the way most children do and I wet the bed constantly. I did not talk to people, especially at school, and was held back a grade due to a failure to interact. I did not feel safe anywhere and I just wanted to disappear. I was lonely, scared, and felt worthless.

By the time I was 9 years old I had had already testified in court due to abuse that had occurred in my home at the hands of people who I should have been able to trust. My dad and stepmom gained custody of me at this time and my overall health started to improve. I finally had a sense of security and felt that I was an accepted member of my family. I started to live like a child should, even if still very quiet.

Three years later my sense of security and health came crashing down, and my family was thrown into yet another crisis because of me. Or what I incorrectly perceived as my fault.

It was about January of 1984 that I started to feel like something was very wrong but I could not describe it. I was tired all of the time and started sleeping throughout the day, even in classrooms. I went home and slept, I fell asleep watching T.V., or playing with my younger sisters. I was constantly drinking water and was going to the bathroom every 10 minutes. I had always been so tiny that clothing never fit right, so my rapid weight loss went unnoticed by myself and my parents.

I smelled death and even had thoughts about dying, but I still could not put into words what I felt like. How do you tell your parents that everything stinks like decaying matter and that you think it is you? How do you tell them you think you are dying when you cannot even describe what you are feeling to begin with?

On February 22nd I came home from school like normal and went into my room to practice playing my flute. I recall sitting down and putting my flute together, but after that I have no memory. I have no memory of my parents taking me to the hospital, or being in the emergency room. My stepmom later told me that when the nurses put a gown on me I was so thin I looked translucent; I weighed 50lbs and I was 12 years old.

What I do recall is waking up and being told that I am now a diabetic. In the 1980’s they still referred to this as “juvenile diabetes” and they knew it had to do with the immune system but not exactly how. I was told that I now have to take shots every day to live, and I need to test my blood sugar several times a day. I was also to follow a “diabetic diet”. I practiced injecting insulin into an orange and by the second day I was injecting myself and seemingly moving forward.

My early childhood had already set me up for emotional difficulties including eating disorders and suicidal thoughts and behaviors. When I was taught to care for my diabetes what the educators and doctors unknowingly taught me was that I now had the ability to gain weight, lose weight, and even easily kill myself if I wanted to. In my mind this became a covert power and something to cherish. The beast that emerged was my secret friend. Unfortunately by the time I was 19 this friend, in combination of lack of access to care, caused the loss of a baby who would now be 26.

In 1992, after years of quietly abusing myself the way that I did and suffering loss, I discovered that I was pregnant with my daughter. I started to care for myself because I wanted her more than anything one could imagine, and in July of 1993 she was born. She was a perfect, beautiful, redheaded baby. Unfortunately, complications from my diabetes, C-section, and emotions arose and I was placed in ICU for some time.

My daughter went home two weeks before I did, even though she was born early. I had severe postpartum depression from this separation, and such a horrific fear of harming my child that I regressed. I left the hospital under 70lbs after her birth and the Beast was back with a vengeance. I was hospitalized numerous times over the next few years, and once I was placed in psychiatric care. One day when my daughter was about 3 years old, she asked: “Mommy are you dying?” I looked into her face and saw so much fear it shattered my heart. I swore to myself, and silently promised her that I would harness the beast that is Type 1 Diabetes, Diabulimia, and Mental Illnesses.

With the support of my husband and our families, I have seen our daughter up, and I have maintained a healthy weight for over 20 years. I am almost finished earning a Master’s in Library and Information Science with a GPA of 3.972, and I am a Teaching Assistant at the university level. My A1C’s are no longer 12+ and with my CGM, and pump we sleep better at night. Sometimes the beast breaks its chains but the Phoenix always rises to the challenge and my story is not over.


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Never Be Ashamed For Being Different

Never Be Ashamed For Being Different

Never Be Ashamed For Being Different

Throughout my school years, I hid my diabetes from my peers. I felt embarrassed and ashamed for having a disease that was easily misunderstood. When I went to class I never came fully prepared for a low blood sugar. I wouldn’t check my blood sugar or administer insulin in front of people. If I had to attend to my diabetes, I would do so in the bathroom. The only people aware of my condition was my family (of course) and a few really close friends.

I didn’t want to be treated or viewed differently from everyone else.

It went to such far extremes that I was putting my life at risk at times. Which ironically became even more humiliating when it came down to it. I recall my doctor advising that I should try an insulin pump — which I completely avoided. I didn’t want the looks or stares that came with wearing a device attached to me.

I recall getting teased on one occasion in particular at school when someone saw a insulin syringe in my purse and accused me of taking “drugs”. I simply explained: “no, this is insulin, a hormone that I MUST take everyday to stay alive.

After many years of battling my self-esteem and confidence, the worry of what other people think went away. What it eventually came down to was realizing my health and well being comes before anyone’s perception of me.

I started talking and opening up to more people about my diabetes which then brought on more conversation and ways for me to express myself. I embraced the person I’ve become by sharing what makes me different. Hiding my illness for so long made me feel like a prisoner in my own body.

Now I have an insulin pump and CGM, which I wear proudly. I give myself insulin and check my blood sugars wherever and whenever. And in any given opportunity I try to educate more and more people because I know what it’s like to feel alone and misunderstood.

So this is my way of taking strides to inform the public and let other’s know they’re not alone. And that you should never be ashamed for being different but feel empowered for what makes you unique.


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We Are Not Letting Diabetes Win Anymore

We Are Not Letting Diabetes Win Anymore

We Are Not Letting Diabetes Win Anymore

By: Jodi Otis

10 years ago our lives were forever changed when my then 6-year-old son, Bailey, was diagnosed as a Type 1 Diabetic. I will never forget the day his beautiful brown eyes looked at me as he uttered the words….”Mom, am I going to die?

I swear my heart stopped for that moment in time. I saw his life flash before me in just a matter of seconds. The tears softly rolled down my cheeks as I promised him he was going to be OK, that no matter what, he was going to feel better soon.

Before we knew it we were off to Children’s Hospital where his blood sugar was almost 800 and he had large ketones but was not in DKA. We spent the night and as many T1D parents do—you admire them as they sleep. As I sat in the darkness and silence the tears fell like rain.

And I prayed—I prayed for him to find peace and the strength to handle this. He was six, 6. He should be worrying about if he was going to jump in mud puddles or ride his bike not what his blood sugar is. I knew we had a long road ahead of us.

The next two days we had training so we could take our child home with us and be experts in diabetes. I should have known he would have had the most amazing courage, he took the poker and meter from the nurse and tested his sugar all by himself. He really has no fear of anything!

4 years later, when he was just 10, his 14-year-old sister, Bree, wasn’t feeling well and he could see the telltale signs and he told her to take his meter and check her sugar and if my heart did not stop again….her blood sugar was almost 300.

I couldn’t help but feel anger—not towards her but for her. Anger that she will have to struggle for the rest of her life after seeing him go into DKA twice and be hospitalized. After seeing him have high blood sugars and low blood sugars and feel awful. After seeing him get sick with the slightest cold or virus sometimes. Seeing him have to adjust….EVERY…SINGLE… THING…HE…DOES….TO ….SURVIVE.

I knew she would have a hard time, she is such a picky eater and not a good sleeper, meaning she can sleep for 12 hours at a time, crazy teenagers! She went through a period of depression and I felt her slipping through my fingers and she used her diabetes as a weapon.

I was heartbroken and angry for so long, I felt like diabetes had won, it had taken over my family and my life. Until we decided that we are not just surviving anymore. We are not going to let diabetes win anymore. She had to find the courage to come out on the other side of depression, not an easy thing to do.

Bree has an amazing spirit. Her smile lights up the world. Bailey has the strength of a million men. His courage is far beyond words. Both Bree and Bailey have raced Motocross for several years. It is mentally and physically demanding. Diabetes could have robbed them from a sport they love but they never gave in or gave up. They are my heroes, they are my true warriors. We choose how we live each day, you, me, we choose. Not the disease.

Every day that we fight, we win.


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We Are Dying For a Cure

We Are Dying For a Cure

We Are Dying For a Cure

By: Eddy Murphy

 

I’ve fought off writing about diabetes in an honest and truthful way for almost fifteen years. I guess it’s taken me that long to come out of a state of denial, becoming more intimate with it than anything I’ve ever been passionate about.

Perhaps my shame is what has gotten the best of me. I never wanted to admit that, by default, I was weaker than everyone else around me. It has taken me this long to realize that I’m stronger than everyone I know.

I’ve hazily confronted death more than fifty times, waking up in a hospital more than once, or coming to my senses watching my mother wince in pain, holding her belly, saying I inadvertently punched her in the gut while in the throes of a hypoglycemic seizure.

We were both soaked in orange juice turning sticky, when whatever sugar made its way into my bloodstream, brought me back from the brink of death. And because of times like these, it has been hard for me to accept my worth as a human being.

I hate drawing insulin out of a syringe, knowing it could be my last.

I hate doing my necessary rituals of survival in front of my friends, backpacking through the mountains of my heart, because, in the moment, everything else is beautiful.

I just want to revel in the earth that is my home, and then I have to confront this ugly thing, grab it by the horns and tell it I’m not going anywhere. Not now. I’m going to live this moment.

There’s this superficial feeling I get, where I am validating myself by taking type 1 diabetes on, thirty miles from nowhere while experiencing the most beautiful places I have ever been. As if I’m doing things most other people are afraid to do, while being at the mercy of the whims of an overpriced drug that I have to love and hate simultaneously. It is a feat to come out of every trip into the mountains unscathed, deflecting a scythe with a smile.

Before, I would have life-altering lows to bring me out of my denial. I would only check my sugars 3 or so times a day, not catching highs until way beyond their reign. And seldom would I realize I was two glucose tabs away from death, getting closely reacquainted with diabetes when my hands began to seize and I couldn’t speak. Thankfully, circumstances have worked in my favor all these years. Someone was there, or I caught the tail end of consciousness before things went too far down.

Now, I’m a man. A man who feels his age and more. I love a woman with every flame left in my soul. I am grateful that someone accepts me for all my shortcomings; more importantly, I am grateful that someone appreciates the enormity of my life’s battle. What a human thing it is to love. It is the music of the human experience and I get to embrace it after all these years of not feeling human anymore.

Consequentially, I feel the need to revel in every moment I spend with this beautiful person. My life has been an imitation of the real thing for fifteen years until now. Love knows no diseases. Because of this, I am even more angrier now than ever before about the ugly greed of the pharmaceutical companies, the FDAs lackadaisical approach to pushing forward a potential cure/cure’s, and the ignorance of the general public to the suffering of 1.2 million people who have been stripped of a future.

I mean this in every sense. 1.2 million people in this country could die at any moment, yet ‘with proper management could live a happy and fulfilling life’.

Because of the requirement of insulin and the perpetuity of type 1 diabetes, it is a cash cow for large pharmaceutical companies and doctors across the country. And if my life ends in tragedy, I can be blamed by citing “improper management”. At least they got their bag of silver, and will still do so as long as this disease remains with a cure and profitable.

So for now, my wallet is being squeezed dry, and I’m being forced to be grateful for just being alive. I have no assets. I will never be able to afford the land in Montana I want. In truth, I am living in what would amount to Great Depression standards of living. And the public doesn’t know or care because the majority of the media attention is given to type 2 diabetes.

No one gives heed to our deadly fight because diabetes as a whole is linked to laziness and poor diet.

In the meantime, all of our non-type 1 friends will continue to make jokes about us shooting up drugs and having too much sugar as a kid. Many in the support community are cute about type 1. “Christmas is a time to be grateful” and “T1D looks like me”. I am not sure if censorship helps the cause. Trying to make others aware of this dangerous disease by dodging the real tragedy of it is what has stunted any real instigation of progress in the type 1 activism culture. Victims cower in the corner, unsure of how to convince the general public of the need for a cure.

The last fifteen years I resigned my unworthiness to type 1 diabetes, and couldn’t fathom the heroics of what I did by walking through the mountains to improve my life. I couldn’t fathom my own significance in educating people about the injustices we face everyday, and the urgency of this moment.

We are dying for a cure.  


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Letter To The Man That Wasn’t There For My Diabetes

I sometimes wish you would call me and ask how my diabetes is doing or if everything is going okay.

Just for a moment; acknowledge my diabetes.

It doesn’t define me but it’s such a huge part of my life and the journey I set out on everyday.

The journey you never joined me on.

I can’t imagine how you felt hearing the news that your daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, an incurable disease.

Thinking to yourself — why me, right?

I asked myself that question too.

But now I ask why couldn’t you ever accept or embrace it?

I needed to hear from you that “everything is going to be okay”.

But I never did and probably never will.

You never had to see me on the floor unconscious, or in a hospital bed with DKA, or up all night crying and praying that this would all go away.

You had it easy.

I thought you were doing me a kind favor by ignoring it and thinking that I had this all under control.

But this disease is hard, it’s real, it sucks, and honestly I feel like I’m just winging it.

I needed you in my corner, cheering me on.

But you were nowhere to be found.

I felt like damaged goods; I wasn’t “perfect” in your eyes anymore.

Diabetes was too much for you to handle.

I get it, I do.

Sometimes this burden feels like it’s too much for me.

But I can’t quit.

Now that I’m doing good, it may seem like I’m winning.

But I haven’t won yet.

It’s not fair to get to see me at my best, but not at my worst.

This is not how it works!

When I put my boxing gloves on, you should have put a pair on too and fought right alongside of me.

But you didn’t.

You chose to tap out.

This isn’t me being angry or resentful. This is just me confidently saying “I’m going to be okay”.

I forgive you.

I don’t need validation or approval.

I got this.

I found myself, and my voice.

I found a whole community that has my back.

I have a beautiful family that is there for me every step of the way.

With all my weaknesses, strengths, victories, and failures… I’ve made it thus far.

I’m proud of who I’ve become, and I’m never going to quit.

My Journey With Diabetes And The 5 Stages Of Grief

My Journey With Diabetes and The 5 Stages Of Grief

My Journey With Diabetes and The 5 Stages of Grief

Throughout my journey, I’ve experienced and endured the five stages of grief. The hardest part about this disease is the emotional aspect. If only I could have accepted the diagnosis from the get-go, adjusted to the life long changes, and lived happily ever after.

But unfortunately, that’s not how the journey unfolded.

Having to give myself insulin injections every day for the rest of my life seem painful, but that’s the least of my pain. Checking my blood sugar every day, all day, throughout the night, seems daunting, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg.

Denial

It’s almost been fourteen years since the day I was diagnosed. I was 12 years old at the time. Granted, I was old enough to grasp the idea that things were now different but I couldn’t process it to the full extent. I thought I would get home from the hospital and things would go back to normal. Or I could try to ignore it and it wouldn’t affect me.

I was in “denial”. Denial that I was different than my family and friends. Denial that I now had to use syringes to inject myself with insulin to or I would die. Denial that I wasn’t okay. Denial that anything bad could ever happen to me.

I felt invincible, and I could just skim through life untouched. I was only a child. I didn’t want this and I couldn’t accept something I didn’t understand.

Anger

My denial towards diabetes went on for a few years until I had severe life threatening run-ins with diabetes and I soon realized I couldn’t avoid it anymore. My emotions started pouring out. I felt sad, desperate, and angry.

I was angry with my family mostly. I inadvertently took in out on them in desperation for help. I was angry for not feeling understood. I was angry for feeling helpless. I was angry that I couldn’t change this. I was angry in the fact that I didn’t want to be angry at all.

I didn’t want to be bothered. I didn’t want to be asked about what my blood sugar was or what I was eating to fix it. Or if I took my insulin. I didn’t want diabetes.

Bargaining

I finally reached a point where I was desperate for answers. I was experiencing grief over the life that I envisioned I would have without diabetes. I see all my peers going to class, dances, and after school events without the fears and thoughts that I constantly carried around.

I hid my diabetes from others. I would go to the bathroom to eat a snack or give myself insulin injections. Nobody knew that I had diabetes. But after awhile I started fearing for my future for how I was taking care of myself. I was constantly being reminded of the inevitable truth.

I know that I wanted a family one day, with my limbs, eyes, heart, kidneys, and myself intact. Whether I wanted to face it or not, this is what I have to deal with. I felt cheated, as to why I had to carry this burden. I just couldn’t figure out how to get where I needed to be.

I was fearful of the highs, more so than the lows. I was using a life-saving yet deadly drug known as insulin, to try to save the long term effects but not thinking of the short term amplifications. I was bargaining by trying to find peace within this, but essentially just gambling with my life.

Depression

As time went on I realized that this fight, this disease just isn’t fair. Often feeling defeated, wherein areas I feel I was trying to improve, I thereby have a lack in others. I stopped caring. I stopped seeking attention.

I kept to myself for awhile and struggled with an eating disorder called diabulimia for a short amount of time. I battled with my weight and how I felt about myself. The depression also led to drinking to cope and thereby also having a seizure.

The depression I felt was so subtle, so easily overlooked. But the depression was there and it was real. I felt alone and that was the worst part.

Acceptance

One of the happiest and most pivotal moments in my life was when I was able to find the courage to let go of what I can’t change. I was finally able to reach acceptance with my disease in the five stages of grief.

Becoming a mother was what helped me see my life in a different perspective. That there is a reason that I’m here. I’ve been able to come out from the other side and see the beauty and strength in all that I do.

I was able to take my life back and love the person I’ve become.

To find purpose in my struggles and use what I was given for the good. To help others, to educate, to inspire, to empower, and show compassion. I believe the gift of life is to make others brighter.

I’m now able to embrace my journey, my success, my struggles, my weaknesses, my doubts, my fears, my hurt, my love, my essence and live on

Feeling Judged With Diabetes

Feeling Judged With Diabetes

Feeling Judged With Diabetes

Dealing with diabetes is more than just a number. It’s more than an A1C result, a blood sugar reading, or the amount of carbs I’ve eaten throughout the day. It’s the endless minutes, hours, days, and years that I’ve been battling this disease.

If diabetes wasn’t hard enough—I often feel shame or guilt for how I manage my diabetes. I get the sense of anxiety and nervousness before going to an endocrinologist appointment. As if I have something to prove, and I’m needing acceptance.

It’s a look—or unspoken judgment that is presented. I feel uneasy and withdrawn—thinking to myself that maybe I’m not doing as great as I thought I was. Being told what I could be doing better, rather than all that I am doing right.

I think it’s a lack of communication and understanding. I feel misunderstood and judged with diabetes. I know that my health care team work towards helping me, but I sometimes feel like they don’t understand me. It’s one thing to be educated in something, but it’s another to be truly in depth with it.

Don’t get me wrong—I take a huge part in this as well. There are ways I could better communicate to my endocrinologist and health care providers. After all, there’s no one else who knows my diabetes better than myself. I know what works and what doesn’t. It’s been a lot of trial and error over the years. What’s great is when I can find a doctor who is on my team and we work great together. They understand where I’m coming from—while I can correspond with their recommendations.

By explaining that I’m trying my best but maybe could use help in certain areas.

Even when trying my hardest my efforts don’t always seem to show.

Why I don’t wish to try a certain medication and why I’m avid about it.

That having different views or ways of doing things doesn’t mean “noncompliant”.

How I’m feeling a certain way and that it’s okay to feel this way.

That sometimes just by having a solid conversation, helps ease my mind a bit. Hearing that I am doing a good job makes all the difference going forward.

Receiving some appraisal for being at this appointment, that I care, and to make me feel a little better leaving.

Feeling less judged with diabetes and being understood by my physician helps my diabetes management which ensures a better meWhile I do need their expertise and care, I also need myself in this more than anything. I know in the end it will be methat will get me to tomorrow, next week, 5 years, 10 years, 30 years down the line. I know what I’m capable of, and how far I’ve come. Nobody knows that but myself—that’s all that really matters. In this journey, I’m my own captain, leader, worst enemy, fan, advocate, everything.

Overcoming An Eating Disorder With Diabetes

Overcoming An Eating Disorder With Diabetes

Overcoming An Eating Disorder With Diabetes

With being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes since the age of 12, I never anticipated all the hurdles that I would have to overcome over the years including overcoming an eating disorder with diabetes. Nor did I ever anticipate having diabetes at all—but here I am.

Throughout my teen years, I battled with my weight. Whether it be due to hormones or my diabetes—it was painful for me to look in the mirror. A lot of my anger and denial towards this disease was because I didn’t know how to accept it. Many of my peers didn’t have to face this reality—so why did I have to?

Many of negative feelings towards this disease led into depression, poor eating habits and lack of exercise. I was often picked on in school for my weight. I separated myself from people to avoid being judged or misunderstood. It was hard growing up with a life threatening disease and coping with everything else going on in my life.

When I reached the age of 19, I suffered a short period of time with an eating disorder called diabulimia. This is where I restricted my amount of insulin in order to lose weight.  What I find so devastating about this disorder is that I was fully aware of the severity and consequences involved. Being that I require insulin to survive and for my body to flourish, I was essentially depriving my body of energy which could have led to death.

It wasn’t long before I broke the vicious cycle I was on. I couldn’t bare how I was feeling and what I was doing to my body. In my mind, I couldn’t justify the benefits over the risks anymore. A lot of what woke me up to the reality and what could happen to my body was a diabetic man named John (who I met). John was a 60-year-old man who suffered many complications after not taking care of himself over the years.

In the process of overcoming an eating disorder with diabetes , I started making major changes in my life. I started exercising exclusively. I also started watching what I eat. The more I started taking care of myself and my body on the outside, the better I felt on the inside. I still battle with my weight every day, but now that I’m on a good routine and regimen, it’s made my diabetes and other factors easier to cope with. A lot of what I’ve battled within this disease is mental, and that’s my biggest hurdle yet.

I’m wanting to bring attention to this important issue because it’s a problem I dealt with and needs more awareness. Type 1 Diabetics (woman and young females especially) are highly more susceptible to eating disorders—such as diabulimia. Having to constantly monitor blood sugar levels, diet, exercise, and manage weight can be detrimental on one’s self-esteem. The treatment and recovery can go far beyond just the diabetic themselves. It’s important to seek treatment and support from a physician and other reliable resources.


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My Battle With OCD and Diabetes (Over-Correcting Disorder)

 

My Battle With OCD and Diabetes (Over-Correcting Disorder)

We have all heard of the anxiety disorder that causes people to act or think in repetitive ways is known as OCD (Over-Compulsive Disorder). Where someone may have unwanted thoughts, fears, and/or perform certain rituals.

But having diabetes, there is also a form of OCD and diabetes called “Over-Correcting Disorder“.

I actually didn’t know that I had OCD until recently when someone mentioned the term in a diabetes support group. I thought that it just meant I was trying my best to manage my diabetes. But OCD and diabetes combined is actually a huge factor and sometimes a downfall in my diabetes management.

When I started analyzing how I approach my diabetes, more and more I noticed…

ocd and diabetes

• I tend to overly micromanage my diabetes—even over my physician’s advice. I constantly adjust my insulin requirements without giving adequate time to pass to see the “actual” trend that’s going on.

• Having the Dexcom (Continuous Glucose Monitoring), I am able to see my blood sugar trends. But if it’s high I tend to chase it around, rather than letting it come down gradually. The Dexcom is a blessing and a curse for me at the same time.

• I’m afraid of highs—even when lows are just as worse and are more urgent and fatal. The bouncing back and forth is also not good for me.

I’m aware that diabetes can be managed. I’m also aware that trying to control too aggressively can backfire. I think that’s what bothers me the most, is that I’m constantly combating this disease. I wish I could just win every time—but I can’t.

I’ve slowly but surely taken the time to address my weaknesses and faults.

For instance:

• I take days in between adjusting my insulin requirements—even though it pains me. It’s better to see what I’m dealing with and the trends going on, then to jump the gun.

• Now I try to take breaks from using the Dexcom. Having the ability to see my blood sugars at all times, causes me to want to control every little number. It’s better to let the insulin in my body take the time to work.

• My biggest accomplishment is not overly correcting my “highs”. I still correct accordingly, but I have to be more cautious. The rollercoaster ride takes a toll and isn’t better than having a high.

Diabetes is all about balance and consistency. It’s a constant struggle. I’ve lived and I’ve learned. A lot of it has been me letting go of what I can’t control and by controlling what I can—to my best ability.

Perfection doesn’t exist with this disease—I’ve just grown to accept my imperfections and live beyond them.


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diabetes burnout

Dealing With Diabetes Burnout: How It Is Different For Everyone

When hearing the phrase “Diabetes Burnout” the first thing that comes to mind is a form of severe distress. But when having type 1 diabetes for so many years, I know this isn’t always the case.

How can we directly define what dealing with Diabetes Burnout means for those that are diabetic? How come we pinpoint the exact symptoms or signs of having Diabetes Burnout?

We can’t. It’s not a one-size fits all scenario.

Just like how diabetes affects everyone differently, so does the effects of feeling burnt out by the disease. This disease is an everyday, lifelong battle. With no days off, no vacation – it’s a full-time job.

There’s been a time in my life where I would go days without checking my blood sugar – aimlessly taking insulin – and consciously avoiding my diabetes.

That is what I would consider some of the worst effects of being burnt out.

Now at the least, from time to time. I feel unmotivated and inconsistent with my diet.

All of which I would consider feeling “burnt out” by diabetes.

Does feeling burnout mean you’re a bad diabetic? Absolutely not. With anything in life, things can become too much to handle at times. But with diabetes, there’s no escaping it.

While battling ourselves, it’s also easy for others to judge. By making assumptions without knowing the actual demands and sacrifices that consist of having diabetes.

I’ll admit it’s hard to break free of feeling burnt out. I’ve battled with feeling helpless, depressed, and overwhelmed with caring for my diabetes.

diabetes burnout

But how can it be avoided? Dealing with Diabetes Burnout is not easy. Are there ways to help bounce back from it?

I went ahead and asked some diabetes groups of how to prevent or reduce the effects of feeling diabetes burnout. Here’s what others have suggested:

1. Taking vitamins.

By taking vitamins such as B-12 has helped others boost their spirits, energy, and helped them stay motivated. As well as Vitamin D, which helps boost your mood. Vitamins can help our bodies where we have a deficiency.

2. Exercising and staying active.

Exercising helps to lose weight and increases serotonin in the brain. Serotonin helps enhance mood, which helps to make you feel good.

3. Getting involved.

Participating in support groups, volunteer events, fundraisers, charities, and diabetes advocacy are all great ways to support the cause. By being involved helps you stay focused and determined to make a difference. Not only are you making a difference in your life, but others as well.

4. Setting a goal.

When setting goals, it’s important to be realistic. Making small changes can help achieve those goals, rather than setting expectations too high in a short amount of time. Whether it be lowering your A1C, losing weight, or making certain lifestyle changes.

5. Starting from square one.

Sometimes the best thing to do is start from where you began. It’s a task to break bad habits and develop new ones. But it can be revitalizing to start fresh. By re-evaluating how to manage diabetes, re-educating yourself, and essentially gaining a new perspective.

diabetes burnout

This journey we’re on is a crazy ride. What I’ve learned from having diabetes, is it’s a lot of trial and error. Seeing what works and what doesn’t. Our bodies, minds, and our diabetes are each our own . By identifying and accepting our flaws, we can make improvements for the better.  I’ve taken the unnecessary pressure off by knowing there is no such thing as perfection with diabetes. “I am human after all“. All I can do is strive to be better. Strive for improvements in my life. That’s my success story.

“Maybe life isn’t about avoiding the bruises. Maybe it’s about collecting the scars to prove we showed up for it.”